Monday, March 31, 2008

Literary Taste and The Pushkin Problem

Monday, March 31, 2008

I could not resist quoting an essay I’ve read from the Times (It’s Not You, It’s Your Books by Rachel Donadio, 30 March 2008). Reading the first two paragraphs, I immediately thought to myself: oh lo, this is so me!

“Can you believe it!” she shouted into the phone. “He hadn’t even heard of Pushkin!”

We’ve all been there. Or some of us have. Anyone who cares about books has at some point confronted the Pushkin problem: when a missed — or misguided — literary reference makes it chillingly clear that a romance is going nowhere fast. At least since Dante’s Paolo and Francesca fell in love over tales of Lancelot, literary taste has been a good shorthand for gauging compatibility.”

These days, thanks to social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, listing your favorite books and authors is a crucial, if risky, part of self-branding. Sussing out a date’s taste in books is “actually a pretty good way — as a sort of first pass — of getting a sense of someone,” said Anna Fels, a Manhattan psychiatrist and the author of “Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women’s Changing Lives.” “It’s a bit of a Rorschach test.” To Fels, reading habits can be a rough indicator of other qualities. “It tells something about ... their level of intellectual curiosity, what their style is,” Fels said. “It speaks to class, educational level.”

Suffice it to say that for those of us cursed with literary interests — and no small amount of intellectual snobbery — taste in books can have a limiting effect on our romantic lives. It’s hard enough to find someone compatible based on the basics — looks, brains, interests, morals — without upping the ante with taste in books. Therein lies madness. Or maybe clarity.

missing my friends


Texting with my friend Carla last Saturday night, I realized how I miss all of them girls. We have our own lives now but the bond remains unbroken. It doesn’t need to be spoken; we just know that each one is still wishing the best for the rest. Carla and the girls are, and will always be, my friends for life.

This is so unlike the flitting friendships I have had lately – shallow, easily tainted friendships whose sole basis is proximity. It makes me question if, in the first place, they really were my friends.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Distracted with Punctuation

Friday, March 28, 2008

And you said Cormac’s use of punctuation is distracting and annoying? Try James Joyce, instead. The following is quoted from the last chapter of Ulysses. The 35-page chapter consists of only seven sentences.

Yes because he never did a thing like that before as ask to get his breakfast in bed with a couple of eggs since the CITY ARMS hotel when he used to be pretending to be laid up with a sick voice doing his highness to make himself interesting for that old faggot Mrs Riordan that he thought he had a great leg of and she never left us a farthing all for masses for herself and her soul greatest miser ever was actually afraid to lay out 4d for her methylated spirit telling me all her ailments she had too much old chat in her about politics and earthquakes and the end of the world let us have a bit of fun first God help the world if all the women were her sort down on bathingsuits and lownecks of course nobody wanted her to wear them I suppose she was pious because no man would look at her twice I hope Ill never be like her a wonder she didnt want us to cover our faces but she was a welleducated woman certainly and her gabby talk about Mr Riordan here and Mr Riordan there I suppose he was glad to get shut of her and her dog smelling my fur and always edging to get up under my petticoats especially then still I like that in him polite to old women like that and waiters and beggars too hes not proud out of nothing but not always if ever he got anything really serious the matter with him its much better for them to go into a hospital where everything is clean but I suppose Id have to dring it into him for a month yes and then wed have a hospital nurse next thing on the carpet have him staying there till they throw him out or a nun maybe like the smutty photo he has shes as much a nun as Im not yes because theyre so weak and puling when theyre sick they want a woman to get well if his nose bleeds youd think it was O tragic...and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lists

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I am fond of lists. I get this odd satisfaction from putting a check mark beside each item on the list. For silly me, a check mark is synonymous to an accomplishment.

I have a list of things To Do Before the Day Ends, To Do Before the Week Ends, To Do Before the Month Ends and To Do Before My Life Ends. Complementing these personal To Do lists is a joint To Do list that I share with my significant other, which keeps getting longer and longer as we think of countless ways to enjoy our life together.

