After more list-making with Kate, I realized that in careful, numerical preparation for leaving a place I've been for so long, I feel a strange disconnection from all of my already-said goodbyes. I think sometimes we are so focused on the process of packing up and encapsulating the having-been-in-a-place, that we aren't even aware of our actual departure until months later. Chris Rose recently wrote an article about going to Jazzfest-- how you have an elaborate, weeks-in-the-making rubric for a successful music ingesting day, and then you get to the festival, and the pulse, the flow of the place inevitably forces you to discard all of your preparations. He writes:
"It's not fair. So tomorrow, you promise yourself, you're sticking to the plan. After all, you put a lot of work into this thing. You worked on this harder than your dissertation. Tomorrow you will follow the Cubes...but tomorrow comes and, well ... you know how it goes. Crazy, how it works. The wonder of Jazzfest. The glory of it all."
So it is with goodbyes. I'm making all these plans, and am maybe losing the glory in transition, the raw tearing away from one place to get to another. Have we lost the ability as a society to just leave one thing and start another without feeling like we have to make our reasonable justifications and logical preparations?
I think there are three types of goodbyes:
1. One that involves lists, parcelled-out purpose, and a distancing of the heart from the true impetus of getting out and getting on with it.
2. What Ben calls the "Irish Goodbye:" when you leave without saying goodbye, and you don't look back (which works particularly well when leaving people you don't like).
3. Leaving after living normally, in the glorious spontaneity of change-- something that is easily erased by meticulous itineraries and pre-departure overtures.
So I'm going to keep my lists amusement-oriented and leave in the all-too-rare spirit of Jazzfest-- in bittersweet celebration, with tangled chords and uncompleted agendas shoved under the backseat, and unpleasant, obligation-driven goodbyes left unsaid.