Thursday, January 17, 2008

Helen of Troy

Today at lunch, I took a walk down a street I had only just discovered, moments from my current office location. There were street vendors selling food and cds, and someone playing Billie Holiday for everyone to enjoy. I had a burrito for lunch from the "mexican food" vendor. It was decent. I also bought myself a copy of the Guardian in which I found a little installment of "The Greek Myths" that they're chronicling right now. This edition was the Trojan war. I didn't get a chance to read it until after my day at work and after my walk through town. I managed to find my way down streets and alleys all the way to St. Paul's and then across the Thames to the Thames path. I realized what it is that I love so much about living in Midtown during that walk. Midtown is the ONE place I always wanted to live in Memphis, and it was so accessible. It was a place I really wanted to live, and a lifestyle I wanted to live that I actually COULD live. Walking by the Thames, I wondered what it would be like to live in the apartments along the river (and not the disgusting little thing that James lives in...for those of you that know), and I wondered what it would be like to live in the pretty little houses in Camden, or Notting Hill, or even shepherds bush...and I London, I will NEVER be able to live in the places I dream about living. I will always have to settle for something less than what I want. Living in midtown was exactly what I wanted...and I could have it. BUT...I digress. Once I decided that the tube was probably safe to brave (as during certain times, it is more than an unpleasant experience), I found my way to the London Bridge station and jumped on....I had to wait through one train, but the next one that came...I got a seat right away, and started reading my Greek Myths insert...trying to get the visions of Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom out of my head....not because they aren't guiltily pleasing, but because they aren't...I don't know....because that's just gay (not that there's anything wrong with that). Anywho...I'm reading, and you all KNOW the story...Paris gets the girl as a gift from Aphrodite. She falls madly in love with him despite the fact that she has kids and a husband, and she runs away with him. Then, her husband convinces, like, a bajillion guys from home to sail over to get her back from Troy...and they happily jump into those thousand ships...even ones that just got married, like, minutes before....AND THERE IT IS MY FRIENDS. A universal truth that I have discovered...and found strangely comforting. Men will drop everything for some action. Even if it's for some other girl that isn't even in love with her husband in the first place...they'll say it's the principal...or it's...I don't know...but once it hits...there's no stopping them(sorry guys...don't worry...I'll comment on the girls in a minute here). SO, when my boyfriend is all "music festival or bust" when, instead, he could be hanging with me, I'm reminded of the guy who sailed to Troy the day after his wedding only to be killed immediately. This hurt his wife so much that, despite the fact that he had gladly run off to defend some OTHER woman, she made an image of the guy and curled up in bed with it. The gods took pity on her and let her have another night, but when that night was over, she burned the image and threw her body on the flames. AND THERE IT IS AGAIN. It's always been this way. Why has the idea of being separated from a lover scared us so much that we've considered not living anymore? Why, when I read a book like Jane Smiley's The All True Travels and Adventures of Lydie Newton , and when her husband gets shot half-way through, do I think to myself, "How can I possibly finish this book?" Don't we eventually realize our own potential? I mean...yeah, but that instinct is ALWAYS there. It's undeniable. What is it that we really want? What are the guys running off to? What are they really trying to find? What are we ladies scared of? What do we need? What do we WANT? and do we EVER really...really get it? Living where I wanted to live was one thing, but I never stopped wanting know...other thing...never stopped being truly terrified of having to live without it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that everyone is looking for comfort and reassurance that we are important and needed. We will never stop needing it from different avenues and can't find it within ourselves. Maybe the trick is to recognize the need and figure out healthy ways to fulfill it and to keep it from taking us over.

And I know what you mean about not being able to afford a place where you would like to live. I know that your housing market is insanely more costly than mine, but it's still frustrating, even more so lately because my little sister will soon be buying a house at an affordable rate in a neighborhood she likes in Memphis. But it's Memphis.