Friday, July 27, 2007

ladies and gentlemen

Some day I will wake up in the morning and treat the day as mundane and ordinary and not worthy of wild, passionate interest. Some day I will walk through my life on tiptoe, without ripples and without messes. Some day I will grow old and grow up and grow smart. Some day I will believe, as Manu says, that life is a "spiral of despair, and your only hope is piling one distraction on top of another, and hoping that your massive heap of delusion doesn't collapse before you die."
Just not any time soon.

Perhaps maturity lies in recognizing the everyday as ordinary, perhaps it does. Perhaps it is the greatest sign of my immaturity, this tendency to revel in incident and accident and coincidence. Perhaps it is true that a twenty-something female in a big city cannot afford to go through her life with eyes open and heart open, inviting everyone she meets into it.

There is a part of my brain that recognizes this, that sends me the customary warning signals every time I do something abysmally, shockingly stupid and reckless. There is a part of my brain wired with every ounce of cynicism culled from my wise mother (don't talk to strangers, avoid eye contact, don't reveal any personal information!!!). There is permanent commentary that dogs my every move, that stares in horrified fascination as I agree to lunches with people I have never seen, and strike up conversations with strangers, and stare at a man on a bus in an attempt to shame him into giving up the seat he is in (fun fact from T's oh-coincidental universe: actually had a pleasant conversation with aforementioned, and ended up on the same bus as him the day immediately after. this is irony.)
There is a part of me that knows in chilling detail all that could go wrong, that imagines scenarios where strangers follow me home, to work, into dark alleyways. There is a part of me that has imagined, in technicolour blurs, all the things strange men can do to unprotected females. There is a part of me that realizes I could be robbed raped killed every time I leave myself vulnerable, open, accessible.
And yet.
And yet.

Trying to convince the rest of my brain to follow any of these wise instructions feels to me like kicking a small and confiding puppy. It is as though I'm trying my utmost to retain that part of me that persists in believing that good things will happen. I have so much trust in the world that it seems unbearably cruel to break it when it remains so resilient to all that it faces.
Oh, I am aware. Aware that one day I will realize the hard way that the world is not a nice place. Some day I will learn through bitter experience that it is probably not a good idea to stare at a gentleman on the bus until he relinquishes his seat to me. Some day I will discover that strangers do not, in general, turn out to be pleasant people at the end of a long day. Some day I will stop marvelling at the wonder of other people. Some day I will stop remembering the kindness of strangers. Someday I will stop hoping and agree in entirety with that part of me that expects only pain and misery and heartbreak.
Just... not yet, please not yet.

I want to know. In the end, if I die hoping, against all evidence and in spite of always expecting the worst, that the world is a wonderful, beautiful, hopeful place, is that so very bad?

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