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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Relationships are interesting things.

I lay awake last night wondering why people spend so much time worrying about something which, for all intents and purposes, tends to be considered such an insignificant portion of daily life. Relationships consume so much of our mental energy - the consideration, evaluation, and maintainance - it's a wonder anyone ever stays together for more than a few weeks. I'd be willing to bet whatever you like that if you took all of the books, magazines, and newspapers on the subject and stacked them against the rest of all printed material, ever, the former would dwarf the latter by the same margin as the sun to a firefly. It's just one of those things we seem inexorably fixated on.

Despite the predictable trajectory they seem to follow, people are willing to undergo what amounts to torture for the brief moments during that fatal arc when they can feel as if they are soaring. It's like being shot out of a cannon, and knowing for a fact that the landing is nearly going to kill you, but doing it anyway... and then picking yourself up and trying again. It's the most agonizing experience that I think humankind has yet to evolve out of; evoking every single negative, soul-checking mechanism from doubt to fear to helplessness. And that's if things go right.

It takes things which would be considered marginal if not insignificant and magnifies them to issues of earth-shattering importance. Suddenly a weekend at home for the holidays can turn into a microcosm within which the character of a person is evaluated and sometimes found wanting; where and what you eat can be taken as a sign of the relative worth of a person. Every comment and every act, which would be, independantly of the context of the relationship, not even passing blips on the radar, can be confused or conflated to gargantuan proportions.

Is it really worth it to have someone there, to share your life with? Is it just hedging bets, allowing for the guarantee of a companion when in need of commiseration? Is it simple loneliness, or a biological drive for sex? Or is it really that people find an individual who they can't be without, who actually makes them better? It's rare that we can find someone so in need of impressing that it catalyzes personal betterment. But is that really such a good thing? If we become better people to deserve another, is that really something which has an honorable motivation?

Maybe it's more, and has some deep symbolic significance I'm missing. The possibility is clearly there. Reading Tristan and Isolde you get a feeling of fate and of individual fulfillment in the sacrifice to another. Reading Romeo and Juliet you can't help but understand the futility and ferocity of, respectively, stopping such an immovable force and the force itself. But does anyone really think in these terms? Or do they just, irrationally, participate in this silly dance because they are compelled to by something they don't really understand? Is it really so irrational?

Taking the leap is something I think is fundimental to being a person. You have to have faith in something, and having it in someone seems as good a chance as any. Taking the leap isn't really so cataclysmic, and after all, sometimes it doesn't end, and people don't come crashing back down to earth. Every once in a while people sprout wings and learn to fly... and that's all that really seems to matter.

cranked out at 10:58 AM | |

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