case of the mondays

December 7, 2009

today is a good day for this, because i am in a ragingly terrible mood. anyway, i was doing my morning blog roll and discovered the following quote:

“What we share, Jon and I, may be a lot like a traffic accident, but we do share it. We are survivors, of each other. We have been shark to one another, but also lifeboat. That counts for something.”

—Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

and, well, i rather like that. i mean, it’s nicely written, yes, but it’s also such a lovely way of capturing the way that love and hate are the same thing, and how you can still love someone even when you’ve damaged each other quite extensively. this, in turn, brings me to one of my very favorite songs:

mountain goats – “no children

I hope that our few remaining friends 
Give up on trying to save us 
I hope we come up with a failsafe plot 
to piss of the dumb few that forgave us 
I hope the fences we mended 
Fall down beneath their own weight 
And I hope we hang on past the last exit 
I hope it’s already too late 
and I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here 
Someday burns down 
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away 
and I never come back to this town again 
in my life 
I hope I lie 
and tell everyone you were a good wife 
and I hope you die 
I hope we both die 
I hope I cut myself shaving tommorow 
I hope it bleeds all day long 
Our friends say it’s darkest befor the sun rises 
We’re pretty sure they’re all wrong 
I hope it stays dark forever 
I hope the worst isn’t over 
I hope you blink before I do 
and I hope I never get sober 
and I hope when you think of me years down the line 
you can’t find one good thing to say 
and I hope that if I found the strength to walk out 
You’d stay the hell out of my way 
I am drowning 
there is no sign of land 
your are coming down with me 
Hand in unloveable hand 
and I hope you die 
I hope we both die

i’m not even sure where to start with what i love about this song. i love the angry lyrics matched with the upbeat music. i love the passion that john darnielle puts into singing. but, more than any of that, i lovelovelove the way that despite all the anger the narrator is directing at his lover, he still sees them as a unit: “you are coming down with me / hand in unloveable hand.” fucked up though their relationship is, they are still a unit, making each other miserable and spitting in the face of the world. 

maybe it’s because i’m a child of divorce, from a family of divorce, but i used to think that you stayed married because you were happy with the relationship. if you were unhappy, you bailed, obviously. but as i’ve gotten older i’ve realized that people get involved and stay in relationships for any number of reasons. i remember talking to a friend a few years ago; all his stories about his family painted his mom as this awesome woman and his dad as a complete asshole, and i finally asked him why on earth they were still married. and he said, “he gave her stability and family, which is all that she wanted.” to me, that seems rather sad, but then those aren’t the things that i crave from relationships. we all make compromises in life, sacrificing to get what we want.

i suppose what i’m trying to get at here is it took me a long time to realize that emotions and relationships are seldom simple or straightforward. it seems obvious, i know, and i guess that, had i been asked, i would have said that of course nothing is straightforward, especially relationships. but i don’t think i really understood that until the past few years; another part of growing up. and i think part of the reason that i particularly adore sad and angry songs, songs about collapse and craziness, is that they explore the ways that life’s chaos is occasionally insurmountable, no matter how logical you want to be: the lover you can’t get over even though you know she’ll never come back; the lover you keep returning to, no matter how many times he breaks your heart; the woman you still consider your wife, even though you hate each other.


One comment

  1. As one who has gotten into and stayed in relationships for reasons I still don’t understand, I’ll suggest that the “growing up” continues, and at another stage of it relationships again become straightforward, and if you’re unhappy—that is, if the other person’s behavior is unacceptable—you bail. Just sayin’.

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