Romance is happening everywhere, if you know what to look for, and if you are willing to see things in other than sexual terms. Sex is a bonus, not a prerequisite. There is romance in the tired-looking husband and wife out buying groceries together. There is romance in the old man and old woman you see talking to each other in their yard about the bugs on their roses. Romance means being considerate, and doing something small, special, and unrehearsed every now and then for the one you care about. Romance becomes possible when two people are willing to bare, little by little, their hearts and their dreams. The key word, I think, is vulnerability. Without vulnerability, romance withers and dies. When that happens, sex is no longer a bonus, but a diversion — a selfish agreement to make temporary, mutual use of one another
I am less, not more, than the sum total of my parts. That’s what it comes down to. I either care too much, or too little. I don’t know how to reconcile what I see with what I feel, or how to devise a sensible way of living. I simply go along from day to day, trying to weather the storm. I’m not arrogant enough to think I’m right, and I’m not insecure enough to think I’m wrong. I’m incapable of faith, and undermined by skepticism. I want to help, but I don’t know how. I want to start over. I want to forget everything I know, and to banish the carefully constructed illusion of myself that is so lazy and hungry for attention. There must be a better way to go, an honest way that doesn’t require crosses or medication, denial or membership, or any other form of hocus-pocus meant to simultaneously organize, utilize, and distract human beings while promising the moon and paying in disappointment and sorrow. For what we think is new is really old, and always incomplete. As we are incomplete. I ask for everything, expecting nothing. I ask for a night of genuine rest, and a day of worth and accomplishment. For a light heart, and a sweet song. A lullaby, and a dream. When the world ends, as surely it must, silence and stars. Wisdom. From infinity, a nod. Grace. I ask for nothing, expecting everything. Not to be a ghost in the streets of the town where I live. Not to be despised or ridiculed. Not to be considered a threat. Not to live in vain. Above all, and perhaps most foolishly, I ask that my ignorance be forgiven.
I don’t want to die saying, “Oh, I see it all now! What on earth was I doing?” If avoiding that fate requires failing along the way, then so be it. If it requires wondering where my next meal is coming from on occasion, so be it. I’m not a consumer. I’m a human being. To me, finding out what that means is far more interesting than wondering which celebrities are sleeping together. And if it turns out that I’m wrong, or crazy, or misguided, or stupid, or blind, then that’s my problem and I’m the one who will have to live with it.
Some people are convinced that dropping bombs on perfect strangers will solve the world’s problems, but I am not. In my view — based on my paltry experience and limited by my rapidly decaying gray matter — our only real chance lies in fighting the war that’s raging within ourselves. If we can somehow learn to live without stepping on others and without crushing the life out of them in order to get what we want, we might have a chance. Oil isn’t worth it. Religion isn’t worth it. Pride isn’t worth it. Blood is blood. Life is life. This is something that no amount of flag-waving or rhetoric can ever change.