Certainly familiarity plays into this warming climate. A different form of community and perhaps even, dare I say it—culture. Personally, professionally, creatively and even recreationally the Bluegrass reminds me a whole lot of a meme that made me smile when I felt like crying some time ago: “If you don’t feel it, flee from it. Go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated.” To say the least, I’ve had Kool in the Gang in the back of my mind for weeks. However, there are exceptions to every rule.
A few folks along the way seem to have either forgotten who I am, or think that perhaps I have. Reactions range from a sort of distancing or wariness to outright hostility and anger. I assume this is just what happens when someone goes away for a while and becomes institutionalized (or at least perceived to have been institutionalized?) In my lifetime, the only examples I’ve really seen of this are when people go to the military or prison. More often than not, these folks come back home different than when they left. Sometimes they are respected and admired for it, other times feared or hated. Almost always, though, it seems that they are misunderstood due to the imposition of some template or other. Friends fresh out of the military have explained to me how uncomfortable they are with the “hero” label and subsequent treatment in a very similar fashion to those just out of prison who have struggled with the stigma of being an “ex-con”. It strikes me that something akin to this phenomenon is happening here after my time served in the Criminology Department at the University of South Florida. Likewise, where Danielle is concerned after her great success as an RN at Florida Hospital.
For example, some want to insinuate (with varying degrees of couth) that I (or we) must think I’m better and/or smarter than they are. On more than one occasion, I’ve been accused of “lecturing” or treating someone “like a student”. Perhaps my speech pattern has changed as a result of living in Florida for a couple years? Maybe due to the culmination in my education? Or, might it be just as much a statement on how these folks perceive me, or think that I perceive myself? Regardless, it is as fascinating as it is frustrating. Particularly in light of the fact that I know very little about most everything, but have recently learned a whole lot about one little thing in the grand scheme. As such, there is an interesting paradox whereby the more I learn the less I know. Whatever this phenomenon, it feels like being fragged by my own comrades in the class war, and I’ve yet to figure out how to properly respond.
Is this what is/was meant by that old cliché “you can never go home again?”