August 8th, 2005

Postbox Fairy

(no subject)

I have been thinking (for reasons which those of you who share a chunk of my friends list will easily work out), about the way that the people we know become, in our minds, not just people in their own right, but symbols of abstract concepts; so that when they do something that shocks us we are not only disturbed because of the consequences for them and everyone else affected, but because our friends are largely 'people like us' and as such fulfil for us a function as a model of how 'people like us' behave. Any change in that suddenly opens up dizzying, precipitous possibilities for our own lives which we had been comfortably ignoring until then.

I think this is particularly true of our view of romantic love, where every long-term relationship is seen as proof that True Love exists and is achievable. When such a relationship breaks up (or is even just shown to be in difficulty) it feels almost like a betrayal of our trust - 'you were supposed to be a happy couple!'. I've read anecdotal evidence that, among married friends, the break-up of one couple's marriage frequently precipitates several others, and that doesn't surprise me.

Incidentally, I dread to think of the size of the shockwave that would result if vectorious and I ever split up. Be reassured we have no intention of doing this - we are as happy and in love now as we have always been - it's just intriguing to think of oneself as a symbol, and realise the power that has.