For someone who is keen to chat and quick to write, I feel a distinct discomfort when presented with the task of filling forms (and writing on cards. My indelible writing sullying several hallmark creations over the years)
Something about BLOCK letters, limited space, blue ink requests, renders me speechless and panic-stricken. Paralyzed with fear, filled with dread, knowing as you’re telling yourself not to make a mistake, you almost always will.
Recently, I had the misfortune of filling forms. Several forms. New passport application, visa forms, tax form, loan application, credit card application etc.
Intimidating, blank little boxes looking up at me. Challenging me.
What makes this task infinitely worse is the questions they pose. I’m not referring to :
The sensitive ones – Married, Single or Other
The arguably irrelevant ones – Ethnicity
Positively embarrassing ones – Birth marks
Morbidly depressing Emergency contact
The most delicate and perhaps the most thought-provoking is that of a permanent address.
I’m embarrassed that for everything permanent, I’ve directed people, banks and institutions to my parents. Reiterating the fact that as long as they’re around I have a permanent solution.
It could be the timing of these questions that led me to this feeling of dislocation. My office had relocated and a few weeks later I was moving out of my apartment
Brushing aside this overwhelming sense of displacement I decided to give it a good thought. Existential questions crept into my mind and I’m happy to report, have lodged themselves in some corner of my brain.
Permanence is so sought after
This desirous be-all-end-all feeling of settling down
Is it overrated?
Sure it would free me of most form-filling worries but why isn’t, here-for-now enough?
What or who offers permanence? Parents, spouse, kids?
We live in a world where memories outlive relationships. Sometimes only just.
Is it an address, an ID card, a driver’s license?
Why objectify permanence?
For me, permanence is revered and rarefied. It’s importance indisputable.
We all have a firm presence, our own place in this world
I’m partially impermanent but wholly happy
To be drifting and discovering
Advancing through trial and error
One form at a time…