Monday, January 18, 2016

You Know You're Going to Fall

Why do we "fall" in love? Why do we not "jump" into love? Or "run" into love? Or "dance" into love?

Falling has a negative connotation, don't you think? If you fall, you hurt yourself. At the least, you're greatly embarrassed. But sometimes you break your hip or your nose. Falling hurts.

Risk also applies to falling. If you step out onto the ice, you risk a slip.

The freedictionary.com defines fall as "passing suddenly and passively into a state of body or mind," as in, falling ill. Or falling off a truck and knocking yourself unconscious.

Falling in love implies we have no control over it - it's something that just happens. You aren't expecting it or anticipating it, or even hoping for it, maybe. It's like a meteor out of the sky, clunking you on your noggin.

But is that really true? Did I "fall" in love with my husband? I met him, I liked him, I grew to love him. It happened very quickly - I was ready to marry him two months after we met, and a year later there we were walking down the aisle - but I am not sure I fell in love with him.

Isn't falling in love really more infatuation? Does that last? My husband and I became friends first, enjoying each other's company and sense of humor, discussing things that interested us, talking about movies and songs. Chemistry played a role, for sure. Is it pheromones that make you "fall" in love?

Last year about this time, The New York Times published a list of 36 questions that, if answered honestly, would make you fall in love with someone (after you then stare into their eyes for four minutes). The questions rapidly move from impersonal to very personal.

The Big Bang Theory took this on in an episode where Penny and Sheldon asked one another the questions. In the end, they felt closer to one another, but they did not fall in love. However, they were already friends to begin with.

On the other hand, the most recent Reader's Digest has an article in it wherein a couple who barely knew one another tried these questions, and they ended up married.

Did they "fall" in love? Or did they grow to love another?

Language is tricky, especially English, which is incredibly nuanced, not to mention insane sometimes when you have something like "I'm going through a place where I threw away something important even though I thought it was irrelevant." Wouldn't that sentence trip up someone learning the language? Through, threw, though, thought. So close in meaning or pronunciation, yet so far.

Every day I fall. Most of us do, if we take any risk at all. We fall on our face trying to make something out of nothing. We fall trying to impress our boss, our spouse, our kids, our friends. We fall off our diets. We fall when we turn our backs on important community endeavors. We fall when we look at our phones instead of one another.

Is it an accident of language that "fall" and "fail" are so much alike as words?

Even though we fall constantly, in some way, generally we stand back up. We brush the dust off our butts and go one about our day. Sometimes we haven't even realized we've fallen - we continue to scoot along on the floor, still going, just not in the way we thought we were.

And then there is the notion that mankind is "fallen" - as in full of sin. Born of sin. This is not a concept I adhere to, but many people do. We are not of God or angels, but fallen beings, lowly and unworthy, this theory goes. Humanity is not perfect; therefore, the species has fallen.

I see us falling backwards as a society, spiraling towards some kind of fascist dark age where those who love learning and wisdom are treated with disdain, and the foolish and unwise are lauded and loved. A curious sort of tumble down the rabbit hole, where the majority drank out of the wrong bottle and can't figure out how to reach the other one, the one filled with common sense.

We are going to fall. Each nation eventually falls; each society will sometime crumble and fall into a dismal state. We climb high and fall, maybe not so far down. Maybe each day really is one step forward, two steps backwards, or vice versa. If it's the latter then eventually we will get to where we are headed, one tiny little step at time. We will move forward individually and collectively, falling down and rising up again.

We all fall. Even if that tiny little step is to fall in love while we sit and watch the moon.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed that ep of TBBT, and while Penny and Sheldon did not fall in love, they did get to know each other better and became better friends.

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