Sometimes I feel guilty for bringing you into this world. We give you lots and lots of love and attention and all the modern comforts of life, but in many ways your parents, especially me, are incompatible with this world.
So, naturally my fear is that you will also grow up to feel strangely out of place.
I am geographically and culturally out of place, but I felt just as alienated in my home country.
When am working with people I am ok. More than ok perhaps. I can listen, I remember what people tell me and I can read their moods and adapt accordingly. I would dare to say am fairly good at what I do.
But I seem unable to feel comfortable with or even interested in people outside of my job. I often think that the people I work with are nice people. They are often a bit one dimensional, but interesting in their own way. In my life outside of work contact with humans is something I have come to experience as more and more unpleasant. The people I run into care about wholly different things. They have a different taste, different thoughts and care about totally different things.
I felt as out of place working for the communist party as I felt in working with people almost from the opposite side of the political spectrum. With the communists there was a marked difference in style and behaviour. I agreed with their criticism, but not with their outcome. They want to reward workers. I want to eliminate the need for mind numbing jobs as much as possible. To me the communists were practically luddites. And with their opposites I had more of an ideological conflict (their support of Israel for example). So it’s always something.
I have crawled away like a wounded animal in the corner that is Slovakia. I am a blank sheet of paper here. I am the teacher. Or the coach. Or the translator. Or the interpreter. The westerner who knows Slovak. It makes me unknowable. I can hide behind it. It’s a comfortable role. As soon as I am out of that role I feel uncomfortable.
Outside of that role there is not much left of me. I am a father and I work. I write and read books. That is it.
It’s like everything that was once me has dropped off and is dead. What remains is the tool kit I need to earn a bit of money. And to give you attention, affection and instruction.
I am afraid you are being raised by someone who’s been dead for several years. That observation terrifies me.
You should have a father who loves not only you, but who also loves life. I fear loving you will not be enough.
I worry about that. The only thing I worry about even more is money. And I wonder if this is it. If I will bend over backwards to scrape together a living, be surrounded by boring people and then drop dead. What kind of an example is that? My father’s example. Except that my father would have his moments. From to time he would still show a most unusual passionate appreciation for life, art, the story of humanity, music, joie de vivre pur sang. I fear that part of me has been replaced by calculation, worry, playing a role and waiting for the final collapse.
Life as a waiting room of a doctor’s practice where Death itself lords over the patients. I think the last look on my living face will still ask: so that was really life? What was the point of giving me a conscious brain, a body brimming with desires and then to throw me in this human life amidst the worker bees and their predictable coping strategies to go about their boring lives?
Humanity has figured out so much, but in my opinion we have definitely not come up with a design for a world that would fulfill our needs.
I think am surrounded by many people acting a part, putting up a brave screen while inside the walls of their existence are rotting away.
The difference is that they think it’s silly to say this out loud.
I have copied the relationship of my parents. Therefore you have an optimistic mother with small, realizable dreams, and an eternally disatisfied father who is convinced life should somehow be more exciting, more glamorous, more of a collective, joyful experience, but does not know how to realize that. Perhaps the dream is unattainable.
You seem to already be very different from other children.
You are the only one who runs around offering to share your toys with any kid you spot.
I was once like that too. Until I had to admit that you can very easily be too nice in a world where everyone seems hell bent to rule over his own private little kingdom and doesn’t give a shit about anyone he or she cannot exploit in some way.
Part of my duty as a father is to protect you against the falling debris of my broken self.