Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dylan and I were talking about how we should just sit in Starbucks and invite people to come talk with us about anything. We started talking about the kinds of people we'd meet, what they'd be like, etc.

And then we both realized that we set ourselves up for failure. WE are the people who create the jails that imprison, the movies that depict love as some sort of magical voodoo witch doctor dream, the advertisements that force us to consume.

We take a situation, and a person, and we write a mental script. We imagine the setting, how we're going to feel, what we're going to say, how the other person is going to respond, how the other person is going to feel. And then, little by little, we find that the other person doesn't quite line up with the working script we've created. In some instances, the person fits their role quite nicely. But usually, there's some level of discrepancy. Sometimes it's small, other times it's enormous. This discrepancy causes things like resentment, anger, annoyance, frustration, despair. No one wins in this situation unless both people have a similar script, and write the same roles, and speak the correct lines. Clearly, this is an impossible situation.

I think it's just human tendency to anticipate events. It would be ridiculous to think that one can stop writing scripts altogether, but maybe it's possible to write them a little more loosely. Or to not feel betrayed when someone strays from the ideal. I don't know.

It's just strange to me, because your perception can influence anything. You see a boy with tattoos sitting across from you in class, and you start writing. You start imagining his life, his dreams, his hobbies. You start thinking about what would be said in a conversation between the two of you. You romanticize this being, not knowing a single thing about him, and start thinking that he fits into this ideal role. You talk to a drunk stranger on the street, and you romanticize the conversation. You read meaning where there maybe wasn't. You see this person injected into your life somewhere, being crazy, saying beautiful things. And then you start building them up. Some of us may do this more than others, but I think it happens to all of us in varying degrees.

When I think about relationships this way, I feel sick. But then I consider what it would be like if there were no expectations or ideals. It's not clear to me which is better. At the same time, the ability to romanticize events is what makes the world beautiful. When a photographer takes a photo, many things are manipulated. Photographs rarely look like what someone saw with their own two eyes. Rather, it was an artistic representation of reality. A substitute. But if we looked a photo and simply said "this is a substitute for what really happened, this is not exactly how the world looked at this moment," there's not really any emotion or beauty to be found. There's no guesswork.

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is this: how much of what we feel and experience is reality and how much is perception? There are real, concrete events. Take, for instance, the memory I have of Jared and I riding a dolphin watch boat. Dolphins surfaced, families took photographs together, the sun was setting, and a boy was constantly talking to the captain through the small window. This is what really happened. Then we get into my head. I remember how beautiful the sky was, how warm and exciting it felt to be next to Jared in the middle of the ocean, how amusing I found the small boy, how I was imagining the rest of our night together. What does he remember? Maybe some things are the same. But maybe he remembers feeling tired, or the boy being really annoying, or being worried that the boat was going to sink. Two entirely different people. Two different attitudes. Two separate memories.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at all of this. Part of me wants to throw my hands in the air and say "IT'S ALL FAKE, WHO THE FUCK CARES ANYMORE, THERE'S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!" and part of me says "it's so heartbreaking to think that the love and warmth I felt was not shared, that what I thought was beautiful may not have been beautiful to someone else."

So I don't know. I don't know anything. Nothing.

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