Updated: Nov 5, 2021
I recently bought two books on ghost towns. I have some others, too. As I read in them a bit I saw the ghost towns as a metaphor for my own life.
I once had some "action" going on. It may even have appeared to others as though I was something special. People called me and I called them. I spent time with people for both business and personal reasons. People probably talked about me more than I would have liked, and I am pleased that I was not listening in. I would have been embarrassed. But now no one does. I have become a ghost town.
People see me but I have no meaning in their lives at all. Some stop by in the form of phone calls, and I do have a few correspondents left, but that's all the visitation I receive now. Even some of the correspondence I send does not get quickly returned, as with Bill, June and Aunt Sally, both ladies having finally died.
This all reminds me of Mr. Flood's Party by Edward Arlington Robinson. Call me Eben Flood.
Ghost towns are lonely places especially at night. Where the hotels and saloons once offered gaiety and diversion, the doors are permanently closed now and electricity is no longer furnished. Houses which once gave shelter and witnessed family gatherings and I daresay procreating, well, these houses only serve the needs of lesser creatures seeking shelter undisturbed. The streets are completely and regrettably safe to wander. No one will bother you. The entire town now may in fact legally belong to one person, and even he or she doesn't care what happens there. The place may be worth more if it burns down. Even the wood is too old for the fireplace; the oil and resins have evaporated, the life gone out of it.
There is no chance for recovery either. Hospice is not provided for ghost towns because it is futile. I think the town feels lonely most of the time; some personal company would be most welcome. But moribund began long ago and now the fact of death is ever present, so to offer any kind of succor at all would be wasteful in a society of disruptive efficiencies.
I wonder what my name is.*
* Note: this story is not by Kurt Bell, but instead is by an older gentleman who wrote it and shared it with me after he had read Going Alone.
My name is Kurt Bell.
You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.
Be safe... But not too safe.