Monday, January 30, 2006

228. Dick

Baton Rouge, LA

I think I"m at a crossroads here: in some ways, I feel like I've completed the task I came to do. And yet, there is still so much work to be done--for these people, for this region--that if I leave, I will be abandoning them, passing them by as the rest of the world is on the verge of doing. Our national attention span is so short; we can only handle one crisis--AIDS, a brutal dictator, a terrorist attack, a tsunami, a hurricane--at a time, and we can only "handle" it until it begins to bore us or we grow distracted by another one. I don't want to be one of those people who gets behind the Crisis du Jour for as long as it's fashionable and then moves on.

And yet...

And yet, it's so clear to me that this is not my home, that this way of life, constantly moving from one town to another (using Baton Rouge as our current base of operations), is not for me, any more than dressing up in a costume and fighting bad guys all night long. Though I must say that line of work is not looking so bad at the moment.

Oliver doesn't have the same problem. He's a nomad at heart; he's been doing this for years. Decades, even. I've noticed that when people ask him where he's from, he usually changes the subject. "Somewhere else," or "I don't remember" are his two favorite vague responses. Lots of times people don't even ask; they just assume--in larger cities, like this one or New Orleans--that he's a resident.

He's a man of mystery, all right. That business of getting up in the middle of the night and disappearing until sometime a day or two later is getting old. I've tried to talk to him about it, but he's just as evasive as ever.

So, I don't know what I'm going to do, or where I'm going to go, next. I just feel like "next" is here, or will be, soon.