“Don’t worry…you seem like a really nice person, it’ll happen for you, too,” she yelled over the jukebox toward my ear. I smiled and nodded appreciatively, resisting the urge to furrow my brow in confusion and explain that I don‘t really worry about it, that perhaps for the first time ever am not looking for the knight at the end of the tunnel to rescue me from a dark and lonely present with no end in sight. Love is so often and interestingly like money in our culture - those who have it, those who don’t, those who can’t remember a time when they didn’t, those who can’t remember a time when they did, those who cling to dreams of prosperity, those who’d sacrifice all that they have for just a taste of the good life, those bitterly resolved to lives of poverty - all the cultural dialogue and pressure and advertising resulting in the commodification and rationalization of a beautiful, irrational, completely uncontrollable force that strikes randomly and without warning. Rufus Wainwright ends one of his songs with the haunting phrase “Will you settle for love?” Will you? CAN you?
Last week was Pareidolia’s first anniversary, a date which passed without written acknowledgment on my part, if not without a good deal of mental attention. Pareidolia: the erroneous or fanciful perception of a pattern or meaning in something that is actually ambiguous or random. I spend rather a lot of time trapped in this world - would argue that most, if not all of us are guilty of it from time to time, particularly where emotions are involved - creating my own fantasy world in an attempt to gain control, put a name on things that have none. Occasionally there’s comfort in this - more often: confusion, drama. Until I take a risk. Admit that I have no control. Admit that what makes life its most fascinating and incredible is, in fact, its propensity to be ambiguous and random, particularly with regard to anything that has to do with other people. That my only defense against allowing it to drive me completely over the edge is to allow it to be so. Allow for missteps, mistakes. Be present. Be aware. Be me. Resist propaganda: you are defined not in terms of what you possess as an individual, but what you do or do not possess as a consumer; you are defined by absence, lack; you are defined by what you are not, what you have not; your heart swells when you hear the now famous phrase: “You complete me.”; you imagine yourself to be a puzzle piece in a box of others, waiting to find your match and lock you together to make part of a whole.
Two wholes are better than one.
She wasn’t wrong. It’s just all about perception.