I've come to realize that getting a celebrity's autograph is pointless. Meeting a celebrity in person can be a giddy experience, but the scratchy signature they make--probably you'll never even look at it again, and if you do, the only joy in it is remembering the meeting. And what a waste if the only thing you remember about the meeting is "oh yeah, Bruce Campbell--I made him write his name on some paper and then I walked away." I've met a couple famous people since and I've shook hands or exchanged a few words, left without any souvenir, and been happy.
For the same reason, I don't take a lot of photos. Occasionally I'll take touristy (or naked) pics to share with people, or I'll take a stab at artsy photography, but I almost never take photos of my friends; I don't do bar pics or party pics. Looking at the photo won't take me back to the day when "MOOSE EARS!" was the funniest joke ever told. Nothing will take me back to that day. And that's okay. I had that day. And do I really want to relive "MOOSE EARS!" forever when the future might hold, say, "T-REX HANDS!"?
It's a shame to waste a moment by trying to make it into an artifact. Life is ephemeral, memories don't have shit on experiences, and any artifacts that don't rot or demagnetize will be incinerated when the sun swallows the earth. Realizing this is what made me able to fall in love.
Love is wonderful and warmfuzzy and joyous, and it always ends in pain. There's no "happily ever after," because in real life, the story keeps going until you break up or someone dies. The best you can hope for is to get hit by a bus together.
Except that's not true. The best you can hope for is to spend a summer evening lying in the grass with your head on his belly, hands loosely entwined, talking about nothing, watching the orange glow of sunset wash over the clouds. The moment isn't forever; it's only good. Better to love and lose and all that. Better to go through the cycle of suffering, to want and not have, to have and not keep, to endure the pain every time around, than never to have those moments at all.
At the end there's nothing. I don't have a damn thing to paste in my scrapbook or frame on my shelf. Even the memories cause more grief than joy to think about. Why the fuck did I even bother? Because I was happy. And that time is as real as now.
I don't want to lose love. I want those ephemeral good parts to be as long and as many as possible. I don't like that love--or life, for that matter--is temporary. But I accept it. It's worth it.
This isn't a breakup or pre-breakup post or anything like that. It's just a reflection. Right now I'm in a happy relationship, and I worry sometimes that it'll hurt when it ends. Telling myself "don't think about that" doesn't work with my model of thinker, and telling myself "maybe it'll last forever" sells about as well as saying that my kitty went to a nice farm upstate. (Also, I feel like staying with someone forever no matter what is about as pleasant as a thirty-year-old crippled cat with cancer still staggering helplessly around some farm.) So instead I tell myself "it will hurt. That's the price you pay."
I'm willing to pay. The price is fair--no, not fair, it's a goddamn steal for all this joy. Just bill me later, please.