Thursday, September 15, 2005
Love? What does it mean?
I was thinking today about the concept of love. I mean really: What the hell is it? Some very heinous acts have been committed in the name of love. And then you have people like Mother Theresa. And what's with all the husbands and wives beating the hell out of each other. (Sorry If I'm starting to sound like Seinfeld.) I use the word loosely myself. I can be at the state fair, have the perfect buzz, the sun is setting, casting a beautiful pastel orange glow on a perfect October evening and I will loudly proclaim, "I LOVE THIS!" And I do. I've said it about food, about songs, about smells, well about almost everything. Last night Jodie Foster was on Letterman. I kept oohing and ahhing and My Sweetie kept saying, "You love her," in a teasing voice and I kept saying, "Yes. I do!" But as far as people go, I'm not sure where I stand on the issue. Practically everyone I'm supposed to love, I have felt no love for at all at some point in time. That includes all family members and all 3 husbands. And unlike normal people, when my love turns, it does not turn to hate, but a cold detachment. My mantra has always been "I can't possibly hate you because hate requires passion and I have none for you whatsoever." Yeah I don't know what that's all about.
So then I was wondering if there were anyone that hadn't pissed me off and made me stop loving them (if only temporarily) and I could only come up with 4 people. It was an odd list: Miss Lane (my second grade teacher), Mrs. Howell (my sixth grade teacher), Jeanette (the best friend to beat all best friends), and Bill (my best guy friend). Although Bill came close in my hotel room after the 20 year high school reunion when he sat there quietly as his loud annoying wife kept, well, being loud and annoying. She did fall down though, and that was good. So, thinking this list over, I'm thinking the teacher(s) thing makes sense, as we didn't really know each other. Jeanette and I haven't seen each other since maybe 1979. And Bill, well he's just Bill. He's probably never annoyed anyone in his life except maybe his shrew ass wife who would complain if the sky were too blue.
So now I want to talk about Jeanette. The summer after 5th grade was a particularly hot summer. My parents worked 8 to 5 jobs and my brother had his regular summer job that we called "puttin' in tobacco." I was always home alone and this was the grand old year of 1972. So basically I think there were 3 or 4 channels on TV. I thinks that's the summer I read "The Exorcist." I lived just across a dirt road from the country store. It faced Highway 117, which was one house away from us. Well, one day I saw these two strange girls walking to the store. This was a very TINY community so I knew they were strangers. Also they were unusual in that they both had hair down to their butts. I saw them again a couple of days later and realized I needed to investigate. So one day when I had some energy, I took off down the dirt road into the neighborhood. Well I saw one of them, the brunette, playing at the end of the big ditch that ran behind my house. She was playing with two little kids at catching tadpoles. So being the elegant sort, I think I walked up and said "Who are you?" But it was more like who ARE you? So she says her name is Kim and swings her arm around to a house I was familiar with (Timmy Mims used to live there!) and tells me they recently moved here from Raleigh. Kim was a year younger than me. I honestly don't remember when or how she introduced me to her sister Jeanette, but she obviously did.
If there is a definition for "instant rapport" it is Jeanette and me. She was the Tom Sawyer to my Huck Finn. Her mom was a stay-at-home-and-watch-your-every-move type and my parents couldn't even correctly guess my age (this is true - the dry cleaner guy asked my mom how old I was and she got it wrong). I always wanted to go on adventures, build reed forts by the railroad tracks, explore the woods, etc. We would get away when we could, but her mom grounded her a lot. I don't think she trusted me. I mean I get it now. I was the kid that was barefoot from April to October that the other kids would say "But mom, she's barefoot!" That didn't fly with Jeanette's mom. Her idea of barefoot season was from the day school let out until the day school started back.
When school did start back, Jeanette had to take the bus to the junior high. Kim and I walked to the elementary school together and got to spend some time together at recess. Every afternoon, like a puppy, I was waiting by the store for Jeanette's bus. We had so much fun together. You know that rib-hurting laughing? That's when I first experienced that. We laughed A LOT. Jeanette got grounded quite often which irritated me to no end, but I could go to her house. They had cool stuff over there like a unicycle and stilts. We were a regular Cirque de Soleil. Also we were into cartwheels, cheers and all the regular stuff for girls of that age. Oh. and Barbies. We were Barbie freaks. I must have had about 8 Barbies and skippers, some Kens and 2 G.I. Joes. We had an entire soap opera of Barbie life running all the time.
The summer after 6th grade, Jeanette's parents finally agreed to let her go to the beach with us for a week, but that is another story. At the beginning of 7th grade my Dad was looking into a new job opportunity. He had worked for a tobacco company all my life and was trying to get a job as an insurance salesman. He was working a night shift at the time. I remember walking into the living room one afternoon and asking, "Dad how's that job thing going?" He was kinda slumped over and said, "They're not going to hire me. I'm too old." He was 37. And they did hire him. The job was in Durham N.C. and I had lived in Goldsboro my whole 12 years. I was kinda freaked out but also excited. Jeanette came over on my very last day. The house was emptied out, my parents were ready to go. I walked Jeanette to my backyard (we had a shortcut). We had said goodbye a million times already. Finally I ran after her, threw my arms around her and said, "I love you!" Then we jumped apart and screamed simultaneously, "I'm not a lesbian!" and took off running in opposite directions. I got in the car and we headed to Durham and I think I cried the whole way.