Saturday, November 22, 2008

Jenna on Loneliness: an excersize in vague self pity.

I went on a date on Tuesday (you Jenna? A date? With a male? Yes, shocking I know,) it is now Saturday and he hasn’t called me. I’m no expert in these matters but even I know that’s a bad sign, and because I refuse to be a glutton for punishment I have given up hope.

It’s not as if there was an undeniable spark, it’s not that I think he’s the one, the love of my life. There was nothing miraculous about the affair, and yet at the same time, there was something miraculous about it. I thought we had a good time, we like a lot of the same things, and I thought that as far as first dates go it was pretty good, which is a little miraculous.

He loves This American Life and is baffled by the critical acclaim of Stanley Kubrick! Oh be still my heart! He is tall and has lovely brown eyes. I began to imagine, as the evening went on, that I could date him, I imagined us settling into a casual comfortable relationship in which we frequented art house movie theatres and took long walks around 3rd and 3rd down town.

I really don’t understand what the problem is. He seemed to enjoy himself, and while I am cautious about liking people, I thought that at least a second date was in order.

But alas! I find myself alone again, naturally, and because I imagined our casual hip future together this fact seems to be weighing on me somewhat at present.

Loneliness is an emotion I feel I am particularly familiar with, having a chronic difficulty with the opposite sex, and a persistent adolescent sense that I don’t really belong in the real world. I feel that I am keenly aware of loneliness, so much aware of it that, for me, it has shed some of its negative connotations.

There is something deeply romantic about loneliness. In my personal world view romance is less about being in love and more about longing, about never having that which you want. I’m talking old school romance; knights who devoted their lives to a single woman and never even touch her, the idea that longing is sweeter than having. If this is the case then I am one of the most romantic people on earth.

Right now I am home alone, making spaghetti (my homemade marinara is particularly magnificent if I do say so myself) and listening to Frank Sinatra. Later I intend to watch Roman Holiday and sigh frequently. I don’t feel sad, but wistful perhaps, and this is the first chapter. This is where in romantic comedies we meet our heroine; all alone making spaghetti on a Saturday night. The most fantastic thing about being alone is it means that anything can happen. You’re not with someone, so you could, potentially meet anyone.

I went to Blockbuster today and rented “Love Actually” whose splendors I intend to wallow in tomorrow. I love going to Blockbuster because one of the employees always gives me one of my movies for free. He is sneaky and says that I’ve earned a free movie on my rewards card, but there is no way I am earning a free movie each and every time I go into Blockbuster. Sometimes we talk about movies (once he confused the Coen Brothers with Wes Anderson, how embarrassing!) I like to think that he looks forward to my blockbuster visits. That he secretly pines for me. It makes me feel good to think that I am inflicting pain on someone else, because quite frankly, it’s just my turn, and feeling bad that I can’t love him back makes me feel like I’m a good person.

My aloneness allows me to cultivate weird pretend relationships like the one I just related. There’s Lonnie the TA who has no idea that while the professor spoke long on eastern Europe and the development of film editing techniques I was imagining his lovely jewish nose rubbing against mine Eskimo style. It was really Lonnie’s nose that made me love him. When I occasionally see him on campus my heart does a strange plummet like that of seeing an ex, even though I never spoke more than a few words to him.

There’s the crazy haired bespectacled boy at the library help desk, whom I like to pretend notices when I come in to use the computer lab, and longs for me to have computer problems, so that he may lean over my chair, catch the subtle bouquet of my perfume, then say something seductive and brainy like “It’s a problem with the motherboard, may I buy you a Chai Latte from Chartwells?”

I balance these fantasies simultaneously going from one to another as the feeling moves me, like improvisational dance for my brain. They keep me company, and my imagination in good, if somewhat sentimental form. It is something to do, while I wait for someone who likes This American Life, Art House Cinema, and me.

1 comment:

Amy Wadsworth said...

You know, Jenna, you are a writer! Loneliness and being a writer do tend to go hand in hand. What you write is beautiful, Dear. And so are you.