I was squatting at the high edge of surf when the mirror broke. Staring out to sea, I had dipped two fingers of my right hand in the water, brought them to my lips for a taste of home. The salt and iron tang was a hammer shattering the glass of the illusion I had maintained until then: That I am for this contemporary world, there is a place for me here. That was the nutshell: for too long I had struggled with the notion that I can fit in, make my way in a culture and society with which I feel so out of sync.
It was no surprise, in hindsight, that my ocean side revelations happened so close to my impending half-century birthday, swiftly bearing down on me in roughly two months. Truly it is a source of wonderment and incredulity that I have made it this far, considering how much time I have frittered away on trying to figure out life in lieu of truly living it. A root cause of my simmering discontentment, awakened by the taste of seawater on my tongue.
For a few moments I teetered on the brink of a soured mood, flailing and trying to avoid falling into a human-shaped chasm of discontent. The day trip would have been ruined. The gravity of it tugged at my emotions. Familiar turf, it would have been, and its own cold comfort. A flash of sunlight coruscated off the waves, temporarily blinding me. In that second or so of non-vision, the old man in the back of my head spoke.
"You didn't realize until now you're Lloyd Dobler, that guy from the movie Say Anything. You liked him a lot so many years ago, but you didn't think you were him. You know what really bothers you now? You are Lloyd Dobler, and he is turning fifty."Then he laughed, a big wave sprinted up the shingle, and my cargo shorts were soaked for a good three inches. My daughter squealed in glee as she ran up the beach fleeing the waves. She laughed, too. I snapped out of my funk. The tang of salt air filled my lungs, and I grinned. Maybe the old man was right. Even if he was, I am Lloyd but I am me, and we will make sense of the world even if it is not quite for me.
"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."
---Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) in 1989's "Say Anything"