I tend to think about things, the smallest things, in the greatest depth. One thing that has been of particular interest to me is human interaction and relationships. Friendships, intimate relationships, unfriendly relationships, they all intrigue me because they are all so natural yet so contingent of so little.
Now I use the word relationship here rather loosely. In my mind, if you help a woman up after she has tripped, you have etched a neural pathway into her brain and carved a spot in her mind and heart. That is a relationship to me. Rather metaphysical, I know, but I get joy out of the idea of establishing as many relationships as possible. Anywho, the purpose of this log is to examine the unbreakability, yet beginning fragility and dependency on fate that most relationships are slave to. What do I mean by that? Think about it. In this increasingly streamlined world, where we go from one side of the country to the other in the time it would a horse and carriage to get from LA to Irvine. We no longer have a months long nomadic migration in search of food to meet and get to know our potential soulmate, we now have the 4 hours from LA to NY to create a relationship with the beautiful woman at the window seat. An entire life’s worth of events, of funny, sad, passionate moments dependent on a man’s creative mind and his resiliency in 4 hours. Think about some of your own relationships. As a college student, there’s a circle of people I see all the time and it’s comforting to think that I our relationships were meant to be. That they were built upon something more than a single decision. But all of my college friends, all of the relationships I’ve established, all the people I love and will continue to love, all of the experiences… they would have been completely different had I chosen Dartmouth College over UCLA. An entire course of life and events coming down to one decision. The women I’ve met, the friends I’ve grown to know, the organizations I’m in, all of this based on one simple decision.
After thinking about my own relationships like this, I began to think a little more anthropologically. We are all human. All made of the same stuff. All made in, generally, the same way. As physical beings, we are flesh and bone with a purpose of procreation. Yet, our relationships of all types appear so naturally, yet so seemingly without reason. A smile exchanged with a man on the street may change his world view. The relationship established with him may very well affect his relationships with others. All because of something as simple as a smile. A dollar handed to someone who slept through their bus stop, may have unimaginable effects in terms of her relationships to come…
We have senses. Processes that tell our brains what the world is throwing at it, but leave it up to the mind to make sense of it and this sense, in a moment’s time, can change our lives. We can smell the sweet scent of the perfume worn by the woman we brushed by at a gala. We can feel the slight touching of hands as we walk by each other. We can see the shimmering gold dress she wears with our eyes. We can hear the sound of her 6-inch heels making their way across the hardwood floor. We can taste the finger foods she’s eating, the same one that we tried earlier and politely (Secretly) threw away. All of these senses and our reactions to them, controlled by short signals from the body to the brain control what we will become, who we will befriend, who we will love. She smells the slight, subtle mix of men’s shampoo and cologne. She feels it as I reach for her hand and our fingers slightly caress before falling away. Her eyes see the slight, smooth smile on my face as she walks by. She hears the sound of my breath as time seems to slow down for her. She tastes the dull flavor of her lipstick as she bites her lip walking away… And in those 2 seconds, a relationship is born. One that, for its brevity in birth, could conceivably lead to a lifetime of bliss, sadness, passion, disgust, happiness, anger, trust, betrayal. The motion of the relationship is set, yet again how fragile is its birth that none of this happened because I spilled punch on my shirt, went to the restroom to clean it, and she left to her car as the gala winded down. How a lifetime seemingly built upon choices is at the whims of another single moment, a single slip of the hand. A simple spill as I collided with another party goer because I couldn’t take my eyes off of the woman in the golden dress.
When you think about it like this, it seems almost unfair that nearly everyone we know and everything we’ve done with them is based upon something as unseen as a slip of the hand or having a dollar in your wallet…Things that are almost out of our control, yet they control the way our lives play out and who our lives play out with. Almost unfair.