2004 April 4


Dammit, I want to be married.

Of all the sappy shit to have me thinking this way, I just watched the last half of Jerry Maguire. Tom Cruise, fer chuck's sake. But really, it was just re-stirring a pot full of thoughts brought up by a rewatching of High Fidelity a couple months ago at Jon and Amy's.

(Aside, why is it that I've got movies driving my need to re-assess my life? I read a lot more than I watch movies, seriously. But the books I read rarely seem to give me the same kick. Is preachiness better executed in movies, or am I simply more willing to let it get to me in that context? I am rather more likely to throw a sappy book across the room than to actually finish it.)

Anyway, back to the line that is resonating for me right now:

I can see now I never really committed to Laura. I always had one foot out the door, and that prevented me from doing a lot of things, like thinking about my future and... I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that's suicide. By tiny, tiny increments.

That spoke to me. Not so much as a shockingly new thing, because I'd really tried to commit to my last girlfriend, only to be turned down in the end because she wasn't ready to go there, or possibly because I was too hopelessly clumsy about it. Whatever.

And then I spent the last year and a half getting over that, and Nick Hornby and John Cusack and the rest of the army required to make a major motion picture come along and remind me that not committing to someone is suicide. By tiny, tiny increments.

I'm ready to commit. Goddamn it, where's my Laura? She's got to be around here someplace.

The trick in writing one of these pieces about how life is failing to be perfect, is to not sound all whiny about it. My life is pretty good right now. I've got a good job and good friends and I'm living in a place that I like. I'm meeting new people all the time. For the first time in a long time, I actually know several single women who I find interesting and attractive. (To date, this has meant mostly more opportunities to get nowhere, but it is very much better than not knowing any single women at all. Believe me. This way, there is hope.)

It's just kind of empty at the middle without a real partner. Without someone to go to bed with and wake up with and share my good fortune with and talk to me about her problems. Seriously. I want there to be someone who turns to me first when she needs to vent about shit. There is hardly anything that makes me feel more like a worthwhile human being than that.

Basically, I'm lonely.

It's not that I don't have great friends. In fact, I've got more friends around here than I really have time to keep up with. But it's not the same. I'm really too private a person to talk about really intimate things unless I feel really really at ease -- and I rarely do with more than one other person in the room. Or at the table, anyway. It's not even that I'm unwilling to talk about myself -- witness this here frustrated rant declaimed on the public Internet That Never Forgets -- but that I hardly ever feel comfortable volunteering things. It always seems unlikely that other people actually want to know my crap.

(You lot reading this -- here and now in this quiet dark room, my gut is willing to believe that you wouldn't be here at all if you weren't interested. And I can pretend I'm talking to only one of you at a time, which I kind of am in the sense that none of you can interrupt me until I'm good and ready to shut up.)

What was I on about? I've lost control of my train of thought.

I woke up one morning last week with the not-committing=suicide-by-degrees line in my head, along with what seemed like an inspiration I haven't figured out how to act on, though. I don't know where it came from -- it had been a couple months since I'd seem the movie, like I said. Just one of those things. The thought was something like this: I want to commit to a lover. I can't, owing to not having one. But if holding back from commitment is my problem, and I have always been overly cautious of it, who says what I commit to has to be a lover? I should find a cause or a charity to join.

There is a line I've seen attributed to Goethe -- I don't know where it's from, and would be curious to read it if anyone can tell me -- but it's this:

Talent develops in quiet places;
character, in the full current of human life.

I've always been better at talent than character. A cause would probably be good for me. I haven't made any headway at figuring out how to choose one, though. It totally seems like approaching the thing from the wrong end of the stick.

And in any case, obviously this only fixes one of my problems -- it won't actually do anything for my shortage of intimacy. I've still got to go find that lover, because she's not going to come to me

I need to get better at selling myself. (No, not for money. Geez. In the metaphorical sense.) I've never been good at selling anything, least of all me. I'm trying to get better, but this is a fight where I'm struggling uphill against my natural temperament.

I don't know where to end this, so I'll just stop here.


I wish I could offer you more than my sympathies on your situation. Anything else I can think of to say would sound trite or patronizing.

As for the quote, a quick search found a reference at Wikipedia here: http://quote.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Wolfgang_von_Goethe

Posted by: Michael A. Burstein on April 4, 2004 06:21 PM

    You lot reading this -- here and now in this quiet dark room, my gut is willing to believe that you wouldn't be here at all if you weren't interested.

And this is the essence of what attracts me about blogs and blogging -- not the performance-art rants, but the fact that people themselves interest me, especially my friends.

Posted by: Molly on April 5, 2004 12:29 AM
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