Monday, September 22, 2003


"If life is the joke, then I truly feel like the punchline," he said to her.
"Do you really feel that way," she asked. "I mean, can you truly have that much pity for yourself?"
"No. I don't pity myself. I see it as more of a reality check. This is just how it is."
"Ha," she scoffed. "That is so pathetic." It was obvious that the sympathy he sought would not be found here."You sit there, thinking about all the crappy things that have happened to you in the past and you think revelling in them will make you more complex. More brooding. As if the drama you invite is more fodder for your soap operatic life."
Was she right, he wondered? Was it all self-imposed?
"Well," he said, "I will admit that I do take a certain amount of satisfaction from the drama." He picked up his beer and took a sip. He thought that drinking beer was what made him an adult. Not the fact that he was near-thirty. Nor the fact that society had already determined and labeled him as an adult. But because he was drinking beer. "But a great deal of it, is out of my hands."
"What do you mean," she said.
"The economy. My dismal social life. I can't control them. Those things are out of hands."
" is it not in your hands?"
"How could you say that?"
"Look, man. I'm not saying that you're responsible for all those things happening. I mean, you can't do anything about life and death. Yes, that's truly out of our control. But honestly, the social life? The economy? Please. Next you'll tell me life is an anti-Semetic conspiracy to keep you down....."
"Our social lives are our own creation. Our own doing. As far as that goes; whatever you put into it is what you get out of it."
"No way," he said to her. He wasn't pleased with her response because it was contrary to everything he believed in. "We cannot i nfluence the minds of others. If this random girl thinks one way, then I can't change her mind, ya' know? These things...these relationships are two-way streets. It's a cooperative. Why should I put so much effort into something that is potentially uncontrollable? Shouldn't it just happen like fate?"
"Fate? Fate?!? Ha ha ha. Not even Meg Ryan is doing romantic comedies anymore."
"A damn shame."
"Look, what I'm saying is that this world is more or less run by detached socially-inept, commitment-phobic people...."
"And I thought I was being pessimistic."
"'re getting me all wrong. I'm not being pessimistic. I'm a romantic. I believe in romance. But I'm also just saying we need to change the mold. We need to encourage commitment. We need to push each other to go out, talk to new people, walk up to a guy....or in your case, a girl....and just introduce yourself." She spoke frantically because she did not want to lose her train of thought. And she desperately needed to hear it herself.
"Those are just words," he challenged. "If all those things that you propose were so easy....ok, take me, for example--I'm not a bad date..."
"A very good date, in fact."
"Thank, why is it that every time I walk away from one, I feel like I am. Like it was my fault that we had a bad time. Like I'm the jerk for having a sense of humor that she doesn't get."
"Maybe it was your fault. Maybe you imposed so much pressure on yourself beforehand, that you're not even acting like yourself."
"But shouldn't the other person....the chemistry you feel across the table, encourage you to be yourself. If it's right, then shouldn't you just feel right?"
"Hmmmm. Maybe. How did we veer off on focusing on social lives? What about the economy?"
"Please. Money has a way of working itself out. We usually make due. Romance is the most complex issue in our lives and also the one that takes up the most mental space. When we are in a relationship, we are at our most confident. With a significant other, the rest falls into place."
"Isn't there a danger in that," she asked. "Aren't you relying on factors outside of yourself? Isn't there a problem with your self-confidence if you need a girlfriend to be succesful?"
"No. We don't exist to be alone. We are one of a pair. That, to me, is not a problem. That is the solution."
"So, speaking of solutions; how do you think you could make the situation better? How will you improve the self-proclaimed abysmal state of romance?"
"God, I have no idea. I truly don't. You know, I just had a date recently and I walked away from it thinking, I will never be good at this. I will never get it right. I had this feeling of forever. That it will honestly take me, for as long as time exists, to find the right one."
"Geez, that's heavy."
"Yeah, it is. But as I walked away, I saw all these people in the street, walking alone, who I'm certain felt that same way at some didn't make me feel any better really but still, I didn't feel universally alone."
"Misery loves company."
"Yeah. So, am I being dramatic? Probably. Will I always have a hard time with all this? I'd like to think not. In my essence, I'm hopeful."
"Well, right on. Cheers."
They clinked their glasses. He smirked and she took satisfaction in that she was able to lighten the mood.
"Believe me, I would give anything to end the cycle," he said. He finished his beer and placed the empty mug on the table. Reaching into his pocket for his share of the bill, he turned to her and said, "it amazes me how much we think about love. And the more we do think about it, it seems the less we know about it. The more we seek it out, the more it alludes us."
"Well, Rainer Maria Rilke said..."
"Ha ha. Well, she said "For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks. So maybe we're not up to the challenge yet? Maybe you and I are not capable of the most difficult task?"
"That could be true but we cannot ignore the fact that Def Leppard also said that love bites."


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