Saturday, October 8, 2011

The meeting place.

Take any point on the planet and at any time of the day or night, something will be going on.
Chances are, if there are people around, they will meet and greet, exchange something in their individual lives and move on.
It may be a tentative and casual connection brought about by coincidence more than construct. An occasional glance, a stance that reflects a common interest, possibly in each other. Questions are raised and not spoken. A secret guessing game. The separation remains amiable but not aloof.
Maybe she'll be here tomorrow. I'll speak to her then.
Why doesn't he say something. I'll come back tomorrow. Maybe he'll be here.
They shift their bodies without eye contact. They're not ready yet.

The space between men signifies the strength of their relationship. Little is casual but must appear so. Even the best of friends keep their personal space sacrosanct. There is a power struggle that remains restrained. Knowledge shared and compared. A boast and brag that stays until the next time. Same place, next week. A nod and no looking back. Move to the next place. Never speak of the last.

In another time and place the same psychology applies. They know it all, about life and politics and the weather and the trouble with their wives and kids and bosses. Nothing escapes their scrutiny. Nothing is solved unless by brute force. It will be forgotten by lunch, some spirit and the heat of the Sun. Until next time when all will be rediscovered as new; with the same definitive solutions. The landmarks are institutional but hear nothing.

In a quieter moment others will accept their lot knowing that 'the good old days' are long gone. They will find shelter under a cloud of reminiscence. The past seems brighter under a winter Sun. Its all been for the better. Common friends and aquantances are mentioned in passing, to add a body of truth to the tale. A date defines a common point. The hours pass and they grow a little younger, a little stronger; ready to face tomorrow.
In some meetings we search for explanation of common ground.
We have met before. We have someone we can discuss and share. The conversation can only last as long as the view is familiar. It might become awkward and stuttered with irrelevance.
It was nice seeing you again.
What was her name?

At what point does a meeting become tactical? Even with the best of friends there is some jossling for a place to begin. The hello's and reflections on the weather, family and work need to pass before either can settle into the raison d'ĂȘtre. Conversation is constructed cautiously as delicate subjects are broached. It is important to include but not to offend. There is a point at which something will be revealed that the other did not know. Some comforting and advice will be forthcoming. The friendship will deepen or divide. The outcome is unspecified.
How easy it seems for some to gather in familiar places. Their chatter is chaotic and dialectic. The subject matter is theirs and theirs alone. No-one will ever understand as they move from childhood prattle to adult dialogue through adolescent banter. They cannot be heard or overheard. Their secrets are safe from the crowd that parts as they pass. They will linger for hours, moving from group to group in a well configured pattern and fixed with protocol and heirarchy. Meeting is as important an event as eating and sex.

How convenient is it to meet again, as we did yesterday. Should I ask her for coffee? She faces him now, waiting for the question. Coffee would be nice. This is close enough. Tomorrow I'll bump into her, without knowing. How many meetings like this are appropriate? You work in the office across the road, yes? That's enough for today. The lights have changed. Their lives have changed.
They wander through the streets. These people. From meeting to meeting. Intersecting lives, sharing fragments of information about themselves and others, about the world, their homes, their families, their aspirations, inspirations and sometimes just a moment of their time. They take each meeting with them to the next.
Did you see such and such today?
I ran into so and so yesterday.
Tomorrow I'm meeting with her for lunch.
I haven't seen him for ages. What's going on?
There's a comfort in meeting. Being in the same place at the same time has a universal expression of sharing. We may never meet again but I will take this with me into the future. In that you will live as long as I do. The place will be a monument to our existance. This bench is ours. The meeting place belongs to us, and to the next who spend their short moments here.


  1. I so enjoy your writing. Have I every told you that? You make me want to write again. E from AR

  2. Wish I could express my thoughts as well as you can....