19 February 2010

A Meeting Yesterday, A Committee From Long Ago

By the end of the day yesterday, I could just barely keep my eyes open, even when I was standing up. After my classes, I had a meeting with my department's curriculum committee. It's the first committee meeting I've attended since June: Last semester, I had a class during the same hours that the committee met.

However, I didn't feel as if I were "catching up." I'd been following the proceedings and staying in touch with the other committee members. But that wasn't the only reason why I had a sense of deja vu at the meeting.

During the past few months, I'd all but forgotten what deja vu is. I was experiencing a lot new things, some of which had to do with my surgery and transition. What seems ironic now is that even after a few weeks, having to dilate three times and take hot baths twice a day didn't seem repetitive or routine. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I had to take care of my body in a way I never did before; in fact, consciously taking care of my body, period, was a new experience for me.

Even talking to my mother and having Millie stop by at my place every day remained fresh experiences for me. I had begun talking daily to my mother around Memorial Day. I continued through my stay in Trinidad and my first three months home. And, once I got home, Millie started coming by every day.

I hadn't had daily conversations with my mother, or any member of my family, at least since I was in high school. And I can't remember the last time (before last summer) that I saw a friend every day.

But going to the meeting yesterday was simply repetitive. It seemed that the same things were being argued about, in the same way, by the same people that argued them all those months ago. Actually, I realize today that it didn't just seem that way; it actually was that way: not much has changed since the last meeting I attended. Yet that meeting, like so much else, seems like it happened a lifetime ago.

And they're still arguing. Even though I participated in those arguments, and wrote two course descriptions, I felt as if I had never been part of that committee, that it did what it was going to do anyway, with or without me.

What's even odder was that I felt neither sad nor joyous over what I had done, or that I was meeting with that committee again. The work I did simply felt like some part of my distant past, and the meeting felt like just another repetition of another point in time, and that time was yet another repetition of yet another point in time. That is what people commonly call "the present," which often has nothing at all to do with the moment. The past few years have been, for me, as much about learning--if not alway successfully-- to live in, but not for, the moment.

I will be at the next meeting; I don't think I'm being cynical when I say I don't expect much, if anything, to change. It's all for the same moment, one that seems like a very, very long time ago.