Friday, July 29, 2011


I now have more perspective on the break-up.
For Savage Kitten it had already faded well before the end; when she broke off the relationship she was discarding something that had become worthless - an old rag, as she put it.
At that time it was still infinitely precious to me.
No matter how close you are to someone you do not always think alike.

She offered to move out at the time, I refused that offer for entirely selfish reasons.
I didn't think she would change her mind about us. She's a very stubborn woman, once she has made a decision she carries it through.
I just didn't want to worry about her, it's good to know that she's safe.
Plus, of course, I trust her, as she does me. Having a roommate who has been a known-quantity for several years is comfortable.
Didn't even have to rearrange any furniture - she's always had her own room.


I'm not comfortable with her mentioning her boyfriend so often - partly because I resent the nasty blister, partly because I do not think highly of him. Yeah, they haven't broken up yet, they're still together. Every three or four weeks they go through a crisis, usually caused by him being brutally honest or honestly selfish or some such.
She says she likes his honesty.
That pustule has made her cry more in half a year than I did in twenty years.

That's also one of the reasons why we'll never get back together. When she told me it was over after more than two decades, she was honest.
She didn't intend to wound, but she said things which I would have been far happier not hearing.

The other main reason is that we now no longer love each other that way.
We like each other, and as very good friends we even love each other.

That my ex still lives with me could be problematic if I ever have another relationship.
Might take a bit of explaining.

This is still an entirely hypothetical worry, though, and probably will be for quite a while.


I've realized that I do not like most people of either gender.
Behaviour is part of the issue, but the real disaster is conversation.
There just aren't very many folks out there that one can talk with.

It's not that they are intrinsically unlikeable, but often they are vapid.
Any conversation about sports puts me to sleep, and a disquisition on make-up or what some other woman said will drive me batshit.

I certainly don't insist on profundity and meaningfulness. However a discussion about why a particular author pissed you off, or what you think might be wrong with the shrimp you ordered, is vastly more interesting than any amount of inane blather about your handbag or your precious sports team.
Any handbag. Any team.

Tell me about the time you threw some highly recommended book (for instance, The Da Vinci Code, or Jonathan Livingston Seagull) into the trash compactor. Explain, in great and outraged detail, what a horrid piece of tripe that book is, wax lyrical about the sheer moronicity of the people who love that stuff, compare the nearest compost heap favourably to both that pathetic pile of scribbling and the feeble mind that spewed it forth.
Then with eloquent hyperbole call the value of contemporary culture into question.

Wail about your history professor who disparages the importance of a tongues-on approach to mediaeval languages, sing the praises of the duck at your favourite hole-in-the-wall on Stockton Street, chortle gleefully over a particularly atrocious pun or wordplay.
Cheerfully inform me that my pipe makes the place smell like a third-rate barbecue pit.

"But really, your burning tire stink is SO sexy!"

Then let us go have dinner somewhere, and read together quietly for a few hours.

Brownie points for using terms like 'balderdash', 'horsefeathers', or 'claptrap'.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Anonymous said...

The only people I know whose conversation consists of railings against the masses from intellectual pedestals of their own crafting, leavened with flights of epicurean fantasy -- indeed, for whom such topics are very much stock-in-trade -- are old gay men.

Anonymous said...

In general, the tongues on approach is highly effective... But what do medieval languages have to do with that?

The back of the hill said...

My dear Anonymous,

You know too many old gay men. Bookstore employees are also thus, as are many academics, and a very large number of intelligent women.

My dear next Anonymous,

Please note that the tongues-on approach to mediaeval languages is linked to 'wailing about a history professor'.
One cannot make sense of Beowulf, Chaucer, Le Chanson de Roland, Le Morte de Arthur, Dante, numerous Latins, clericals, roving scholars, and their environments without a more than passing familiarity with their languages - even in excellent translations, much is lost, and the sensitivity to the world as the writers experienced it is somewhat lacking.

As an experiment, read Le Chanson de Roland in the original mediaeval French - and then note how many more words make sense to an English speaker than they must to a modern Frenchman, because of the vocabulary we borrowed via the Normans and the classic authors. For someone with even a mild linguistic bent, this should be both fascinating and immensely informative.

By the same token, much can be gained about the late mediaeval Netherlandish view backward to Charlemagne by reading Karel ende Elegast in its original language - as well as a wealth of ideas about the development of Dutch as an identity and as the dominant speech of a cultural zone. But I do not suspect many people who are not familiar with Dutch would be anxious to take on that task.

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