Essay

The I is We [Flash Fiction]

The difficulty anyone faces when trying to connect with another is that the I is already a plurality. I am we, for sure. There is no room left for anyone else, it seems, or so I believe. Of course we are familiar with Shakespeare’s all the world’s a stage . . . all the Self as well. The many parts we play in the world are multiplied by contexts, with whom, for whom, by whom, about whom, to whom? Possible contexts are variegated and multiplied. I am different with men than I am with women, different with my wife than I am with women colleagues, different with women colleagues than I am with women friends, different with elderly women than I am with young girls, different with pre-pubescent young girls than I am with young women who are of adult age, different with Arab Muslim women than I am with American women, different with women in my class than I am . . . and so on and so on and so on. The many masks we wear . . . do you talk to a police officer who has pulled you over for an alleged traffic violation the same way you do the officer you approach for directions in Lower Manhattan?

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