Discover more from The Remarkable Fools Letter
you can't stay here
the honda fit, semisonic and the camino de santiago
Ask any bartender what their favorite song is and they’ll tell you. They share a same song with service staff at weddings and events. As a DJ, I played this song whenever I could. Though they may have other favorites, anyone who works in the service industry has belted out Semisonic’s semiprophetic declaration of You don’t have to go home but YOU CAN’T STAY HERE!
The magic of Closing time by Semisonic lives with its ability to express indifference and lack of care about what happens next. Sure, it’s regularly sung to (and by) a drunken crowd, but the sentiment matters.
In reply to yesterday’s post, daily reader Heather wrote:
Sometimes taking time with the end allows you to scooch into the next beginning. I think that's why endings can be hard. What do I do now? That's a hard question.
Sometimes, it’s not difficult at all. I had a car that I loved. It was just purchased by a very kind, loving and sensitive dad. He bought it for his daughter, a second year student at a nearby university.
It was very difficult to finalize the deal. He is from another province. Buying a car in Canada in a province different from your own is fraught. Doing this in a small town where the DMV workers are prone to suspicion and like warning people ‘from away’ about how easily they could get ripped off makes things even more spicy.
Selling this car, normally a simple, brief transaction required multiple test drives, trips to garages and ultimately? A delivery trip to the small town where he was and his daughter attended university.
This dude? Let’s call him Barry. Barry drove me back to my house after I dropped off the car to his daughter. On the drive, Barry and I bonded. He shared stuff with me. This seems to happen where ever I go. People open up.
Barry opened up. He told me about his rare heart condition. His only works at about 40% capacity. He told me about getting defibulated multiple times in order to keep going. He told me about almost losing his son. He lamented that his children were leaving him.
He was shaken up and really sad. Shit, I’m going to be a mess when my kids leave too, I thought to myself. Then he told me about the losses his wife recently went through. We were rolling along in a car filled with grief. The end of my relationship with my car brought me into a new relationship with a man experiencing multiple endings.
We always wanted to go. It’s something we talked about for a long time. After everything we went through, we just put it on a calendar and did it.
He was talking about The Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago is ‘The Way of Saint James’. It’s a Christian pilgrimage. You walk from village to village from France through northern Spain. The entire journey is five hundred kilometers. It takes weeks to complete.
Every day, you just get up and keep going. That’s the only choice you have. Some mornings, there wasn’t even food available. It didn’t matter. You just had to get up and keep moving forward.
In the end, that’s the only choice we have. Keep moving forward. Sure, people who are walking the Camino have a destination, they have a goal that keeps them moving. On the journey, the goal can go missing.
It’s not like you see the end of the pilgrimage coming. The goal doesn’t keep you moving. It’s just the process of continuing to move, to keep going that becomes clear.
We stay motivated to move by our commitment to keep going. He met a lot of people on the journey. Many seemed to come from one of two places.
Of the people there, seventy percent were either people who lost someone dear to them or addicts. Either way, they were moving on, leaving something behind and headed towards something new.
We are all constantly moving towards something new, something unknown. When things end, it can be difficult to know what to do next. It’s a difficult question with a simple answer. Keep moving.
You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.
One foot in front of the other, you’ll get there eventually.