Saying It Well...

Khrystine's favorite quotes

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."— Mark Twain

Modern Muse

Modern Muse
Adriana Lima in Elle Magazine

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What's Love? by Daniel Handler

What's love, again? No, seriously: what is it? Why are you quoting song lyrics? Do the lyrics of love songs actually cut to the heart of the matter, or are they simply so vague that it feels like they do? Why does one's own love feel as if it cuts to the heart of things, but other people's loves feel like vague amusements? Why are love songs we don't like so noxious? How can we love a song so dearly for a number of years and then suddenly find it embarrassing? Also, a person?

Why is it that love feels so individual, and yet nearly every individual falls in and out of love in basically the same way? Why are stories of other people meeting and falling in love invariably tedious? Why are stories of other people breaking up so riveting? If love can happen in an instant how come it actually takes forever to get it together? Is love like taking a taxi, in which the route is important but the passengers could be anybody? Or is it more like driving a taxi, in which you end up in neighborhoods you'd never visit under ordinary circumstances, just because someone came into your life and bossed you around? Or it is more like trying to find a taxi in the rain, when everyone else is safe and dry and you're stuck on the corner wondering when in the world someone will come along and pick you up?

Why is love undimmed by the knowledge that there's absolutely no chance the person loves you back? How is it possible you can fall in love with three separate people who all go to your high school, but then not find anyone in the entire world later on? How could that boy or girl way back when have absolutely no clue you loved them? Also, how could they date that other, completely unsuitable person, when you were standing right there? In fact, why do so many supposedly sensible people fall in love with the ones who are so clearly going to make them miserable, and why, when these people try to answer this question, do they invariably use the phrase "my mother"? Why is it so easy to imagine how a love might work out, but so difficult to actually put this into practice? Why is love in the movies so completely unbelievable and yet tear-jerking, as opposed to, say, martial arts in the movies, or space travel?

If love has nothing to do with money, then why do lovers bicker about money so much? Why would it be so wonderful if one's lover gave one a million dollars, but so wretched if someone offered us a million dollars to be our lover? Or, maybe, not so wretched? Or, maybe if it were two million? Why does failure in other aspects of life actually make love more difficult, rather than easier? If honesty has everything to do with love, then why do we lie to the people we love more than anyone else? Why do we live with people we love, when sometimes we'd rather have absolutely anyone sitting at the opposite end of the couch except the person who is? How can we love someone and simultaneously despise every single thing they do for more than a month straight? Like, every six months?

Can you really love someone you met once a bunch of years ago who it's safe to say has never thought of you ever again? Why are some people breathtaking in their underwear and others mortifying, and how come we can't come anywhere close to agreeing on which people are which? Why are our friends considered an entirely different kind of love than our lovers, and why is it a miracle if these people get along? Why do we behave very much like crazy people wandering the streets when we're in love, and yet we never fall in love with crazy people wandering the streets? Why is it so miraculous to be loved by one person, but if we were simultaneously loved by several people it would be creepy? Why can't we have sex with anyone we want?

Why isn't love worth it, usually, when you tally it up? Can you really love somebody forever? If we're supposed to spend the afterlife with the ones we love, what happens if your loved one is some girl you haven't seen since high school? And, what if she loves somebody else? Is love like a volcano lurking beneath the city, simmering for years and then suddenly erupting when the time has come? Or is it more like a terrorist attack, containing an agenda so irrational that it cannot possibly excuse the damage it does? Or is it more like an Englishwoman in America, constantly misunderstood when the circumstances are not actually all that foreign? If cheese means different things in different countries, shouldn't love? Or, not cheese, but, know what I mean?

Say there's this guy Joe. Can he help it that he falls in love with people who don't make him happy? Or, that when they do make him happy he falls in love with someone else? And what about Helena — she's in love, but somehow this isn't enough. Shouldn't it be? And if it isn't enough, does this mean she's not really in love? It certainly seems to be spoiling the love she's in. And let's say there's a volcano underneath the city — doesn't that make things more urgent? Does urgency mean that you should keep the person you're with, or hold out for the best possible person? And what if the best possible person loves somebody else? For instance, what if Helena loves David, but David loves Peter, and used to love Andrea, who loves Tony, who thinks he loves Helena, who used to love Sam, who loves Andrea who now loves Steve, who might be the sort of person to murder somebody in the park — Eddie, for instance, who loves Hank, who ends up in a diner where two detectives are looking for the Snow Queen who loves Mike? Do you see what I'm getting at here?

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