All this leaving is making me sad. It’s funny, you don’t expect people to leave London, unless they’re moving to NY, cos, where else would you go?
Anyway, with all the things that have been going wrong recently, I turned to my old friend Douglas Coupland to find something comforting or at least explanatory.. I remembered this passage from Life After God almost perfectly, it’s from In the Desert, the short story he wrote for Michael Stipe. It’s about a guy who breaks down in the desert in the middle of nowhere while on a mission and the desert rat/hobo he finds who leads him to a service station and inadvertently saves his life. The protagonist is upset that he can’t find a way to connect with the hobo..
“The fact of the matter was he was simply a very far-gone desert rat. I felt naive and middle class for having hoped – even briefly – that I could bond with the unbondable, for thinking that all it takes to make crazy people uncrazy is a little bit of hearty attention and good sense.
And then I felt sad because I realised that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to suprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened”
This blog post makes me seem more melancholy than I feel. But then, so does reading early Coupland… If you haven’t read Life After God then you should probably rectify that quicksmart. It exemplifies all the amazing smart, simple, warm things about Coupland, without any of the irony and less of the pop cultural infusion.