Guest Blog - Love, Ineluctably (by Brian David Vass)
February 14, 2008 16:08
(The following is being posted according to Ken's generous offer. The posting of a submission doesn't imply that Ken or the editors of this site necessarily agree with any or all of it. Thanks, -Eds)
by Brian David Vass
I fell in love with a girl on Youtube today. I'm glad it happened because I know what it is like now, love at first sight. Tragic, shocking, as unexpected as first breath. Though I'll never be able to legitimize my ardor, I'm happy for it, and expressibly more sad.
In the video, the girl I fell in love with appears for eight seconds. I cannot find her anywhere else on the internet. She appears for eight seconds and I've been watching those eight seconds for four hours. In between times I've been pacing, pacing for eleven hours. It has been fifteen hours since I watched the video.
So here is what I'm looking at: a surge of hijacking emotion, all pursuits cremated by its near-parasitic brawn, and a problem. The problem, of course, is that, as a cultured human, in touch with irony and reflexiveness and even the joys of seafood, the message I routinely receive, rendered uncharacteristically specifically, is: you're not allowed to fall in love with a girl who appears for eight seconds in a video on Youtube. The problem, too, is that, in keeping with the frail canon of healthy behavior I've pseudo-groundlessly extracted from a plenum of medianly convergent norms, you're not allowed to declare that you are in love with anyone until at least a week or so after meeting the person you're supposedly in love with. The other problem is that I am male.
I imagine this would be more fun if I was a girl. If I was a girl I might call up a friend or a sister or even my mom, whom, as a male, I don't relate to as strongly as I see my sister do, and we could talk about the video. I could direct my girlfriends to the exact moments in the video when the man, the one who surely must be my direct counterpart, shows up. I could, were I a girl, lament the cruelty of seeing this heartbreaker in anonymity, because it must mean more than anything that I'll never know him in any sense antonymic to anonymous. My girlfriends might then comfort me, tell me how uncannily good looking and sexy I am, and remind me of all the pretty boys I've charmed since the commencement of our mutual history. Perhaps a girlfriend would offer to come over and we'd drink martinis and do each other's make up or watch Sex and the City until we fell asleep on the couch, until our boyfriends' text-messaged us, until we shared inside jokes about how stupid our boyfriends can be, until we forgot those eight seconds of video footage and the fifteen tortured hours that followed them.
Hours spent looking at every human face and realizing, over and over again, that these faces are not the face of that girl. I'll tell you another problem with this feeling of falling in love, this anguish of which there is no silver lining, this most often rhapsodized, least often mutualized scape of human experience. It's harrowing in its exclusivity. Fifteen hours ago I looked at everyone's face as if it were just the next nice face. I didn't mind seeing people's faces because they were all nice, and there was always another face that potentially held the same amount of wonderfulness as the last one. Now I look at faces and I expect to see her face. I even look at men's faces, looking for her face, and I can't find it. The entire human race, save one signally breathtaking avatar, has become a let down because of eight seconds. And it's only been fifteen hours since those eight seconds bleated, lunatic and stentorian, on my evidently tacky radar. So I'm really not, if unofficial sanctions of normative comportment retain proverbial water, allowed to say anything so touchingly conclusive. At least not yet.
This experience is a lot like falling in love with the girl in, not of, your dreams.
Have you ever awakened after chasing the most coequal, laterally complementing, vertically inspiring person, a person evincing capricious otherness, graphically breaching the confines of your imagination, convincing you of her realness and so inducing you to feel privileged to have met her even as you feel empty with the knowledge of her illusivity and hopeful of her status as karmic foreshadowing? Is this not a category of experience which defies a binary adjectival consignment? Is it not one of the earliest available adventures of adolescence which utterly defies 'good or 'bad', which leaves the (wo)man-child uncomfortable, pregnant with the prognostic inference that sentience paired with viability will never conform to an elementarily assimilable gamut, will ever necessitate compromise or expansion, is a gland secreting pluralistic units for non-discriminative circulation of more-than-two-sided effect? It fractures and polarizes the developing self, arms the soul for a more advanced wholeness, begs for healing.
If only you could fall in love with me, alongside me, I mean, and feel this grating distress, this muddy desolation, perhaps we might fall again in love with the relative completeness of who we were, seen anew in one, an other, and wait once more for this radical derailment by whatever savage or savagely beautiful derailleur. Maybe next time we'll need not reclaim the anti-risky moor of a self out of love. Maybe next time a life will be borne, fifty years of the cutest devotion provoked by our raw, unmellowed captivation. Maybe this time too.
Brian David, 07