Tuesday, November 11

behind glass

I have the habit, or maybe it's a hobby, of trying to see beyond what people are telling me. What they say with their eyes or what comes out in their expressions when no one else is paying attention.

It's easier to do this in a country where you can't follow the conversations of strangers. You have nothing to go on but what you read in their eyes. I sit quietly on the bus, and occasionally I spot someone who has so much more to share. Someone who thinks, writes music, wrestles with life and where it's headed. Someone with dreams that they're determined to live. And I want so much to know them and discover their perspective on life. But I'm left sitting there, tortured, because it's nearly impossible for me to risk anything further. I no longer have access to the tools to throw my hat in the ring and see the response. I'm stuck behind a one way mirror where I can see them behind a haunting image of myself with no way to break into reality.


  1. A very intense posting with so many meanings. I'm new to your blog. Italians are very expressive in every way, aren't they?

  2. I'm new to this. Thanks for your comment.

    Expressive in every way? I'll say yes, but also note that I think expression means something totally different to Italians I know than it does to this American. I've found my Italian friends are very skilled with language, art, style. But there is, I think, a difference that, although subtle, is important. The difference is the emotional connection. For me, being expressive is often accompanied by strong emotion. That my best work come from things or ideas I feel deeply. And the more expressive someone is, the more consumed they are in their emotions. It's not the case here. I am discovering that Italian have what I think is a healthy detachment from their forms of expression. That somehow, mastery and skilled use of these forms is related more to the perfection of form itself rather than the emotion or idea being conveyed.

    Am I making any sense here?

    It's an aspect of the culture that I'm just now starting to appreciate. So take what I say lightly. I may have no idea what I'm talking about.

  3. Beautifully written! I know exactly how you feel. :)

  4. My early days were filled with moments just like yours... and many, many mis-understandings where I would THINK that people were saying something bad, when they were really just excited. It was tiring, to say the least. But now that my German is fluent, I have discovered that 98% of the time, most people just talk to hear the sound of their own voice (me included) and am astounded when I think about how much work I put into learning a second language -- for what! LOL Keep going.. it gets easier (usually with a couple of glasses of red)


...and you may ask yourself, well...how did I get here?