Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Seeking Pirates

Despite having been awake since three o'clock this morning, one of the hazards of His Flying Romance, I'm finding it hard to fall asleep tonight. Wrapped in darkness and bedsheets, my mind keeps skimming over a dozen thoughts, from baking pies to vases of home grown flowers, to sleeping on a friend's sofa in Oxford. Quite obviously my brain has decided that 20 hours of up-time (which is about four more than my nanna-esque usual) isn't enough for me today.

This evening I finished reading Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - a story about love... as you may expect.

For those who haven't read it, the short of it is that Florentino Ariza falls in love with Fermina Daza when they are both in the blossom of youth. She spurns him and later marries another, but he spends the next 50 years as a bachelor, waiting for her husband to die so that they can finally be together.

Now, I'm not going to write a review - the last time I did that was too long ago to remember, but I found myself torn between cheering on Florentino with passion and hope, supporting whole-heartedly his determination to be with the woman he loved no matter how heart-wrenching it was to watch her live her life happily with someone else, and sneering at him with disgust for his utter foolishness and the willful waste of his own life.

The reason for my personal debate, I realised, was based on two opposing views on love. The first, ingrained since childhood and supported utterly by my many, many viewings of The Princess Bride, is that true love is the greatest thing in the world (except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich), and is therefore worth fighting and waiting for above all else. The second, more modern view, being that there is no magical true love and that one could find happiness with any number of people (as the odds of finding 'the one' out of the entire population of this lovely planet is so ridiculously, well, ridiculous)... it just comes down to settling on one of them.

The older I get, the more I realise it's hard being a romantic nowadays. Romantic tales generally end with the couple overcoming a few hardships (such as being kidnapped by pirates or attacked by rodents of unusual size), before they tootle off to live happily ever after somewhere in our imaginations. Real life seems to mimic this less and less - I believe the problem lies in a shortage of pirates.

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