In 1989, when the author was 12 years old, his family moved to Europe, to Germany, to Bavaria. Soon thereafter, the Berlin Wall fell, the Iron Curtain crumbled, and a people long divided was suddenly free to mingle, once more. He remembers seeing the East German cars known as the Trabant, or Trabbi, choking the Autobahn outside of the Upper Franconian town in which his father had become the local Lutheran pastor; he remembers the excitement of getting new school-books in geography class that showed Germany united, its border once more extending all the way east, to the river Oder; what he does not remember, however, are the names or faces of any of the classmates he had left Stateside.
So traumatic was the cultural shift, so monumental the changes he faced each day, so daunting the challenge of soaking up a new language and way of living, that he learned to first ignore and then cancel out the yearning and homesickness he felt for the people he had left behind. To this day, once a person is out of his sight, they are generally out of his mind, neither missed nor pined for, needed or necessary; he can just up and leave and live a contented life without ever having to see the people from his past, ever again.
The oos-oom state of mind is a defense mechanism common among people who jettison old cultures for new ones and create for themselves unique, personal, 3rd cultures along the way. It is both curse and blessing, beautiful and bad. On some level, the afflicted individual sacrifices the comfort of tight, reliable interpersonal relationships for freedom from some of the pain of losing loved-ones; he skirts the trap of humanity without giving up the inherent impartiality of his inner beast. Sometimes, the only way to hold on is by letting go.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
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I bicycle, write, surf, and strive.