Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I remember one time in science class at school, doing something with magnets. Being a resoundingly mediocre student, I didn’t understand what the point to the class was, but was fascinated by how the magnets would repel each other if their same poles were aligned. Moving one magnet closer to the other, would force the other to slide quickly out of range.

Perhaps it was the joint I had smoked in the toilets before class, but to me this was a simple yet perfect metaphor for human relationships, and even now, years later, the image of that sliding magnet often springs to mind.

(I just re-read that paragraph. Am now quite sure the joint was to blame. Therefore, should probably keep my later cocaine-fuelled insights on ants to myself.)

When I hear the Barbra Striesand song, "People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world," I feel a sharp surge in irritation. Not just for the cheap, hideous sentimentality of the lyrics, but for what I see as being a mental illness sublimated in song.

The Tedious Acquaintance had rung, and we had a brief conversation (I am not one much for telephone conversations, so with me they are inevitably brief). However, every time I attempted to wrap the call up, she would blurt out some disjointed question, or half-witted and dull anecdote.

"I really must go," I said finally.
"Oh, please don't," she said in a small voice, "please stay and talk to me. I'm lonely."
My brain veritably fizzed in my head. I could see the magnet sliding across the table.
"Only stupid people get lonely," I hissed, "if you are capable of holding a thought in your head, there is no excuse for loneliness. There should be plenty in there to keep you busy."
"Don’t you ever get lonely?"
“Never. Go take some drugs, or read a book, or something.”

Of all the unappealing traits that my fellow humans can manifest – neediness is the worst, an utterly selfish act. Who would really want company given for the sake of guilt or obligation? Is company grudgingly granted really better than none at all?


llew said...

Buy her a budgie.

laughykate said...

Sometimes you just have to shut the puppy outside.

Kublai Kahn said...

That'll cost you a couple more spins on the wheel of samsara Mrs. S.

Mrs Smith said...

Kublai, I think I was being quite helpful, really. Anyway. I belong to the evolutionary school of thought. You know, the strong survive, the weak get eaten (or shouted at).

unPC lesbian said...

Give her the magnets and see if she can figure it out

Mark said...

"should probably keep my later cocaine-fuelled insights on ants to myself."

Oh please! I'll tell you my cocaine-fueled insights if you tell me yours!

Yo go first...

Ms Klake said...

It's true, with enough self absorption and a mind capable of more than the most rudimentary of thoughts loneliness should rarely be an issue.

Then again, maybe she's one of those insane extroverts who need to interact with people all the fucking time. It's no wonder you call her tedious.

A said...

"Is company grudgingly granted really better than none at all?"

I replaced "company" with all sorts of words , sex , money , friendship and it all plays out the same except when you use "independance". Thus the answer to your friends problem is a divorce.

Oswald Bastable said...

A friend of mine used to call them 'Emotional Vampires'

Never a truer word...

The Perfect Man said...

Those who most want company drive it away.

No one likes hanging with people one can't respect...and feeling sorry isn't respect.