The Long Goodbye and How My Farewell Tour will not be like Cher’s
“If I come back in five years, I’d be driving around in one of those carts with the joy-sticks. This truly is it.” Cher, 2002
I have a fondness for film noir movies and Raymond Chandler characters. There is something gritty, melancholy and downright maniacal about those characters including the famous character of Phillip Marlowe. The movie the “Big Sleep” is often the most lauded of these films. Yet, “The Long Goodbye” has its share of fans, including me. The best part of the film, in my opinion, is the ending where you are left to wonder what was real and could you trust your interpretation of past events.
I am not here to extol the greatness of The Long Goodbye but instead I am here to talk about my own “Goodbye” journey. Farewell tours in the rock and roll field are ubiquitous and tend to not be true. Many fans no longer believe the hype that an artist’s farewell tour is truly the last time they will be able to see their favorite rock star on the stage. When Motley Crue way back announced their Farewell Tour, supposedly their agent got super excited noting this would be a great thing for their career. As such, they toured again after what was ostensibly set to be their last tour. Back in 1977, Mr. Diva himself Elton John noted that he was performing in what would be his last set: “I’ve made a decision tonight that this is going to be the last show. There’s a lot more to me than playing on the road and this is the last one I’m going to do.” I think we all know how that statement ended up not being true.
Fast forward to 2002, when Cher announced she would be embarking on her last tour. She went and got the weird outfits out and danced up a storm with a ton of young, hot back up dancers. She did not retire the outfits nor did she retire at all. She came back again and again. Of course, we all know that Cher is like a cockroach and just won’t ever go away. If you haven’t heard “the only living things that would survive a nuclear war would be cockroaches and Cher”. Thus, I thin we all knew deep down (or really not that deep down) that Cher’s Farewell Tour was not really going to live up to that particular title hype. There was the time that Tina Tuner announced that she was retiring and going on her Farewell Tour. Many people took more seriously that pronouncement by Tina. Nonetheless, she came back eight years later.
Farewell tours they are just not what they used to be. Actually, never were.
Here I am in the midst of my own farewell tour. As a result I am probably about to gain ten pounds in one week alone. After giving 30-day notice of my departure, I have been invited to breakfasts, coffees, lunches and dinners to celebrate my resignation and move out west. I feel very honored, happy and a bit sheepish at all these moments.
I feel sheepish and a little guilty. The thing is I plan on coming back to New York City every three weeks or so as I still have much to do and my little boy has to stay here and finish up school. There will be many more opportunities to catch up in person for coffee and drinks. Hopefully, drinks. Yes, I am leaving but it’s a slow, long goodbye. I keep wanting to remind everyone of that fact. But that point seems somewhat moot. The goodbyes continue. I suppose after being at one place for ten years, there is some measured cause for celebratory outings and functions. I am grateful for people’s earnest happiness for people. Yet, I am pondering a few things.
With the rise and complete integration of social media into our lives, is a goodbye a “goodbye” anymore? The answer is unequivocally “not so much”.
I can still post on Facebook everyday as I already do. I will still tweet out snarky Mimi bits and I will continue to blog on a fairly continuous basis. I may not be in New York City on an everyday basis but I will be fairly present in many people’s consciousness. If they care to follow my updates, that is. It seems to me that these days we feel people’s social media absence more so than their physical one. If we do not see someone post for a few days, we wonder if they are ok and start “poking” them. It has gotten to the point that people make major announcements on social media when they plan to be away for a while whether it is for a trip or to finish up their dissertation. It is not like we put up a sign on our house door letting people we are taking some time away. However, we feel a major need to make such a social media announcement due to our heightened sense of virtual connectedness. A random person we became Facebook “friends” with after a few minutes of knowing them know our every move while our next door neighbor may not even know our name.
I have a colleague who recently moved abroad and we “talk” (including skype and text messages) on a pretty constant basis. I must say I truly do not feel that she has left. Such a lack of “absence” leads me to assume others will not feel that I have left. Of course, some will feel the absence of my actual work product as I was quite the workaholic. Further, of course, my family will feel my absence. I will not be able to kiss and hug my son every morning as I prepare his peanut butter and toast breakfast. However, I will see him everyday through skype. For that, I am extremely grateful. It is odd to think that for a few months we will have a technology-mediated relationship. How will this generation grow up to be? It seems, in part, kids will have more secure attachments to their parents; not being afraid that their parents are away. How this will play out into their lives as 20 year olds, is still a bit of a mystery.
As I write and think about it even more, I may get so lonely in my new place that people will hear and see me even more. Thank you for the meals, drinks and coffees. I surely never turn those down and look forward to the “real” conversations that occur in more than 10 characters. However, this is no Farewell Tour. There is no such thing anymore. I am just moving on to a new place to do new things. See you, as always, in the electronic, virtual world.