null y void: a 21st century story of True Love in 2 acts


“Hey, nice to meet you. I’m angry.”

“Likewise. I’m in pain.”

“So, what do you do to dull the awareness?”

“Well, right now I’m sort of in-between coping mechanisms? But for the past few years, I was celebrating my lack of imagination. And you?”

“Well, I don’t want to brag or anything, but I publicly flaunt my tolerance for apathy and boredom.”

“Oh, wow, that’s really interesting. Hey, maybe we should construct a monogamous sexual relationship that falsely promises to meet all of our physical, emotional, and intellectual needs.”

“Um, yeah…I don’t—I mean, not that I’m not interested? But don’t you think that maybe we should at least, I don’t know, idealize each other a little first? You know, form unrealistic expectations, start cataloguing what we want to change about one another, build up the insecurities…start off slow, you know?”

“Oh. Right. No, of course. Definitely. F’sho… I didn’t mean—I mean, I wasn’t, like, looking to rush into nothing or anything like that. I just thought—”

“—that we could avoid the work of being full, autonomous individuals by reducing ourselves to two diminished halves in order to form a crippled whole that can limp us along with the illusion of a life until we finally croak?”

“Exactly! God, it’s like you know exactly what I’m going to say before I never say it! You know, I think that you were totally made for—”

“—me, I pride myself on being my own personality traits and unique set of consumer preferences, you know?”

“No, I totally agree, me too! We have so much uncommon. Tell me, do you believe in love at first psyche?”

“I believe that true love is blinded.”

There was a particular period in my life when I found myself surrounded by what seemed like an exponentially growing multitude of madly fluttering hearts and wildly delusional fantasies. At the same time, several people close to me suffered nervous breakdowns, while others found themselves seeking psychiatric treatment for the symptoms of manic depression, major depression, and mild bipolar disorder. Somehow, it seemed like the universe had concentrated in me some kind of strong magnetic force that attracted both sets of people to me at once. I remember feeling powerless at the time, inadequate to meet these kinds of challenges. By that point, it had been years since my own heart had stopped beating, and I was stumbling along on so many pain killers that I’d long since lost the ability to distinguish between schizophrenic delusion and good old fashioned psychotropic hallucination. What could these people possibly have detected in me that appeared so attractive? What needs did they imagine I could possibly ever meet? It seemed like the more I descended into my own chaos, the more people wanted to join me. And the more people joined me, the more I descended. Gravity. Increasing mass. Acceleration.

I started to lose it.

Then it occurred to me that maybe it was just a matter of simple recognition. Maybe it was not they who were attracted to me, but the other way around. They didn’t recognize themselves in me—I recognized myself in them.

That’s when I really started to lose it.

Every day I would fall in and out of love at least a dozen times. My fantasy was an elaborate reality. My reality was an elaborate hoax. I bounced back and forth between megalomaniacal delusions of self-loathing, and periods of complete, utter grandeur. And all of it, of course, was meticulously documented on various website blogs under a number of clever pseudonyms.

(Minor digression: I lived for my reader comments. Each new text message submitted for my approval was like a shiny little pellet of rare treats, a golden nugget of instant joy, a fat, twinkling star of achievement that provided the illusion of importance, connection, community, communication. But this illusion was always fleeting, of course, dissolving almost instantly as I read the words that affirmed my existence. Each fix lasted only a few seconds before I started fiending for the next. So, I would respond to the comments quickly, in order to generate more comments, and I would post new blogs, and check my email frequently, and comment on other people’s blogs, etc., etc.)

Anyway, they say that familiarity breeds contempt, but I say that it’s the other way around. I believe that home is where the hate is. I believe that love is a theater of cruelty, and insanity is a nice theoretical device—until you find it sleeping next to you. Then it’s just some scary-ass shit. I believe that those of us who function well are the truly crazy mutherfuckers. I know a man with a three thousand dollar watch who will probably die completely unaware of how insane his life has been. I believe that the future was as tragically irrelevant as the past will be, but those who live in the moment still need to fill their bellies at some point. Or not. Like the Taoists say, it’s not the belly, or even what fills the belly, but the empty space inside created by the hegemonic domination of transnational capital and corporate control through the neocolonial practices of globalization, urbanism, and Rupert Murdoch.

And so that’s why I believe, therefore, that we have the responsibility to be thoughtful in all of our interactions, communications, and spontaneous gestures. I believe that those who are reckless lack reck, those who are ruthless lack ruth, and those who are less lack. I do not ask why, I ask where. I do not ask how, I ask when. Where u at where u at where u AT? When can I SEE you? I believe that if thou givest, somebody else shall receive, and that’s all you need to know about THAT. I believe that I’m about as serious as a heart attack.

I believe that I’m almost there. Can you feel it—can you hear it? Nervous cackling. Maniacal laughter. Out of control giggling. The funny bone is a neatly concealed sliver of the void.



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