Monday, November 24, 2008

go look at your eyes, they're full of moon

"Whenever the dog and I see each other we both stop where we are. We regard each other with a mixture of sadness and suspicion, and then we feign indifference. We walk past each other safely; we have an understanding. It’s very sad, but you’ll have to admit that it is an understanding. We had made many attempts at contact, and we had failed... And what has been the result: the dog and I have attained a compromise, more of a bargain, really. We neither love nor hurt because we do not try to reach each other. And, was trying to feed the dog an act of love? And, perhaps, was the dogs trying to bite me not an act of love? If we can so misunderstand, then why have we bothered to invent the word love in the first place?"
-Edward Albee, The Zoo Story

I had a nice little chat with Prof. DeBorde on friday afternoon. We talked a little bit about my performance of a scene from this play for Oral Interpretation class, which she had recommended to me heartily, saying "The Zoo Story! Steve, you should do it, you are sooo Edward Albee." Now, I had never read The Zoo Story before, but after finishing it I got all pensive, wondering why in the world she felt this was me. It's a bizzare play... very bizarre. I mean, it's genuis, I love it, but, it's twisted. Part of the reason I love Mrs. DeBorde is because she obviously really cares about her students. She takes the time to pay attention to you, and truly desires to know you as a person. And she's good at doing that. I think I can safely say she's my favorite teacher ever. Well anyway, we were chatting about this and that and she said that she thinks I should do some acting. WHAT? This class was really hard for me, because I'm not good with getting up in front of people... especially if I have to perform something. I was so nervous every time. But she said that she thought I had some natural ability to communicate, and that there was "rawness" in how I did things, which was effective. And some of my classmates seemed to think those silly performances were good too. It's amazing how different our own perceptions of ourselves can be from other peoples'. It's refreshing that it's that way, actually; encouraging, maybe. But I probably still won't be taking up acting any time soon... unless it's like what's on Mitch Hedberg's acting resume: "If I play pool, and I make a shot, I act like I'm not surprised."

At any rate. I've been thinking about The Zoo Story ever since I first read it a few weeks ago, particularly the above quote, and how complicated love can be. I think that's a good thing, love's complexities are beautiful... sometimes... right? I don't know. There's a paradox in my thinking here... because I also adore Neruda's picture of love:

I love you straightforwardly, without complexitites or pride
And so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where I does not exist, nor you
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand
so close that when you close your eyes I fall asleep

So I don't know. I think talking intelligently about love is an impossibly. It's too big a concept. Not that we don't try - I've had countless conversations with Ammi on the subject, and we're always trying to put our finger on something that just refuses to be pinned down. We end up speaking in for instances; real-life examples meant to be some kind of reasoning (which is actually quite odd considering our individual track records). These complexities seem to be popping up everywhere. From talking about it with friends to reading it in their blogs, I've noticed there's a great deal of disillusionment going around. Ammi's latest post talks about simplicity in this realm: that love either is, or isn't. Perhaps that's the case, but I'm thinking of Jerry and the dog, and their feigned indifference, and their miscommunication, and the fallibility of the word love, its smallness, and I'm thinking that maybe it's not always so clear, that people can't be so simplified. But perhaps I refuse to believe that it's that simple because of my own situation... yeah, that's a possibility. Lauri wrote about a suspicion, or rather, a disbelief in true love, to which I responded in polite disagreement, and quoted Joni Mitchell. Janice stopped believing in it, but has since rediscovered it.

I don't know, I don't know. It's complicated. It's simple. It hurts. It heals. I don't know.

I did say talking intelligently about love is an impossibility right?

Jerry and the dog never realize each others' love. They feigned indifference too long. Maybe the moral of the story is to be open, maybe that alleviates some of the complexity... maybe.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, I just roll it up a little.


katie said...

whew, being open is so hard sometimes. I mean, it's usually liberating, even if it's painful. I've been wondering-agonizing-debating if I should tell him one day. Before we leave for break and don't see each other. Just be like, "Hey, you know what? I love you. Merry Christmas." But I can't tell if that's too much openness :) I feel bad for you boys who have all the pressure of "asking out." Whew. So vulnerable.

RLS said...

excellent entry, steve. I loved this. especially your last line. I actually sat here quiet for awhile & thought it over. (what more can a writer ask for, really?) :)

I know that we are always dissecting & trying to find epiphanies where perhaps there are none - but in the end, I think that you & I take comfort in the idea that we really cannot solve much; that love is really SO much BIGGER than the boxes we wrap it in, & there's great warmth in the fact that Love won't let us limit.

maybe it'll never be black & white, or even grey - maybe we should start mixing colors together instead..