Paired with the To Do list is my shorter but less mundane and a lot trickier NOT To Do list – NOT To Say, NOT To Eat, NOT To Think, NOT To Feel – of which most I end up doing eventually, anyway. There’s also my lists of Books To Read, (of which to my dying day, I would scarcely finish even a quarter of the books listed), of Things To Buy, of Things To Be Grateful For Everyday, of Ideas and Concepts To Muse With, of Outfits To Wear, of Things To Remember and of Things To Forget.

The last one is, by far, the most absurd of all lists. Why do I need to remember what I want to forget? Isn’t it utterly ridiculous to note down what I want to entirely ignore? Oh yes. Trying to list down everything just makes a crazy person even crazier.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I slashed my wrist then became a piggy bank

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The stitches have been removed yesterday. It looks as if I: a) slashed my wrist but bungled the job by cutting the wrong side (it’s supposed to be the underside, stupid!); b) am a slot machine cum piggy bank; c) am both.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Kissing

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Kiss of Life
By Joshua Foer


..Let's dwell for a moment on the profoundly bizarre activity of kissing. Is there a more expressive gesture in the human repertoire?

When parents kiss their children it means one thing, but when they kiss each other it means something entirely different. People will greet a total stranger with a kiss on the cheek, and then use an identical gesture to express their most intimate feelings to a lover. The mob kingpin gives the kiss of death, Catholics give the "kiss of peace," Jews kiss the Torah, nervous flyers kiss the ground, and the enraged sometimes demand that a kiss be applied to their hindquarters. Judas kissed Jesus, Madonna kissed Britney, a gambler kisses the dice for luck. Someone once even kissed a car for 54 hours straight.

Taxonomists of the kiss have long labored to make sense of its many meanings. The Romans distinguished among the friendly oscula, the loving basia and the passionate suavia. The 17th-century polymath Martin von Kempe wrote a thousand-page encyclopedia of kissing that recognized 20 different varieties, including "the kiss bestowed by superiors on inferiors" and "the hypocritical kiss." The German language has words for 30 different kinds of kisses, including nachküssen, which is defined as a kiss "making up for kisses that have been omitted." (The Germans are also said to have coined the inexplicable phrase "A kiss without a beard is like an egg without salt.") How did a single act become a medium for so many messages?

There are two possibilities: Either the kiss is a human universal, one of the constellation of innate traits, including language and laughter, that unites us as a species, or it is an invention, like fire or wearing clothes, an idea so good that it was bound to metastasize across the globe.

Scientists have found evidence for both hypotheses. Other species engage in behavior that looks an awful lot like the smooch (though without its erotic overtones), which implies that kissing might be just as animalistic an impulse as it sometimes feels. Snails caress each other with their antennae, birds touch beaks, and many mammals lick each other's snouts. Chimpanzees even give platonic pecks on the lips. But only humans and our lascivious primate cousins the bonobos engage in full-fledged tongue-on-tongue tonsil-hockey.

Even though all of this might suggest that kissing is in our genes, not all human cultures do it. Charles Darwin was one of the first to point this out. In his book "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals," he noted that kissing "is replaced in various parts of the world by the rubbing of noses." Early explorers of the Arctic dubbed this the Eskimo kiss. (Actually, it turns out the Inuit were not merely rubbing noses, they were smelling each other's cheeks).

All across Africa, the Pacific and the Americas, we find cultures that didn't know about mouth kissing until their first contact with European explorers. And the attraction was not always immediately apparent. Most considered the act of exchanging saliva revolting. Among the Lapps of northern Finland, both sexes would bathe together in a state of complete nudity, but kissing was regarded as beyond the pale.

To this day, public kissing is still seen as indecent in many parts of the world. In 1990, the Beijing-based Workers' Daily advised its readers that "the invasive Europeans brought the kissing custom to China, but it is regarded as a vulgar practice which is all too suggestive of cannibalism."

If kissing is not universal, then someone must have invented it. Vaughn Bryant, an anthropologist at Texas A&M, has traced the first recorded kiss back to India, somewhere around 1500 B.C., when early Vedic scriptures start to mention people "sniffing" with their mouths, and later texts describe lovers "setting mouth to mouth." From there, he hypothesizes, the kiss spread westward when Alexander the Great conquered the Punjab in 326 B.C.

