Monday, May 18, 2009

something new

i have a new 25 Things post almost ready to go but i'm going to delay it to gaze at my navel a little bit.

in 2nd grade i had a massive crush on ivan e., a blond egyptian kid with long surfer hair whose father was a professor at USC.
in 3rd grade i crushed out on stephen t., another teutonic youth, who shared my table and encouraged me to sneak books under the table during our math lesson.
in 6th grade, i returned to my crush on ivan e., who was then a minor god at our school.
in 7th, 8th and 9th grade, bobby b. became my obsession.
in high school, my crushes were several: john m. (the quarterback), dana j. (the tennis star), as well as andrew the punk rocker, whose parents taught at UCLA (and who once asked me out but i totally thought he was joking.)

i didn't care they didn't know about me - weird looking, chubby and with the kind of eyebrows only a russian dictator would love. it was enough that they simply walked the playgrounds or the quad. i was glad to peer at them from behind a book in the library, from behind a shelf, from under a bleacher or perhaps through a crack in our shared school counselor's door.

ah, shadowy, nerdy, and unrequited love. the journals from that period still make me cringe.

you'd think i would have outgrown this, but then, you'd be dead wrong. in grad school, my virginal infatuations were longer lived and became a team endeavor. i enlisted spies of my own who kept me apprised of teaching schedules, office hours, gym visits as well as important sartorial changes. (if you haven't fallen into limerance with a creamy-skinned white guy in a kilt then you haven't lived, my friends.) these journal entries are, in the rereading, comic and farcical.

what ties all these objects of my affection, from elementary to grad school, together is the process by which i fell for them and then began to hate them.

Stage 1: The Thunderbolt. It usually happened at the beginning of the semester, during roll call or picking squads for PE. Or the first day of new TA orientation or perhaps while impatiently showing him how to use the copier and you happen to glance up. That first choking gasp. The dazed stare. The flush at first sight of The Beloved. It's devastating, isn't it? I have made elaborate mental meals of reliving the first moments of charged non-contact.

(And before you all start thinking I'm some delusional psychopath, I knew this was wholly one-sided. It was delicious anyway.)

Stage 2: The Thread. In Jane Eyre, which I love, Rochester says to Jane they are connected by a string, one that binds them across distance, mental illness, locked up wives and Britain's social crevasses. Such was my feeling. In this stage, I'd connect everything about them to me, until our 'relationship' map resembled a nutty god's-eye. 'Ivan likes OP shorts! Me, too!' 'Bobby is in my creative writing class! We're perfect!' (Though he wasn't very good at all.) 'Knightley reads Neruda! See??!!'

The Thread was enduring and, depending on the enabling antics of friends, could last for at least a year or two. But one can't really sustain that kind of one-sided intensity without some strain.

Stage 3: Threats. Oh, not verbal threats from me to my Object of Affection, but external threats to the infatuation I had built up. In other words, Reality. Friends, tired of being on stakeout, would slowly begin to sabotage the fantasy. One friend put it to me bluntly: "He is a tool. An Irish sweater-wearing tool who fakes a Scottish accent. You are being ridiculous." Or, as a result of friends' machinations, one realizes their Beloved can only clap on the 1-3 instead of the 2-4. Such knowledge is a killer.

(Of course, the rumor that the Beloved already has an out of state girlfriend as well as a girlfriend in another department is just another rotten cherry on my sundae of disappointment.)

Stage 4: Disdain. Where once I listed their virtues I now canvassed every one of their shortcomings. 'He's not in AP English.' 'His Spanish pronunciation is so gringo.' 'He has no rhythm.' 'Gymnastics is stupid.' 'He's sort of a paranoid freak, isn't he?' 'Only retirees wear cable knit sweaters!' Love, or limerance, is on the wane. Where once my Beloved walked with a golden nimbus of divinity, now he is a duffer who won't dare to eat a peach and wears his trouser bottoms rolled.

...

so in this richter scale of infatuation, where am i with NewGuy? am i in the Thunderbolt stage? am i frantically weaving threads to tie us to one another, no matter how fragile? or is the golden halo already growing dim?

i don't know. it's an odd feeling, being requited.

if desire is lack, then what is it when you already feel full?

5 comments:

No Nonsense said...

love love love this post!

You see i believe that even if you are in a 15 year marriage you go through all these phases at one point or another. This cycle is natural (yours more poetic not psychopathic). Life isn't running through a field of daisies everyday, nor are relationships.

I remember when my husband (then one of the guys I was dating) presented his position to me. He said "I can see us 30 years from now sitting here, still watching the waves" I thought about it and it wasn't a bad image, yes I could see too. So through all his idiosyncrasies and shit he does to piss me the frak off, I look forward to that 30 year marker. Just as through all the aggravation of law school that JD is the objective right?

So try this imagery, where do you see him fitting in your life in say 20 years. Can't see it? Mmmmm.

ding said...

if i start looking into the future, then i'm not being present. not that i'm going to lie and say that i haven't done this. but i pull myself back.

let's just get through going to the movies tomorrow night.

you know?

but yours is a lovely story, too.

Trope said...

Good post, ding!

This is a pretty standard answer, but when you already feel full what you get is satisfaction.

I must take the opposite stance from No Nonsense; I had the same kind of future discussion with a friend of mine about my now-spouse, and she told me she thought we were good for each other, and I said, "Nah, I just can't see it working out." Turns out it did, ten years worth, because I stretched and grew a little.

You win over both me and NN--it's best to stay in the present, prob'ly. Can't wait to hear more about NewGuy.

ding said...

It's a sad state of affairs when feeling satisfied draws a big question mark.

Like that old Benny Hill bit with the director and the dim actress:
'What is this thing called, love?'
'No, no. The line is what is this thing called love?'
'That's what I said. What is this thing called, love?'

And on.

Liza said...

Benny Hill, huh?

What about desire as hunger, rather than lack? I like that metaphor more because you can be sated, and then be hungry again--it's never final, and it's all about being alive and in your body and im the moment. Also, it anticipates pleasure ;)