With all the farewells around here these days, I thought I'd put to pen my own reflections on the act, or process, depending on your nature. For me, it's best seen as an act, not unlike removing a whitened wood tick from behind a dog's ear. I see to both with equal anticipation. For others, it's like Rita MacNeil's Christmas specials, with the exception that a goodbye eventually ends.

I'm not quick to invite new friendship, and in a place like this, that gives you a solid five weeks to hang out with people you could see becoming good friends before you get to the goodbyes. Then, in a short while, the process begins anew. And, frankly, it doesn't matter how quick or slow your start may be, the end is abruptly the same each and every June. Goodbye.

I prefer to slip out through the service door, into the alley under the cover of night.

It's not that I'm avoiding reality, which is to say my current situation, but that I'm acknowledging my pending reality, if not also trying to embrace it. Reality, that you aren't immediately a part of it, and I don't like that.

Of course, this is open, and subject, to interpretation. Whoopity-doo, what isn't? Is my way of dealing with goodbyes wrong? Probably, but I haven't seen any others that make me certain of it. Does my avoidance of goodbyes mean I think less of people?

No, although many who are close to me will have at some time or another no doubt heard me say that I hate people, with the utmost inclusivity reserved for all of humanity. This may be an exaggeration, in both intensity and breadth.

And yet, no matter whether your style is to try to move to the next stage quickly, to ignore the possibility by endlessly promising that "we should totally get together; how many hours until you leave?", or to cry so long and so hard that you need to hook up a saline drip just to keep from turning to dust, we're all saying the same thing - we'll miss you.

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