Note No. 56

March 12, 2010

I ran into a friend the other day. Well, no; he sought me out, actually, because he needed help next door at the tax office, doing the same nightmare paperwork that I had to do during my first year on the island.

We’re sitting there in the waiting area then, and it’s been awhile since we last saw each other, so he starts asking me about my plans for later this year. And when I say later this year, I mean a month and a half from now. I just seem to keep forgetting that every time the sun goes down and comes up again, another day has passed, and that apparently, this has already happened, like, 70 times this year. Did you know that?

So, yes. There we are, practically on the eve of my May departure, and this friend wants to know what I am doing when I leave here. It’s a perfectly reasonable request of information. Anyone should be able to ask me. And they do. Quite often. Except my usual vagueness suffices and they let me be. I think I might wave my hand a few times and look around in an ill-at-ease sort of way, as I ramble about traveling and writing, and writing and traveling, and not living anywhere in particular for a year. It works, though. No more questions.

Perhaps I have left them wondering from what Golden Egg I hatched that I might be able to be so seemingly flip about my future, or maybe they have some hobo image of me wandering aimlessly through Walmarts and visiting Jellystone Park, but I am more comfortable with the possibility that people might have such impressions than I am discussing not-yet-developed ideas about my plans for when I leave the island. And start writing.

This friend does not let me get off so easily, though. Fine, so I’ll be living nowhere in particular all over the United States and okay, so I’ll be writing about this journey of mine. But who is my market?

I hem and haw for about five seconds and finally say “People on Facebook, actually.”

And is the idea is to encourage people to use Facebook?

No, I say. It’s to encourage people to actually meet face to face, because I think too many people are relying on Facebook to socialize and they don’t really know each other.

“Oh, I get it,” he says. And he does. Because he paraphrases the idea, my idea, in his own words.

And I am astonished. He has just managed to pry the most well-guarded secret of 2009-2010 out of my hermetically sealed brain, and I was not even fully aware that it was happening. How did he DO that? Only one other person knows about this idea of mine that I had last fall, and that’s because we were stranded in a bar one rainy night in a far corner of the island, having been drinking aged rum on the rocks all night, and everyone else around us was distracted and speaking Spanish, so it seemed like a safe time to blurt out the idea that I HAD to share with someone, just to know if it was even worth pursuing.

Now here I am, about four months later and stone-cold sober in a tax collecting office, where I have nearly spilled the same information to someone I know far less than the friend in the bar. But it feels good to talk about it. And it is encouraging to see him react positively, like this idea of mine could actually work. And I am grateful for his interest and his perseverance.

The next day, I get an e-mail from him asking why I don’t start my blog now. I reply that I am pretty determined to keep writing Facebook Notes till I leave the island and then I will publish all the Facebook Notes as a Prologue tab on my blog, and the adventure itself will be the daily blog posts. I say that I have bought the domain name that I want to use but that I am pretty sure it needs to stay under wraps until I am ready to start traveling, because the name of the blog itself implies moving around a lot, and everything up to that point should be covered in said Notes.

He responds: “Why wait?” I need to start learning the ropes to posting, he says, and this will take time. Plus, he says I should go ahead and start taking advantage of the people I know on the island.

And I’m thinking, “Man. This is some pressure I’m getting from him.” But I like it, because it makes me start DOING something and before he started challenging my vagueness and questioning my lack of proactivity, I just THOUGHT I was doing something. But I wasn’t. I was doing a few small motions that could maybe be considered doing something, like researching some people, but in the end, I was just doing the preliminary steps before actually doing something.

Now, thanks to him, I am registered with Word Press and I am learning HTML code and I am slowly building my blog. I still have a gazillion things to do, like upgrade my free hosting, so that I can use my purchased domain name and get rid of the free one with a wordpress extension on it. And I am still unsure if I really do want to do my own CSS stylizing, instead of using some easy formats. But I will figure it all out soon enough— a lot faster than I would have if I had never gone into the tax office last week.

So there you go. I’ve told you what I am doing next year. Sort of. More or less. As I’m prone to do before I actually start doing something.

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