June 7, 2002

Dollop

I want to note here for my future self to read that yes I am aware that my happiness at meeting this woman is at best one phase of feeling and that as our relationship develops, the feeling will be replaced by feelings like the ones I’ve felt with others, what is to stop it from happening?

As we were leaving I looked at the picture of us on her mantle, taken by her roommate on our second date. It touched me, our happiness then. “Look, baby,” I said, “this is when we fell in love.” At that moment I saw her again as I had in the beginning. Where has she gone? Or really, where have I?

A man in the future remembers a woman he saw as a child, before the outbreak of World War III when the human race was forced to live underground. He is chosen for an experiment in which he either goes back to the earlier time or dreams that he does, going as himself today. He meets the woman and without a word is accepted by her. I too fell in love with her. Or not with her but with these photographs of her, of the two together, their tenderness. Two pictures in particular I love, both of the woman. In the first she is prone and appears to be naked, though this is uncertain: she has her arm crossed before her. In the next photo, the next moment, she has opened her eyes and is looking at the camera, at her lover, with happiness and wonder.

I told her last night that I want to feel more happiness with her. But what I meant, I think now, was not happiness but love.

In Akerman’s film a couple lay in bed unable to sleep. Finally the man says, “What are thinking?” The woman replies, “I wish that summer were over,” and then, “We no longer love each other.”

“You’ve been thinking that a long time,” says the man.

– I suspect I’ve never been happy with anyone beyond a few months. When I think like this, I wonder if happiness isn’t another red herring.

– Meaning?

– Meaning happiness can never be a stable condition, so if I expect to find a relationship that makes me happy in this sense, I’m doomed.

– But if I understand you right, you lose something different from happiness if you lose her.

– Yes, closeness, intimacy.

Happiness is the possibility of happiness. It is the belief that something pleasurable is coming, or may be.

So long as I put off checking the message, it remains possible that it’s from her. But once I check it, it becomes what it is, which may not be a message from her. Until I know what it is, it can be whatever I want it to be.

I thought again of giving up everything and setting off. But where to and why? Truth is, I need other people for my dollop of happiness.

Camus does not say that we must imagine Sisyphus free, but that we must imagine him happy. Though, again, he does not say that Sisyphus is happy, but that we must imagine him so.

It’s possible that one only completely remembers or completely forgets, that there is no middle ground of half-rememberance. Still, I’m dubious. A thousand grains of rice is surely a pile, whereas five grains is not. When does a collection become a pile? At a certain point it’s definitely not a pile; at another point it definitely is. Somewhere between these points is the point at which collections become piles, but where that is, is fuzzy. It’s fuzzy because the idea of a pile is fuzzy. A surprising number of ideas are fuzzy like this: love, happiness, [more examples].