Saturday, October 29, 2005

So Maria and I went to the PMA/NKE Normal Formal last night. Pictures to come, as soon as Tex sends them to me. Stupid re-chargeable batteries not re-charging on time...

Anyways, although I had a wonderful time and so forth, and got to spend time with my wonderful Maria (always a plus), there was something that really struck me for some reason. It was this one slow song that seemed really familiar for some reason and I ended up Googling the lyrics later on, after Maria and I got back from the dance. Turns out it's an old Elton John tune that apparently every other American kid except me has heard at some point or another. It's called "Rocket Man," and though I'm sure most of you have already heard it, it's the refrain that really gets me:

And I think's it gonna be a long, long, time
'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no, I'm a rocket man
Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time...

Now, let me preface my reflections on this with a little something. My philosophy has always been that I'll give every musical artist, no matter how horrible, a chance to redeem themselves. Likewise, I believe even awesome bands can do horrible songs, pace Pink Floyd and "We Don't Need No Education." So, even though I could never call myself an Elton John fan, I believe there are several of his songs that are definitely worth hearing. And this has now joined the list.

I've written a bunch of stuff on this same subject--leaving home and the inevitable sense of alienation and abandonment it brings. In some ways, this song is an allegory. It's not just about a guy who's flying off into space. It's about leaving and coming back, and realizing how much can change. Because, really, isn't that what it's all about? Leaving home and coming home and finding out that you're not the man that your loved ones thought you were...that you aren't the man you thought you were? I've left and come back too many times to come to any other conclusion, that each departure makes me a different man. And now here I am, burning out my fuse on Instrumental Analysis and Physical Chemistry. There was a time this week I felt really alone, for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that it was cold outside and I didn't have a coat (and if you think that's silly, try walking in the cold without a jacket. You'll feel really lonely really quickly), or maybe it was the impending PChem Test Of Doom, but sometimes college can make you feel really alone. At first it makes you feel really loved and accepted, but sooner or later you have to come to terms with the fact that it's more than halfway done and that when you leave, you're going to have to have at least a somewhat coherent plan on what you want to do with your life now that your academic security blanket has been roughly yanked away.

And maybe it will be a long, long, time. Maybe I'll always feel kind of alone. Maybe part of being human in this life is realizing that ulitmately, you are alone, and that that's OK. After all, a lot of coming to grips with things is merely letting them be OK and not doing a hell of a lot to try to change them, fatalistic as that sounds. It doesn't mean I don't want to make a difference...I just want to be able to figure out when it's worth it to try to change something, and when it's better to merely leave it be and let it be what it is. So I guess I'll just keep tilting at my various windmills until I figure out which ones are worth attacking.


Blogger Dymphna said...

You don't have your coat???

About leaving home and returning: the same is true of the home you leave: it changes, the people change too, and sometimes to the leaver those changes aren't readily apparent. It stands to reason, though, that when one member of a group leaves, the dynamic evolves to something else.

I've been re-reading "Speaker for the Dead" and am going to scan part of it for a post on Neighborhood.

Card is such a good writer...have you ever read his intro to "Speaker"? He wrote it before he wrote "Ender." Had forgotten that.

We were interviewed for a pod cast in Australia yesterday. Fun.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous djproject said...

the correct song title is "another brick in the wall (part 2)" =]

9:03 AM  

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