Only God Knows Why

My Father’s Greyhounds
July 7, 2010, 12:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Love divides people.  There.  I said it.  Now, while it may fly in the face of pop-music wisdom (a formidable force, which, admittedly, I can’t, without a trace of hypocrisy, fault you for following):  Hear me out on this one.

When it comes to love,  it seems like you’ve got two opposing camps of people and they are almost continuously sniping at each other.  You’ve got your people who think that love is fantastic, and you’ve got your people that think love is bullshit, and at times, downright soul(and society)-destroying. 

Sitting down to a conversation with your friends about past relationships will reveal just how much these two types of people don’t see heart to errmm—black…empty..hole (Just kidding, guys).  One lot of people are singing the praises of how beautiful things are when they work out, the other group that it’s all in their (neurotransmitted-filled) heads.  I mean, depending on the events immediately preceeding the conversation, you can switch between camps, but at the end of the (emotionally neutral) day, you have to admit that most people tend to fall pretty neatly into one or the other.

To me, love seems to be one of the most controversial abstract concepts you can have a conversation about.  People will openly say, “Oh, I love being in love,” just as comfortably as some people will say, “Fuck that shit.  Pass the whiskey.” 

In fact, it seems the only product of meta-cognition to enjoy such a debate.  I mean, really, despite what they may do, how many people do you hear actually saying, “I just HATE justice,” or “Liberty…  Nah, I’m good, thanks.” 

Poor love.

Anyway.  On a normal day, I feel as if I am walking completely on the line with this one.  I don’t often find myself being like “Ah, love, you buoyant abstract concept!”  Nor am I often like, “Ah, love!  Your pernicious bastard!  Threatening to uproot the very core of my existence and eat all of my cheese without asking.”   However, I do have my extreme tangles with it which have me rapidly shifting from one side to the other.

I think that it is this lack of theoretical basis that leaves my dating life in a complete shambles which encroaches upon the rest of my (platonic) relationships.  I  am an absolutely terrible judge of character when it comes to someone I think I might like.  If you did a vox pop on a random person in the street, I would be able to tell you, with certainty, what I think they’re like.  

“Mmmm…what a lovely porridge of fair judgement,” is something you might say to this certainty.

And feelings to that mix, and suddenly there’s oats flying everywhere, milk is splattered all over the microwave and there’s honey in the eyes of random children, who got to to close to the poor judgement.  (Run, children, run!) My judgement more than flies out the window…it takes a holiday to New Zealand (where it goes in one of those plastic waterfilled balls and rolls down a hill, getting all dizzy and ill, then throws up on itself). 

And it’s not like (for those of you in one of the above camps) I can reliably predict which way my bias my go.  I can swing from being extremely, outrageously avoidant of relationships (to paraphrase: “NEIGH!!!  You’re a great guy, but  I am going to invent imaginary problems with you so I can rear up on my horsey hind legs and slam my hooves into you, thus crushing you’re imaginarily bastardly face.”) to unbelievably tolerant of poor behaviour (to paraphrase:  “Oh, you’re going to leave me drunkenly alone.  Never mind!  I shall continue to have this crush upon you, even though you aren’t aware of it.”).

You can see my confusion. 

I do, however, fall into one of the other two love camps which further muddies the judgemental waters: those that love the beginning stages of relationships and those that hate them.  With the amount of vitri0l I feel for it, it’s as if the beginning of relationships really did eat the last of my cheese.  And not only the last of MY cheese, but the last of all the cheese EVER and it didn’t even ask if anyone else wanted some before it just  ate it all up.

 Two of my friends absolutely love getting into new relationships:  it’s exciting, you get to learn all about them, everything is new.  However, my friend’s boyfriend and I absolutely fucking detest it to extreme outer reaches of our bodies.  Even our fingernails hate it.  In fact, it makes our fingernails feel as if they’re being forcibly removed.

  I don’t think I can really share how much extreme dislike we have for it.   I don’ t see how so many people (okay, I do, but still…)  can enjoy the starts of relationships.  To me, there’s all sorts of mines that can possibly go off when you have the hots for someone. The worst bit is between realising that you like them and actually care what they do, to when you’re actually dating them.  (If you’re still confused as to which bit I’m referring, you may also refer to it personally as “The best bit.”)

