Disappear, The Desire To

The Book of Human Emotions: From Ambiguphobia to Umpty - 154 Words from Around the World for How We Feel - Tiffany Watt Smith 2016

Disappear, The Desire To

There’s a man in New York who helps people vanish. He’ll forge you a new identity. Brush over your tracks using digital misdirection. And then send you off with a prepaid phone, and a one-way train ticket—paid for, of course, in cash.

It’s a tantalizing service. Who hasn’t, at one time or another, felt that urge to disappear completely? When life’s tangle of expectations and disappointments creeps in ever closer, when the CLAUSTROPHOBIA of debts and obligations stifles, running away is seductive. In Neil LaBute’s play The Mercy Seat, Ben is offered “a chance… to totally erase the past,” on September 11, 2001. He was holed up with his lover when they should have been at work together in the World Trade Center. Now they can start a new life, officially, blamelessly dead.

For most of us it remains a fantasy, too seismic to risk even thinking about. Yet once in a while you dare yourself to try. You deliberately miss the next train or put off charging your phone. Then steal a few moments of pure solitude, and experience, briefly, the sensation of being outside everything—and glimpse what it might feel like to be truly inside yourself.