Sunday, 21 August 2011

Companion Cube

‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.’

Today I have watched 1 episode of Lost. Once you a cut a swathe through the heaps of plot contrivances, every character is motivated by, or at least present as a result of, love. I also watched 2 episodes of Frasier, where the pursuit and maintenance of love is paramount. I read 50 pages of The Scorch Trials, by James Dashner, where the protagonist quests to regain his soul mate (as well as find the cure to a futuristic debilitating disease that will turn the world’s population into zombies... but that isn’t relevant to my point). I played a while on Portal 2, where you’re encouraged to love an inanimate metal cube.

Please, don’t envy my hedonist jet set lifestyle.

As a fat teenager at an all-boys school, love only seemed possible within these fictional realms. My parents were long-divorced. My peers far more interested in amassing Pokemon cards than finding their life partner. I knew that somewhere in the future I would lose interest in catching ‘em all and just focus on catching one.

I’m 24, and I’ve had 2 girlfriends. I cared for both of them, but neither relationship lasted long enough for me to even think about love.

‘If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.’

I believe I have loved. An epic poem for the ages could be composed about my teenage passion for biscuits. There is no famous literature written about visiting a person’s Facebook profile twenty times a day because it’s the closest thing to being near them. About staring at your phone in sheer desperation for a text to arrive. About laying siege to a person’s home by camping outside the walls until they have no choice but to come out and face you.

Actually, that last one’s sort of The Iliad, so there has been an epic poem written about it. And it’s kind of creepy.

I have never had love reciprocated. I assume it’s much the same as what I have felt, but without the feeling that your heart might explode at any moment/the police will knock on the door to arrest you for harassment. Does this make it less significant? I have felt love, but not had love. So am I just a clanging cymbal? Am I nothing?

‘If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.’

What used to feel as irrelevant as all those pop-culture references in my opening paragraph will soon be has now taken on a startling immediacy. Those friends that refused to trade their shiny Raichu for my shiny Mewtwo are now married, living together, having kids. I’m happy for them. I’m not even necessarily jealous of them. I’m fearful of becoming irrelevant to them. I already don’t have many friends. Sooner or later, as the debilitating love disease claims each of them, I will be forgotten to them.

Of course, this is all built upon the sand foundations of my pessimism. Maybe soon it’ll be me boarding a plane to chase love and crashing on a tropical island full of contrivances. Maybe it’ll be me falling for an inanimate objects (I hear blow up dolls are very realistic these days). Maybe it’ll be me that grows out of the naive teenage idea that love will make everything alright.

As Strapping Young Lad puts it:

LOVE: the paradox of needing

Now there’s a distinct counterpoint to the Bible.

Quotes taken from Corinthians 13:1-3 and Strapping Young Lad – Love?

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