 Everyone always tells me that I should enjoy the uncertainty.  Fuck that!  In what other area of life would I have to enjoy such anxiety?  “Oooh….there may or may not be poison in your milk — how exciting for you!” or perhaps 
“Who knows what time your favourite TV show starts, you’ll just have to turn on the TV and hope for the best!  Could be Guther-Renker advertisements again!”  How many people call in a bomb threat saying, “Get this, you losers who did an unspecified bad thing to me that was so terrible it motivated me to  extreme violence:  There MAY or MAY NOT be a bomb in the building.”  See.  Nobody likes uncertainty.  Not even villains.

In fact, while in general, I’m pretty open to what other people do with their lives whether it’s my thing or not, I can come down really hard on differences in people I like. 

How many times have you liked someone and found out that they were a) bangin’ someone else, b) cooking drugs and selling them to children c) burning down puppy orphanages or d) miscellaneous “other” deal breakers (eg.  Wearing odd socks?  Squeezing from the middle of the tube?  The mind boggles!  (Oh, add “playing boggle” to the list).)

And it sucks when one of these ‘pre-relationship’ mines go off.   Sometimes you can get your foot off slowly and safely and walk away with your buddies to laugh about it. 

But other times.  AH! Other times!  You blow half your fricken body off. 

While this exact situation has never happened to me (I don’t have a sister), I can only imagine it goes something like this: “BAM!  The guy you like is actually likes your sister.” “AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!  WHERE’S MY FRICKEN LEG?!?”

Given that sort of anxiety, you would think that I could eventually man up and give something a shot.  But it makes things even worse.  I turn avoiding into an extreme sport.

 I can’t tell if I feel anxious just because my horsey insides are playing the ‘waiting for an unexpected mine’ game or because I’m really about to waste some time with a person who isn’t worth it/or just not that into me.  (In the words of John Safran at the start of this fantastic video:  “AHH!! I hate that BOOOK!!”)

So, knowing that I can, in no way, EVER under NO circumstances, trust my own judgement, I absolutely foist myself upon my friends in the most horrific of ways.  I make them listen to the current problem and tell me what I should do.  I don’t settle for the usual, “Follow your heart,” crap — (my heart is on a plane to the Bahamas to get away from this!  And it probably forgot sunscreen.  Poor, stupid heart.)  So, instead of asking advice, I ask them what they have done in similar past situations. 

The poor bastard who bears most of the brunt of this is my father.  I am constantly asking him, “If you liked a girl would you do ((insert potentially terrifying behaviour here.))”

 When I told him the story a particularly awful dinner to him, he tried to be diplomatic.  My Dad, poor guy, always attempts to be diplomatic at first.  The conversation went a little something like this:

“If you liked a girl, would you (insert aforementioned evidence of poor behaviour), Dad?” (I’m embarrassed to admit there was probably a little lip wobble at this point.)

“Well…I don’t know.”

“Oh come on, don’t give me that.  If you liked a girl, would you do that, or not?”

“Okay.  Well, no.  I personally wouldn’t do that, but things these days are different.  Society is different.  Men and women interact differently to how they did when I was brought up.”


((Satisfied silence from Dad, thinking he has dodged a bullet.  Smugly sitting there, having thus avoided: a) a crying drunken girl in his car in the middle of the night and b) making her feel worse by passing judgement on this recent shitacular development, and possibly accidentally, causing a.))

“Well, what did you do when you liked a girl?”

“Oh, I dunno…”

“Okay.  Well, just tell me one time when you really liked a girl.”

And this brings me to the point of today’s post, read this story.  Even if you’ve skim read the rest, at least give this the 2% fat read.

Dad: “Well, there was this girl I used to love when I was about 16.  She lived just down the road from me.  And every morning she had to wake up at 4.30 to walk her father’s greyhounds.  So anyway, I really, really wanted to talk to her.  I was willing to do pretty much anything.  So every single day I used to get up at 4.30 to walk her father’s greyhounds just so I had a chance to speak to her every day.”

Well, fuck. 


I remember sitting in the silent car as it made the turns to my house feeling absolutely blown away.

How the fuck can you argue with how someone should be treating you after that?

I guess, after all the bullshit, in this case, 1630 words of it, we’re all  just looking for someone who wants to walk your father’s greyhounds with you.


1 Comment so far
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ahahahahah “there may or may not be poison in your milk — how exciting for you!”.. i’m sure when people say you’re meant to ‘enjoy the uncertainty’ they dont exactly mean it like that.. (though they might, haha)

i guess my feeling is that, while its agonising and exciting at the time of not-knowing if he ‘does or doesn’t like you’, you are at the same time enjoying being able to be with them, jumping at every chance to spend some time with them, get to know more, and hopefully hopefully have it lead to something great!

p.s. i really like your dad’s greyhound story, and the tone you finished that piece of with!


Comment by heidi

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