Monday, September 29, 2008

Theory of commitment

It was a long, restful and pretty uneventful four-day weekend for me, and thankfully my first day back to work has been slow, leaving me time to blog. Things could pick up quickly this afternoon though.

Thursday was, of course, Bug's birthday, which started out with presents. Along with the plethora of TV show DVDs (The Addams Family, Spaced, Two Fat Ladies, Birds of Prey), books and an Eagles Greatest Hits CD, she also got a cute little Fender guitar amp and a wooden sword made of red oak for her tai chi practice. I miss having a sword in the house - I haven't replaced the one I lost in the fire of 2005. I've never been that much into the martial arts, but I do appreciate the symbolic meaning of blades in Asian culture, as well as pagan practice. Watching Heroes probably puts it even more sharply into focus.

After presents we went to Palisades Center Mall, the tenth-largest shopping mall in the U.S. Bug led us on a tour of all her favorite stores - the Japanese book store, the Asian tea house supply, the Lego store and the Disney store, plus Barnes & Noble, of course. I took a break when everybody gravitated toward the chocolate and candied apple store since I was still on my diet and didn't need the extra temptation. We had a nice lunch at The Cheesecake Factory - it was the first visit for everyone but me, and yet no one had any cheesecake. After all, we had birthday cake waiting at home.

After lunch we played around in the Dave & Buster's game room for a couple hours, playing skeeball, video games and trivia contests. Then it was home for cake (I had a tiny sliver) and watching one of the movies Bug received, Mysterious Island. The movie was fun in a corny, pulpy way, which everyone seemed to be in the mood for. Since it was late, and we were so tired from the day, Tara and I decided to take a raincheck on our planned sleepover, since we were going to get up early the next morning.

Friday I picked up Tara at 10:30 in the morning, and we took the train into the city, whereupon we split up - she took a cab to the Met for an extended solitary visit, and I took the subway to Chinatown for a hair coloring appointment. After about two-and-a-half hours in the salon, my hair is now once again very close to my natural dark brown color, but with just a hint of highlighting in shades of deep russet and ochre in direct light. I made my way uptown to the Met to meet Tara and we had a bite to eat at the museum cafe and a quick look at some of her discoveries before getting back on a rush hour train home. Then in the evening everyone came over to start watching Season Two of Heroes.

Saturday I ran my usual errands, buying lots of carb-friendly food for my diet, and then we had our usual dinner in the evening, followed by a showing of Howl's Moving Castle, which is becoming my favorite Miyazaki movie, displacing Spirited Away, then Saturday Night Live (which unfortunately seems to be losing its spark again after a promising start this year). Sunday was very restful and lethargic, as I didn't leave the apartment at all, even so much as to take out the trash. Even though I was in my pajamas all day long, it didn't bother me the way it used to in the past. I'm learning to enjoy and appreciate my alone time instead of getting melancholy, which is much healthier for me. I cooked food for this week's lunches, watched a lot of TV on my DVR, and one of my Chinese movies I'd checked out of the library, 2046.

On this movie, and a related one that is one of my favorites, Un Coeur En Hiver (A Heart in Winter), it occurs to me watching the protagonists (both male) that there is a fine line separating someone living a polyamorous lifestyle, and someone who has simply closed off from any possibility of a committed relationship. It occurs to me that pursuant to my post about unconditional love that some people might read it and conclude that I don't believe in commitment, since I didn't specifically address it. The answer to that is quite simple really - I believe in a relationship model where you can be equally committed to more than one person at a time. Why is it so hard to understand this, yet people easily grasp the fact you can love more than one child at the same time, or more than one sibling. So what's the difference?

One word - sex.

The root of a monogamous culture is based on taboos and ideals about sex, and by extension, procreation of the human race, which is certainly an important thing. However, they have little meaning for someone who can't have children or chooses not to have children, or someone who can simply view sex as just an extension of all the pleasurable acts we engage in when we love someone. Once we choose not to put such an unjustifiable significance on the sexual aspect of a relationship, it becomes easier to see that multiple romantic relationships (whether they involve sexual relations or not) have just as much validity as multiple familial relationships.

People also talk about how there are only so many hours in a day to devote to yourself and your significant others, and how does one manage to juggle multiple partners when one seems to be more than a handful? Again, I invoke the offspring example. People might talk about how they can't afford another child, but you will rarely hear someone say they don't have enough time or love to bring another child into their family. Of course having everyone under the same roof produces efficiencies that are not always possible with multiple romantic partners, but the concept is largely the same. Every child is considered a blessing - so should it be with new love, if approached with the same level of sensitivity and care as one would employ when bringing home a new baby. And like with those who love children, loving someone should not be considered a burden, but rather something that brings joy and positive energy to your life.

So how to juggle the demands of multiple partners? I really can't answer that authoritatively since I've never actually done it myself. Maybe I never will. But going into any new relationship with a poly mindset will at least give me a good starting framework.

Not that it has anything to do with all this, but Tara and I both had dreams Saturday night where we were either married or getting married. We haven't talked about such heavy, future-related issues for a while, so I'm not sure what those dreams are trying to tell us. They weren't "happily ever after" kind of dreams either - mine was pretty drama-laden involving my estranged birth family, and hers was just surreal. I guess anything's possible in the unknowable future, but I'm not going to spoil the present thinking too much about it.