The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY SIX: DA FENCE!!!
“Security is a double-edged sword: While a fence sure protects the fenced; it also imprisons the protected.”
“The old saying that fences make the best neighbors isn’t true. It’s distance.”
– Loyd Elmore Jr
I remember the chainlink fence we had when I was a kid. We lived on a corner lot and the fence was not only in the backyard but in the sideyard close to a street. Inside these fences, I felt safe from the outside world, from people walking by or riding their bikes or the cars that drove past. It felt like these fences were impregnable.
Until one day, a car (or truck) drove into our fence, tearing down a part of it. We never knew what happened because whoever did the damage just backed up and drove away. I was amazed that it happened. Not because I thought it was impossible (I have always been a kid who thought about scenarios before they happened and this one would enter my mind from time to time before shooing it away like a fly in my face), but took the illusions that I was safe behind these fences and destroyed them.
The fly of worry came back buzzing. And it brought friends…
We throw up fences in our lives thinking it will keep us safe from the outside world from seeing what we truly are, what we are doing. The funny thing about fences, especially chainlink ones, they’re see-through. They block nothing. Maybe your dog, unless it’s a big one. You have to teach it not to jump over the fence. A chainlink fence is nothing more than to mark a border. That’s it. Nothing more.
Before we moved from my childhood home, right before I started high school, I could jump the fence. Not climb it (I had been doing that already). No. I could jump it. I could put my hands on the top and spring over it using the strength of legs to propel me over, throwing my legs to the side like a gymnast on a Pommel Horse.
If I tried that now, it would be very embarrassing. But then, I could. And quite gracefully. The fence was no longer my protector.
It was just a border.
We put them up to keep things out. Mostly people. We put them up in our yards to show people that this area is off-limits unless we give permission. Other than that, STAY OUT!!! And we put them up in our minds, in our lives, for people to stay out unless when we give permission.
I’m guilty. And you’re guilty.
If you’re breathing, you have done it. Sometimes we do it as a precaution. Or they are put up because of past experiences.
You talk bad about me, up goes a fence.
You hurt me, up goes a fence.
You look at me funny, up goes a fence.
Another funny thing about fences is they are see-through. Did I say that already? I did. The reason I did was to tell you this: They are easier to take down versus a wall. Walls are more permanent, Just ask Roger Waters.
When we put up fences, we know that we want to be seen. We want the access it allows. Fences aren’t complete shut-offs, just temporary ones.
I think about that driver that stuck our fence. Apparently, the car wasn’t too smashed since it was able to be driven away. If it had been a cinderblock wall, it would have been a much different story. There might have even been a dead driver.
The fence had give.
People who put up fences are not completely shutting out others or situations, they are just keeping them at a distance. It’s sort of a warning. They are saying see me plant a garden and play with my dog and sit out in my chair to get some sun. You can come up to the fence and speak and we can be neighborly, but don’t cross it. Don’t jump my fence. Then… a wall might go up.
That switch from a see-through fence to a wall can be life-changing. That wall might go up to just one person. Everyone but that person might still see the fence meaning that person is still open to others. But if they are hurt enough, maybe everyone will see a wall.
I have found myself putting up fences to some and walls to others. Some fences are little ones, like the ones you might put around flowers as a decoration. Some are chainlink fences while some have razor wire at the top. Then there are the walls. Some are simple cinderblock ones while others go to the sky where the top can’t be seen.
It’s true. I do have one or two of those with certain people.
Is that wrong? Maybe.
But, you know as well as I do, you can’t be friends with everybody,. try as you might. Sometimes these walls are there for a good reason. They are there to keep the wrong people from getting to you.
But, mostly, I have fences.
And I’ll tell you something else. Most of those fences have a gate, a locked gate. If you are kind, if you are friendly, those locks can become unlocked. You can come and go as you please. You are welcome into my yard where we can sit together and talk, maybe have a glass of sweet tea (or unsweet, if you’re my wife) and we can share space.
But the lock stays dangling on the gate.
Just in case.
It’s hard not to put them up. I believe it’s human nature.
When you do, try putting a gate in.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
October 9th, 2020
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.