The Romans were inveterate kissers, and along with Latin, the kiss became one of their chief exports. Not long after, early Christians invented the notion of the ritualistic "holy kiss" and incorporated it into the Eucharist ceremony. According to some cultural historians, it is only within the last 800 years, with the advent of effective dentistry and the triumph over halitosis, that the lips were freed to become an erogenous zone.

For Freud, kissing was a subconscious return to suckling at the mother's breast. Other commentators have noted that the lips bear a striking resemblance to the labia, and that women across the world go to great lengths to make their lips look bigger and redder than they really are to simulate the appearance of sexual arousal, like animals in heat.

A few anthropologists have suggested that mouth kissing is a "relic gesture," with evolutionary origins in the mouth-to-mouth feeding that occurred between mother and baby in an age before Gerber and still takes place in a few parts of the world today. It can hardly be a coincidence, they note, that in several languages the word for kissing is synonymous with pre-mastication, or that "sweet" is the epithet most commonly applied to kisses.

But kissing may be more closely linked to our sense of smell than taste. Almost everyone has a distinct scent that is all one's own. Some people can even recognize their relatives in a dark room simply by their body odor (some relatives more than others). Kissing could have begun as a way of sniffing out who's who. From a whiff to a kiss was just a short trip across the face.

Whatever its origins, kissing seems to be advantageous. A study conducted during the 1980's found that men who kiss their wives before leaving for work live longer, get into fewer car accidents, and have a higher income than married men who don't. So put down this newspaper and pucker up. It does a body good.

(Published in The New York Times, 14 February 2006)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Let us pray

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Skeptic's Prayer

Our brains, which art in our heads,
treasured be thy name. Thy reasoning
come. Thy best you can do be done
on earth as it is. Give us this day new
insight to help us resolve conflicts and
ease pain. And lead us not
into supernatural expananations;
deliver us from denial of logic.
For thine is kingdom of logic
and even though thy powers are limited,
and you're not always glorious,
you are the best evolutionary adaptation
we have for helping this earth now and
forever and ever.
So be it
.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eternal Rocks

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

“… if all perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary."

- Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, 1847

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blinding Epiphanies

Monday, March 17, 2008

I wonder why people look up to the sky, expecting to find answers to their questions. I know of several people who rely on signs for making life decisions. Before deciding on anything – from love and relationship matters to work issues – they wait for some possible sign, hint or symbol that may somehow lead them to the right decision.

Road signs aside, are there really signs out there that concretely tell us what to do? What if we miss them? What if we get conflicting signals? Do we just choose one sign and ignore the others? Then how do we choose what sign to choose? Do we again turn to signs to decide on what particular sign to follow and what to ignore?

Relying on signs is like letting our lives be decided by chance. A day, a month, a whole lifetime can pass, and then we realize that those blinding epiphanies we were expecting were never handed down to us. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” Maybe life is what happens while we are busy looking for signs.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Desdemona's Fanning

Sunday, March 16, 2008

“Desdemona’s fanning wasn’t a matter of moving the wrist back and forth; the agitation came from deep within her. It originated from a spot between her stomach and liver where she once told me the Holy Spirit resided. It issued from a place deeper than her own buried crime…. The force of Desdemona’s fanning could be felt all over the house; it swirled dustballs on the stairs; it stirred the window shades; and, of course, since it was winter, it made everyone shiver. After a while the entire house seemed to be hyperventilating.”

- Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, 2002

Of Split Infinitives and Dangling Modifiers


How to write - of all the skills I learned in school, that has the most relevance to my work right now. It’s a good thing I paid attention to my classes in English and Communication. “You are more articulate when you write than when you speak,” a friend recently observed. I must agree. I revel in stringing words together but bumble when they need to be orally expressed.

My fascination for writing goes way back in grade school when I learned about the ‘evils’ of splitting infinitives and ending my sentences with prepositions. That’s also when I discovered how to use, big, unpronounceable words for added flourish.

