I spoke with a friend the other day as I was riding the bus to my office. It was bedtime for him in his small, dissatisfying town in Northern California and midday for me in sweltering Hong Kong. I still love the variations in the space time continuum that exist simply because of longitudinal difference. I had not talked with this person in a long time outside of email, and I missed him. He is probably one of my truest friends. He said he was fucked up and broken and crazy because he had broken up with his girlfriend, “a perfect person.” I don’t know perfect, but maybe she was a perfect girlfriend… I mean, I liked her if that counts for much.
He said: “You know, I only started dating her because I didn’t like her.”
I said: “What?”
He said: “Seriously. I heard Dr. (I-can’t-remember-who) say that if you have messed up relationships you should date someone that you are not attracted to because you are obviously attracted to the wrong people.”
I said: “Oh.”
He said: “It seemed like a really reasonable idea at the time.”
I said: “Yeah?”
He said: “Yeah, and then after three years I realized that the thing is you are supposed to be attracted to the people you are with. Crazy, huh?”
I said: “I don’t know. I am crazy.”
I date the wrong people. Always have.
I have had this stupid thing I have always said, which is that I love interesting craziness. Somehow, it sounds… exotic, or at least unusual in my mind. And I have spent a lifetime promoting ‘unusual.’ The (unfortunate?) result of this is that you get to thinking that ‘crazy = interesting,’ and therefore ‘not crazy = boring.’ This, while imperative in novels, movies and television dramas, does not always make things so easy in real life. But then again, where’s the thrill in easy?
I have chosen (in no particular order) thieves, artists, writers, rugby players, drug addicts, musicians, contemporary pirates, misanthropes, drunks, dysfunctional visionaries and one “normal” man for my partners since I was 15 years old.[My foray into ‘normal’ was the most fucked up of all my relationships because I mistook repressed for normal and that is REALLY crazy. But not interesting.]
I wanted unusual, which is simply a euphemism for interesting craziness, which in turn really is just crazy.
And I got it.
The things I have loved about these people have included the mezmerizing effect of being blown away by someone’s intellect, the taste of Jameson’s on their breath, the adrenaline of reckless driving, the oily and toxic smell of paint, the fearlessness of consequence, the strangeness of being completely self centered, the transformation of someone when they step on stage, the hallucinogenic effect of perfect prose, the sweaty reverie of dancing all night, and above all the potential for total disaster keeping you alert and awake and aware of the person right next to you and preventing you from ever relaxing into complacency.
Because of these choices in my life, I cannot complain about the madness and the wild highs and lows. I need to accept the craziness.
I said: “So, is there someone else?”
He said: “Well, yeah. Sort of. I don’t know.”
I said: “Sounds interesting.”
He said: “No. It is crazy.”
I said: “Yes.”
Amanda, still 36, still in Hong Kong, still crazy and doing just fine