Saturday, October 27, 2007

Anatomy of Love

I haven't been blogging lately. Mostly because the things that I'm thinking are too weighty for a blog. Blog is such a stupid word; it annoys me. I know it means "weblog," but isn't that just an excuse for walking around with your pants down in public?

When I was younger, I was a Southern California hippie. The only problem was that before I was a hippie, I was a Roman Catholic. I was taught from an early age to believe in God, only I couldn't understand Him. To me, He just seemed like a nasty, vengeful bastard who lived in the sky. From a very early age, I understood that if a person wanted to suck up to someone that nasty, they were going to have to eat a heck of a lot of crow. So I elected not to.

But years later, some bearded guy with alfalfa sprouts in his beard had a talk with me. He said, "there is a God, only God is love." Being a mathematical nincompoop, I took that to be commutative. I figured if God is Love, then Love is God. Therefore, love was all powerful.

But what the fuck is it? This "love" thing anyway? The first people I can remember loving were my parents. My mother, blond and soft, was easy. Even though years later, her eyes would get slitty and her mouth so pinched she looked like a mailbox from the 1950's, she still felt relatively safe and stable. My Dad was harder. I remember him sitting at our kitchen table, really a card table with a red top and black legs, smoking Kent cigarettes and playing solitaire. If I got up early enough, he would teach me card games: solitaire, War, gin rummy. Kid games easy to understand. He wore a black, grey and white checked shirt, though not lame; black was the dominant color, just enough white and grey to bring out his hair. He blew smoke rings and tried to teach me how. I never learned, though I remember something about curling your tongue. By the time I was 9, I was scavenging his butts and trying to figure it out for myself.

I remember a time when my Dad laughed, had patience and time for children, but bye and bye something happened and it vanished. My love for my mom though it wavered, never left. She always felt safe to me. I don't know when it happened, but somewhere along the line my father's physicality started to put me off. His scent, the angular yet subtly sharp shape of him. There came a time when I didn't want to be in his lap anymore. There came a time he got complicated and scary.

Contrary to what the hippie with sprouts in his beard told me, love never felt like a universal thing. Not in a meaningful way. Love, as I grew older, was clearly a template laid down by my experiences as a small child. I don't know if it's that way for everyone. I only know it was that way for me.

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