In college, I unlearned all of those things. Dangling modifiers are not acceptable but sentences containing split infinitives or ending with prepositions are. Going against those old precepts is a violation of convention, not of principles. Big words are often not only mispronounced but also misused. As the rule goes: "Don’t use a big word where a small one will do!" So why use discombobulate when you can use confuse, instead? Writing is about all clarity. It is perfectly acceptable to split infinitives or use smaller words to make our writing more intelligible.

Writing can be viewed as a metaphor for our lives. Why stick to old precepts if they only lead to more ambiguity?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

a lifetime with this woman

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Ah, two days on that magical island offered almost enough beauty and happiness to justify one's existence. And how close they'd come to making it work! It still took his breath away, imagining it, a lifetime with this woman. Even now he would've jumped at the chance, though the drawn, emaciated woman...was almost unrecognizable as the one true love of is life."

- Richard Russo, Empire Falls, 2001

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Touchstone of the Snob

Friday, March 14, 2008

For several times now, I was made to feel as if I have to apologize for my education. I don't have to feel guilty for what I have achieved acadmically, do I? A good education is not necessarily a touchstone of the snob. It should neither be the basis nor the object for condescension.


an illusion


It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded.


-W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Loss of Memory

Thursday, March 13, 2008

“Little by little, studying the infinite possibilities of a loss of memory, he realized that the day might come when things would be recognized by their inscriptions but that no one would remember their use. Then he was more explicit. The signs that he hung on the neck of the cow was an exemplary proof of the way in which the inhabitants of Macondo were prepared to fight against the loss of memory. This is the cow. She must be milked every morning so that she will produce milk, and the milk must be boiled in order to be mixed with coffee to make coffee and milk. Thus, they went on living in a reality that was slipping away, momentarily captured by words, but which could escape irremediably when they forget the values of the written letters.”

- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1967

Imbeciles?


Poor men. They never could quite crack the code as to why women behave in such an elliptical fashion.

Why is it that they cannot comprehend the subtleties, delicate shadings and multiple layers of an argument? Everything needs to be spelled out for them. It’s like before even starting a conversation, they need to be furnished with a comprehensive Definition of Terms and Memorandum of Understanding for them to grasp the point and say anything other than duh. Can they not understand that even a pause can be nuanced; that tangential questions are asked to elicit truthful answers; and that statements uttered in a not-so-matter-of-fact manner can be simultaneously cryptic and clear? If everything is in black or white, then what do we need rainbows for?

A man once claimed, “We are not insensitive; we are just imbeciles.” Sometimes, I can’t help but agree with him.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

seven days are more than enough

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others."

- Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

To Be Taken Care Of


I
am scheduled to have an operation a week from now. The surgeon asked me if there’s somebody to take care of me for a few days. I said, “There’s none. I live alone.” A look of incredulity registered on his face. At least, that’s better than pity. If it had been a movie, Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Alone Again (Naturally), would have started playing in the background: We may as well go home, as I did on my own. Alone again, naturally… There are actually some people willing but unable to take care of me. There's my mother (who lives in another town), my friends (who live in other countries) and my boyfriend (who lives on the other side of the world).

Living independently for most of my life, I wonder how it feels like to be taken care of. How does it feel like to have someone to depend on? Or to just sit still and let that other person decide for me, once in a while? Or to be weak because there is always someone beside me to be strong for me?

They say that we risk losing ourselves when we enter a relationship. Is it wrong then to want to be taken care of? Being independent does not mean that I no longer need anybody to watch over me. I do, once in a while.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

banish the ghosts with rum

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

“Sometimes at dusk, when you were trying to relax and not think about the general stagnation, the Garbage God would gather a handful of those choked-off morning hopes and dangle them somewhere just out of reach; they would hang in the breeze and make a sound like delicate glass bells, reminding you of something you never quite got a hold of, and never would. It was a maddening image, and the only way to whip it was to hang on until dusk and banish the ghosts with rum. Often it was easier not to wait, so the drinking would begin at noon. It didn’t help much, as I recall, except that sometimes it made the day go a little faster.”

- Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

waiting is inevitable but anticipation is optional


Patience is a virtue. Just when I’m dying to speed things up, I hear someone utter those words. I could have strangled the speaker! But I didn't because although the phrase has now become a cliché, patience is, indeed and will always be, a virtue.

For several days now, I had to wait in line to get a ride on the single remaining operational elevator in our building. That or take the stairs all the way to the 29th floor in a mini skirt and high heels. Like elevator rides there are things in life where waiting is necessary and inevitable. Though we do everything in our power to hasten the ticking of the clock, we just cannot. The slow passage of time, like a mighty force, we must respect.

If there are things where waiting is unavoidable, there are also things in life that are worth waiting and being patient for – for eleven months, or seven years, or even a whole lifetime. For these things, the anxious waiting stops and joyful anticipation begins. We no longer just wait, but we look forward to these things with serenity and gladness in our hearts.

In life, waiting may be inevitable but anticipation is optional.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Edward

Monday, March 10, 2008

“No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed upon him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character – perfect concord is the result.”

- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Friday, March 7, 2008

Retraining Our Thinking

Friday, March 7, 2008

How do we deal with neglect? How do we keep ourselves from spending too much time wallowing in melodrama? How do we prevent ourselves from being trapped in that deep emotional hole called loneliness or from plummeting into that dark void called depression?

Through retraining our thoughts.

Retraining our thinking is the crux of the cognitive behavioral approach. What is important, according to this approach, is for us not to return to the origins of our problems, but instead to correct our current "cognitive distortions." These cognitive distortions are errors in perception that lead us to the conclusion that life is hopeless or that everyday activity is unmanageable.

It is not the situation that makes us miserable but how we perceive it and what we tell ourselves about it. It is what goes on in our minds - our assumptions that that make us feel bad about ourselves - that we need to correct. Advocates of the cognitive behavioral approach suggest that we need to find an explanation for how we feel that “allows us to feel we are able, based on the understanding of the cause, to predict and control our emotions.” Though the explanation found may not be correct, by merely attributing our emotional turmoil to some logical cause and effect will make us feel that whatever we are going through is manageable.

We may be unhappy, but at least we know why we are unhappy. Sanity calms.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

nothing to write about

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I cannot think of anything to write about today. Bummer.

is garbage so private?


“I took the bag out to the garage and emptied it. The compressed bulk sat there like an iconic modern sculpture, massive, squat, mocking. I jabbed at it with the butt end of a rake and then spread the material over the concrete floor. I picked through it item by item, mass by shapeless mass, wondering why I felt guilty, a violator of privacy, uncovering intimate and perhaps shameful secrets…. But why did I feel like a household spy? Is garbage so private? Does it glow at the core of personal heat, with signs of one’s deepest nature, clues to secret yearnings, humiliating flaws? What habits, fetishes, addictions, inclinations? What solitary acts, behavioral ruts?”

- Don DeLillo, White Noise, 1984

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Generationally Challenged

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

He’s a Boomer; I’m a Buster. So what?

Enough said.

third beer


She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it’s there, because it can’t hurt, and because what difference does it make.

- Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon, 1977

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I am a slacker.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I am a slacker. I practically waste the first two hours of every working day doing nothing. By nothing, I mean “non-productive” things.

Every morning, I start my day in the office by checking my email, going through my daily planner, moderating blog comments while leafing through my notes, checking my friends’ sites and reading the day’s headlines. While taking gulps of coffee, I usually gaze quietly out the window unmindful of the flurry of activities around me. By the time I’m done with all these things, it’s already midmorning. And I haven’t done anything productive.

While doing all these non-productive things, some part of my brain is busy regurgitating ideas, organizing details and whirling the right words and tone of the business proposal or whatever writing assignment is due for that day.

So, am I wasting time or just letting my creative juices seep through me? It may sound like an excuse but by slacking, productive work is actually being done, though not overtly.

