Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

I've written quite a few serious, academic posts in the past week. Except for sneaking in a few snarky, funny lines, they've been pretty substantial considerations on the state of the world and the nature of law. Important meditations on academia. Things of that nature.

So I hope I'll be forgiven for going off the deep end here.

I'm all tapped out, and bar exhaustion and depression is hitting me. In law school, I had grad student ennui. General listlessness, a "what will my future be" and "does this matter anyway" kind of woeismeism. Now I'm just kind of tapped out and tired of doing what I'm doing, and can hardly think of what I'll do next (cause that's exhausting too). So nothing substantial today.

But I realized something this morning: I need to stop making snarky comments about my ex-boyfriend, and stop writing about him (even though he's fertile material). Because as punishment, he always finds his way into my dreams. I make a comment about his bad taste in music. This is, I think, because I want to remember, and keep reminding myself, why we were never destined to be anyway. Five, nearly six years after the break up of the secret engagement that was never to be to my high school sweetheart (who has those nowadays?), I still have to remind myself of this? What is it with first loves that years later, you still cleave to the memory even as you spurn it? This was the year we were to be married. You know, after law school. Is this why he's been popping back into my thoughts? Last night, I dreamed about him. I have some married people out there reading this blog--do you ever accidentally find yourself thinking about or dreaming about some former love you no longer wish you had, but can't get away from? What does it mean? Does it mean anything?

I don't wish I was with him. I don't regret the three years we had together, nor the two years it took afterwards to get over it. But why do I still think of him, even as every thought of him turns from wistfulness to repudiation? Sometimes, when I drive, a song will come onto the radio--one of our songs. One of our many bad songs. It's bad enough we had so many to describe our ailing long-distance relationship (he, the non-reader, got to go to a small liberal arts school with one of the most respected literary reviews?). Most of them were his choices. The list is embarassing. Goo Goo Dolls' "Slide." Hootie and the Blowfish's "I Will Wait." Dave Matthews' "Crush." Edwin McCain's "I'll Be." See? Really bad. I can't stand listening to these bands any more (for aesthetic as well as personal reasons), and they make me shudder the way I do when I remember how uncomforting he was when I told him my grandfather died (he said "aww, sorry dear" and then proceeded to tell me "My mother says I have hairy toes. She says I have hobbit toes." You are shuddering too, I bet. Yes, there were "mother" issues, although they mostly loved me and even gave me a key to their house. There's a lot more that I remember, but the funny thing about memory is that you can't retain more than the extremely good or the extremely bad. These extremities are what push him in and out of my consciousness, such that memories made after with different men are not nearly as salient. Who remembers a relationship that lasted a couple of months, or a few dates when you can never forget what it felt like to have your heart broken for the first time? Or what it was like for a boy to fall in love with you before the glasses and braces came off? Sometimes I wonder if he'll stop being my frame of reference only when I find the next man I want to marry. Or the next man who'll break my heart. Guys out there reading this blog: do you think of us, the girls you left behind? The girl you broke up with over the phone? The girl you thought you wanted to marry? Or do you remember, like I do, only the ones who left you?

Is there anyone filled with a sense of loss, but not regret? Can they ever exist independently, or is loss always suffused with an air of regret? Can you lose something and be consumed with the gaping hole in your life for years after, even though you don't miss what once filled it?

I'll stop now, before I start sounding like some Sex and the City episode (my short take: often funny and poignant, but I hate the whole female chauvinism and aspirational consumption it inspired). I have to get back to my bitch, the Bar, and continue with today's hobby, listening to incredibly depressing music. I've gone through David Gray, Elliot Smith, Coldplay, Tracy Chapman, and tears in my beer country music via Hank Williams. I love me a pity par-tay.