Ulterior Motive

April 02, 2006

Several times now I have spent one or both weekend mornings camped out in various Panera Bread locations. On the surface this is an effort to get me out of the apartment, to do something different. Ever since I used to haunt the indoor mall in Springfield I have known that people watching works for me. I like the hustle and bustle of busy people. All those years ago, when I’d stand at the center court balcony railing and watch the people around and below me, my thoughts were of how different from them I felt. Obviously they were okay and I was not, they belonged and I didn’t. Today I feel similar feelings, although for vastly different reasons.

This morning, as I sit in Panera Bread, laptop open in front of me, my ulterior motive is that I’ll met new people. I am putting myself on display. While I am at times very conflicted about moving my life forward in the wake of Michele’s death, I am determined to keep moving. Still waters may be deep, but they also become stagnant and die.

Even as I write this posting I find it incredibly hard to be honest about wanting to move on from Michele. At some level I understand that I cannot but help to move on, the mere act of living and being will ensure that eventuality. The question I must pose of myself is whether I want to be actively involved in the direction the movement takes or am I willing to be swept along willy-nilly?

Being swept along willy-nilly offers the illusion of deniability; I didn’t plan on this or that happening - it just did. Unfortunately, not choosing to vote is still voting. Not choosing to have direction in my life is choosing an aimless and directionless existence. In order to have direction I must come to terms with being actively involved in stepping out of the shadow of my relationship with Michele. I have to accept that I am leaving parts of me and her behind.

So instead of actively seeking new people to know and, perhaps, develop a relationship with, I come to coffee houses and basically put myself in the way of people who I view as having something I don’t, in the hopes that they will approach me. So far it isn’t working very well, but at least I finally understand the compulsion behind it.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.