Wasted time for me is consolidation time – the time away from a problem where newly learned material is absorbed. Taking a respite is letting all ideas, concepts, and information be absorbed and digested in my mind. And when I finally start working, all the pieces have fallen into place, making it easier for me to take on the tasks for the day. With the consolidation done (around 10:30 in the morning), and bursting with energy, creative juices, and urgency, I start doing steady, hard-ass, concentrated work. Then I finish what I’m supposed to finish in less time it actually takes to do it. Quality-wise, the resulting output is not bad either. Done with my output for the day, I revert back to ‘slacking’.

When it takes us long to do something, does it mean that we’re working hard? I don’t think so. Isn’t it that the longer we work, the less efficient we are?

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." - Henry David Thoreau

a mutual taste for incongruity


"Whenever our union seemed incongruous even to me, I wondered if it wasn’t a mutual taste for incongruity – for assimilating a slightly untenable arrangement, a shared inclination for the sort of unlikeness that doesn’t, however, topple into absurdity – that accounted for our underlying harmony. It was still beguiling for people raised in such alien circumstances to discover in themselves interests so strikingly similar – and, of course, the differences continued to be pretty exhilarating too."

- Philip Roth, The Counterlife, 1986

Monday, March 3, 2008

lack of interest

Monday, March 3, 2008

He sat next to her at the bar and said, “Is this seat taken?” She said, “I’m not interested” and he said, “Neither am I.” Later, at the motel, it turned out they both had underestimated their lack of interest, but not by much.”

–Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle, 1963

Promiscuous Males and Chaste Females


Just as sex is considered dirty and sinful, males are thought of as promiscuous and females are expected and believed to be chaste. All are logically impossible. How can men, in general, practice promiscuity if most women are chaste? Who’d be their partners in sin?

Results of surveys conducted all over the world show that that men have generally twice the number of sexual partners than women. However, in a NY Times article, mathematicians argue that such conclusion cannot be correct for purely logical reasons. For heterosexual men to have more partners on average than heterosexual women is absolutely impossible. In a given population, the number of sexual partners men and women have must be approximately the same.

So why do men claim to having more sexual partners than women? Conformity to societal norms, stereotypes and conventions. Men have to spread their genes and prove their sexual prowess and machismo while women have to be unsullied and carnally uninformed and uninterested before the wedding night. Women are supposed to want sex less than men do. Women are expected to only have a few, if not one, partner so they are compelled to underestimate the number. Men, who are considered promiscuous by nature, are thought of and expected to have a lot of partners so they are pressured to exaggerate. Women having more than one sexual partner or engaging in pre-marital sex is an unforgivable sin. For men, it’s just an acceptable part of life.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

maps and mazes

Sunday, March 2, 2008

“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”

- Cormac McCarthy, The Road, 2006

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Geographically Challenged

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Though it’s difficult to be in a geographically challenged relationship, my boyfriend and I are somehow making it work.

Each day spent apart is an agony. The yearning to be with each other is so strong that sometimes it drowns out all other feelings and makes me just want to sleep and sleep until he comes home and be the one to wake me up. There is exquisite pain in longing for something so simple yet so unattainable, like being able to touch his hand or see him laugh. I finally found the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, but that life still cannot start because he is so far away. The thing we both want most in life glitters before our eyes, almost within our grasp but for now still beyond our reach.

Despite the distance, we manage to keep our bond strong. We take solace in hearing each other’s voices over the phone and exchanging emails and SMS that express how we feel. Being constantly in touch makes us stay involved in even the most mundane detail of each other’s day-to-day life, in spite of being physically apart. Slacking and sulking are not tolerated. We do not pretend that something’s okay if it’s not. Resentments and disappointments are never bottled up; they are always brought up, argued over and resolved. Nothing is taken for granted and even the briefest SMS is sent and received like a precious gift. Beneath the untiring exchange of I-love-you-so-much and I-miss-you is the unyielding resolve to keep the fire in our hearts burning.

Trusting each other completely and accepting that being apart now is necessary for us to be together for always make all the waiting more bearable. Above all else, our geographically challenged relationship works because it is built on nothing else but love.

 
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