mercredi, octobre 19, 2005

"What, what, am I to do with all this life?"

It was her habit to speak for both of us, and I rarely minded as it kept me from having to make any decisions of my own. David Sedaris on his mock-girlfriend Veronica in "C.O.G." from Naked
I had this friend. Actually, the past tense isn't quite appropriate. I have this friend with whom I haven't spoken in 3 years. The love is there it's just the communication that's lacking but that's a common grievance of anyone who's ever known me. This friend, who I don't speak to anymore, confessed in her heavily A/C'ed room in Block 2 at 10 Lok Wo Sha Lane back when it was uninhabited except for a bunch of obnoxious underaged expats, that she wouldn't mind an arranged marriage. In fact, once she got going, spurred by my empty eyes, she explained that she would prefer an arranged marriage. Who better than one's parents, lifegivers if you will, to decide one's life's partner," she mused. No pain, infinite or at least 'til death do us part gain.

I intuitively disagreed but spoke shy. The last thing anyone wants is a contrarian friend especially when continents from home and lonely. Add to that some extra pudge circling her waistline and a host of post-pubuscent acne staining her face and her outlook gained all the more weight. I posed a few questions on this crazy little thing we call love accidentally revealing the soft spot on the underside of my sharp tongue. She didn't waver. Her hope of partnership resolved in a boy muslim like herself, Detroit black to her South African brown whom she met on the internet. Her South Asian family didn't take to him, religous synchronicity notwithstanding. When she finally arrived in Detroit for a much pined after face to face he didn't take to her paunch or her pre-Proactiv complexion and they were soon done.

I thought about my friend. I can hear her speaking in her Pretorian accent wishing for a life where happiness was as dependable as it was contractual. I thought of her as I read David Sedaris on the R train to the Cadman Plaza Post Office where I stood in line 2o minutes for two Arthur Ashe stamps since I'd left my Marian Anderson's on my bookshelf at home.

Then I thought about another friend contemplating the simple kind of life. At a quarter-life multi-pronged fork in the road she was, as many of us are, confused but found a remedy in relinquishing her life to her partner and inevitably their offspring, and fternoon stories and a minivan--G wagon if her man made good--and soccer practice, and Jack & Jill meetings, and recitals and domestic shit like that. I understand. We both struggle to decide what we'll have for dinner much less what we'll have with our mortality.

I thought about myself and my history of begrudgingly kind of handing over my own life. How much I'd like to do the same right now and relinquish responsibility for my success and detritus. How much easier it would be to again let someone else choose dinner, run a conversation, walk a few steps ahead scouting out the rocky terrain. Life is strenous in both the invogorating and exhaustive sense. For many women, socially constructed tentative, it's the latter. What, what, are we to do with all this life but hand it over to a man then tug his firm grip a safe arms length behind in case he were to fall off course or if drift into a mud puddle, quicksand or white sand, even, when both of us know we are seeking Whistler's white powder. I consider this Peter Pan existence from time to time: childhood in powerless perpetuity. Being carted along in a 4 wheel drive stroller but in each imaginative episode I inevitably turn terrible toddler pulling at my waistbelt, yawning towards the sky and running away.

So it is only fair that I share Julie Dexter's extraterrestrial chanson, Never Will I Marry. It is what is is. It's not a love song or an anti-love song just a revisitation of freedom and responsibility from a woman's point of view.