Fences

There’s something I’m dying to get out however its not the right time yet. I’ve been thinking of topics that I could start with today and I figured this is a decent fail-safe topic.

Fences.

I grew up surrounded by fences. Fences in the yard, fences inside the fence to separate the ‘off-limits’ areas. Fences around the pool, the deck and even fences in the house. The little baby gates that kept me in or out of trouble. I was confined wherever I went. Growing up, we lived on the top of a hill that overlooked the Exxon refinery. Out the back end of the property was nothing more than a valley that separated me from commandeering the refinery and taking my pirate ship fort over there and taking over the world. One day when my parents were gone, I snuck out the back fence and walked about ten feet. I still have dreams based on that today. Words cannot explain the exhilaration I got from escaping even just for a few minutes. I got scared of getting my ass whooped so I promptly found my way back before getting too lost.

We moved to Washington and after a short while in a townhouse apartment we moved into a house. It had a fence. It kept the dog in and the stray dogs out. It was a comforting feeling in a way. Nothing much changed in regards to being confined. Sometimes a ball would end up on the wrong side and I almost felt dirty having to climb over to retrieve it.

Quite a few years later, we finally moved into a brand new house. It was amazing! I was excited to finally live in a house without that shitty hi-lo carpet. I hated that stuff. The smell of fresh paint and light oak trim made me happy. The most exciting thing about it was in fact, the neighborhood had no fences! Whether it was a covenant of the association or simply because it was so new, I didn’t care. I felt liberated living in a community where neighbors welcomed others and I didn’t have to knock on someone else’s door just to retrieve a ball that ended up in someone else’s yard.

Things changed slowly. Neighbors moved, grudges grew and life took over. The neighborhood had become just like any other sub-urban melting pot of underpaid, overworked working class families that had better things to worry about than loving thy neighbor. One by one, fences were erected.

Luckily I had moved out before I had to witness too many fences being built. Whenever I go back to visit, it feels so…confined. It’s home to me, and I don’t want it to be.

People put up fences all over the place. Mostly around their hearts. Only by special invitation are we invited into someone’s special place. Even then, it’s not a ‘come as you please’ mentality. I close myself off to people when I don’t want to. I notice that others have a similar habit, though most likely not because of the same devices. I wonder sometimes why some of us are OK with this. We want to share our lives with others via social networking yet we privatize it as to screen who we let in to our worlds. We only want certain people within our network just as in real life.

You’re in, you’re out. Take your pick. We can’t have the best of both worlds. Here’s to my life and creating something without fences.

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