Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What is a man?

I'm finding myself asking the question: "What makes a man?"

Is it the money or keys in his pocket? The people that can validate his existence? The woman in his bed, the god that he loves, the family that he's started, the house he pays for, the school he attends?

His work? His hobbies, his clothes, his friends, his past, his future?

Man is not any of these things, but all of them at the same time. We are our decisions and we are what we are right now. I heard a seemingly redundant, yet poignant quote recently,

"Who we are now, is who we are" -

Which makes perfect sense and no sense at the same time. We are transient beings, incapable of visiting the seconds that have just ticked by, and at the mercy of those yet to come. We are temporary and we are conditional. The multi-geared machine working within us chugs and churns daily as our lungs expand autonomously keeping the ball afloat, and keeping us moving towards... what?

What are we moving towards and where are we going? Time is not a destination, for most of us it is a guaranteed happening, but if we're waiting for a certain time to elapse, I'm thinking we're going to miss the most important stuff along the way.

Who we are now, is who we are.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I've been lucky enough to share parts of my life (and of theirs) with some amazing people. In the past 10 years (oh my God) I've dated three very different, but all equally amazing girls, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to share parts of their lives. Though it seems each one of the relationships ended poorly, the only regrets I have are in the way I treated each of them.

I don't know what I've done to have been so blessed with relationships. I just sincerely hope that I'm not a permanent dark spot in each of their memories. I'd rather not be a darker filter through which they view their memories.

Maybe I'll write each of them a letter telling them how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to date them, thank them for their time and wish them the best. Though, that might POSSIBLY be construed as a weird, half-drunken apology for my misconduct, and we can't go around apologizing to people. Seriously though, I'm a lucky man to have experienced love, given and received it back, shared tears and hopes and made transparent plans which ultimately fell through.

There's an excellent song by The Postal Service called "Nothing Better" which surmises my relationship with Sarah perfectly. The irony is that long before I ever identified with the song, while I was still making fun of the band, Sarah would turn it up and sing loudly with the female vocal line (another point of irony: I came to find out the girl singer is Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, a band I've recently come to love) and for months I heard the song over and over and over. Now, I'm not going to assume that I know exactly what Ben Gibbard means through the lyrics, but I can take a likely guess, and give him all of the credit for brilliantly capturing the idiocy of the character in the song. Also, I must thank him for letting me know that I'm not the only idiot on earth.

The song begins with a dramatic plea for a lover's return:

"Will someone please call a surgeon
Who can crack my ribs and repair this broken heart
That you're deserting for better company?
I can't accept that it's over..."

I'm assuming (hoping) that the dramatic rhetoric is purposeful in that it paints the portrait of a desperate guy who doesn't really mean what he's saying, and doesn't really know what he wants.

" Tell me am i right to think that there could be nothing better
Than making you my bride and slowly growing old together"

Marriage proposals are serious business and I'm guessing the character doesn't really mean what he's saying, he's just trying to desperately to hang on to the girl who has decided to move forward without him.

The voice of reason, coming from the girl character though, is what gets me. When she comes in with:

"I feel must interject here you're getting carried away feeling sorry for yourself
With these revisions and gaps in history
So let me help you remember.
I've made charts and graphs that should finally make it clear.
I've prepared a lecture on why i have to leave"

She's telling him that he's not seeing the picture in it's entirety. He's creating for himself the history between them, and obviously ignoring the problems that caused them to drift apart.

Again he pleads:

"Tell me am i right to think that there could be nothing better
Than making you my bride and slowly growing old together"

But this time, she answers, almost interrupts him (in the song it's a beautiful overlapping verse) with:

"Don't you feed me lines about some idealistic future
Your heart won't heal right if you keep tearing out the sutures"

Her first line seems angry and bitter, and from personal experience I'm guessing that she's been through this before, likely with him. She knows that he promises her things and for some reason can't deliver.

The second line though, is like a final piece of advice encompassing not only their previous relationship, but a benediction for his future. She's leaving, and there's no changing that, but she offers her last bit of thought perhaps as a reflection on the reason they broke up, or just truly as a forewarning of entering another relationship before he's healed from this.

His last attempt:

"I admit that i have made mistakes and i swear
I'll never wrong you again

Is met with resistance and finality:

"You've got a lure i can't deny,
But you've had your chance so say goodbye
Say goodbye"

I guess that was a pretty cheesy thing; to extrapolate meaning from a contemporary song as though it's in the canon of classics, but for some reason the song resonated with me.

I just know that's how I was with Sarah, I wanted her wholly and purely but could not figure myself out enough to ever deserve her. She realized it, and rightfully moved on.

She always loved that song.