Saturday, July 29, 2006

Pink Curtains

The best thing to do right now is to suck. it. up. I don't want to turn into a post-modern hack with the sole gift of criticism. I guess I expect a relatively high level of courtesy because, being from the West, the closest we come to "poverty" is when we sprout body hair. I suppose in a country of over a billion, where most live in abject conditions, there is little room for bourgeois rituals. So suck it up, Lily ... and keep countin' down the days ...

***

A co-worker of mine invited me out to Beijing's club district tonight to attend three parties. Attendees are all American expats, I'm told. Like an '80s Coyote Ugly.

MArt told me to enjoy myself. I asked him if that included using "I'm single" in my evening repertoire.

His answer more or less confirmed that neither of us is going anywhere, long-distance be damned.

These two months have been hell because such an arrangement is so unnatural. Feelings logically grow by proximity of contact, not in void of it. I exert and get no instant response. Like heat, it simply vanishes into the atmosphere with no sign of return, and consequently, validation. What's the point? I ask. He says he loves me, but what is there to keep him from relinquishing this obligation? I'm gone, he's free, there really isn't any expectations on my part. This, we both acknowledge, is a lie; my nonchalance a hurtful dagger. Of course I want him to be there when I get back. I want to, once again, see him fold the laundry and pull me into his lap. He and I have the luxury of consistency at least. I give him frequent updates of my time spent on this side of the Pacific and he, the same. His boss is over-working him; 12-hour shifts up the ying-yang. "How else can I support my girlfriend's shopping sprees?" he teased. He knows I'm not the type, though it's nice to know he's thinking of the future. (We might take a trip to NYC this fall.) With all this talk of committment-phobic men in our society, what sort of factors convince a man to want to settle down? It feels timely to ask why he feels so confident that I will be in his future. Is it hubris or bad logic? Why don't more women have such blind faith? In a small way, I envy his power to choose.

I've been reading The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir. One of the themes in the book is the balancing act between independence and fidelity. Maybe I will learn a thing or eight by the time I finish.

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