As I’ve written before, I was the sort of guy–even before all the eighties romantic comedies I ingested–who could believe I’d fallen in love with a girl even though I’d never talked to her before. This happened more than once to be sure. Sometimes I think this is something everyone experiences to some degree, and other times I think I am a certain sort of freak–we all find our ways, right?–and that I’m guilty of projecting my experience onto the experiences of others. After all, when one of my students says, “I had the typical childhood,” I’m always quick to quiz people around the room about their childhoods. We often find almost nothing in common.
I write this thinking it’s an obvious observation that many of us romanticize what we think a relationship ought to be, and then we are dissatisfied with relationships when they aren’t are fantasies. At the recommendation of some of my new Facebook friends, I’m reading Rob Sheffield’s book talking to girls about duran duran. Although I think I know my tendency to romanticize relationships isn’t universal, I see Sheffield has also had this experience. He writes, “One hundred percent of teenagers dream about making out, but they only dream about making out with 5 percent of other teenagers. This means our dreams and our realities are barely on speaking terms, so we look forward to making out with people who aren’t real, keeping us in a nearly universal state of teen frustration” (186). I read Sheffield and I think, “Man Rob, me and you could be buddies,” but then I know that Sheffield is good at what he does, he’s able to tap into the details of his experience that causes a certain circle of people to connect with him, and so he’s probably regularly bombarded with people who approach him calling out, “I loved Morrissey too! We should hang out.” I teeter totter on a tightrope of tension between universal experience and the uniqueness of each of us.
I have not talked with Karin Krista Schmitt, the artist who drew the cartoon below, about what she “meant” by her drawing. This seems like another “no, no” I’ve somehow learned: don’t ask a poet what the poem means. So whatever I have to say about Karin’s drawing below comes from me, but it comes as a part of a conversation started by her and her work. I read a piece about the expectations of relationships; I read a text about how life is full of surprises. There are two fantasies here, and they don’t match up. Karin is another of my new Facebook friends, living in Germany I think, and when I saw her drawings (in a language I can’t read) I asked her if she might be willing to draw something for my blog and Facebook book page. I hear lots about how Facebook is such a time waster, and of course it is for many and often for me, but I also think there can be something very exciting happen. A person told me to read Sheffield and now I am on his second book my yesterday afternoon was better because I sat on a stationary bike for 40 minutes and read. Karin has sent me this funny and thought-provoking drawing and she has got me thinking…
If you want to take a look at more of Karin’s work, you can find her Facebook here.