For a few days, I felt bad about what happened but had no idea how to fix it. That is, until I decided to avoid paying my horrifying phone bill by mindlessly surfing the Internet and ran into the Man of the Hole. I looked at the hole that he had dug in the earth, the hole that he had hid in and slept in, in the dark, by himself—and I knew that hole.
After a certain age, most of us do. Because who hasn't felt completely alone at one time or another, due to heartbreak and loss? Who hasn't wondered, if, say, you happened to smoke too much or not eat enough or not sleep enough and fainted and hit your head on the sharp metal corner of the AC, "Would anybody even find me?"
In the best of alternate realities, I'd have something amazing and absolute to tell Kim about her long-term future, like she's going to get remarried to a person who really loves her. Or she's not going to get remarried, but she is going to find some meaningful career that really uses her talents. Or she'll just stay at her current dull job but use her free time to do things like travel and paint and have affairs and enjoy the upside of being alone, the free and creative and independent side.
But when it comes to the world we live in, the one without definitive answers, what I really wish for her is to get out of the hole. Some uncontacted people may need to guard their isolation in order to save their lives, their traditions and their habitats, but for the rest of us, there is another way to greet the big, bright world when it comes calling, even if you no longer think you belong there.
Consider what the Korubo Indians did in October of 1996 when Brazilian officials entered their village. The Korubo, also known for shooting strangers in order to protect their solitude, decided instead to welcome the officials—warily and distantly, but with friendly faces. In return, they learned that timber camps had moved into their area and that they needed to stay clear of them to protect their way of life.
So as of today, this is what I'm going to say to Kim, finally (and I have the phone in my hot little hand right now): "Honey, we are not being threatened by rogue loggers or farmers who want our land. We have a choice when the bell rings at the door: Dive in the hole and shoot arrows...or wave, however uncertainly, and smile."
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