JournalismPakistan.com July 20, 2018
There are two kinds of chemistries. The first is that subject in school where we put all kinds of stuff in test tubes and they stank up the room and some of us were good at it and some so lousy that getting a 35 pass mark was a cause for celebration. I was in category II.
Then, there is the attraction between two people that we also call chemistry. Not always man and woman, even work-related, corporate cooperation in ventures and all that. Either you are made for each other or you are not.
Have you noticed how each of us is attracted to a certain type of person in the opposite sex? Personality, shape, age, intellect, even complexion and features. Very rarely do we get all the boxes ticked but a few points get that 'ok' and we make do because that is the best there is. I mean, you cannot get it all, so settle for a fair deal.
Then, every now and then we find someone who fits the bill so perfectly that we cannot believe it. Every box ticked and then some. Smart. Doing well. Intelligent. Funny. Even has a good family and no baggage. Whew, where did this person come from? In theory, it is ideal.
But there is zero electricity. Like nothing at all. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Why is that? Shouldn't the sparks have flown because on paper this is what the doctor ordered?
I have a theory. That person so totally fits the bill that we go into overload and short circuit. It is just too perfect and we cannot take anything without a flaw. That is the story of the human race. Anything utopian or ideal leaves us stone cold.
We might pretend to write about it and create songs seeking perfection and constantly strive to achieve and attain that pinnacle, but we do not want to get there because then there is nothing left to aspire to and we need that flaw to keep us going.
That most of us go through life not even recognizing this factor is sadness in itself, but if there is no milestone ahead you might as well be going around in circles on a wooden horse. The sameness, however splendid, can be soul destroying.
I see it all the time. The deal was perfect. The couple was perfect. The plan was perfect. The elements that went into the arrangement were exactly as per specs. Then what happened? It went belly up. We cannot understand why it fell apart and we agonize over it.
Very simple. Perfection is boring. Like a Norman Rockwell painting with sunbeams dancing on the kitchen floor. Families frolicking on the beach with Rover the spaniel. Ideal homes, all done up like they were pages torn from a glossy magazine. Unreal and dull and boring.
Perfection is exactly that, even if we do not realize it. Perhaps it is because perfection is an illusion, something that does not exist. After all, even the peacock has ugly feet. Let me explain. I was mentioning to my wife the other day that between a husband and a wife all is forgiven except if he bores her. That is deadly. Women cannot stand being bored by a man. Though it should work both ways, it surprisingly does not. Men are more tolerant of boredom. It is a woman thing. You can be poor, be a loser, be crooked, she can take it, but be boring and it is a total turnoff.
If you have it all, does life become boring? Suddenly there are no goals, nothing but everything.
Why I have chosen this subject is because a friend is drifting away from her husband after 30 years of being high achievers. They started with very little (we are still there), raced by us (for which I shall never forgive them), bought a villa in Spain (we still live in a rented place), and were deep into la dolce vita (the good life, you twit!); their 'togetherness' was enviable. But as they came closer to that perfect life for which they had slogged so hard and overcome so many obstacles, they found themselves. You guessed it. Getting bored with each other. She felt claustrophobic. N, it isn't over yet, so let me correct that. She feels claustrophobic. He finds getting up in the morning from silken sheets and regulated ozone rooms unexciting and the day stretches emptily and drearily.
Over the past few months, they have stopped speaking to each other, more into flinging little barbs at each other.
She feels desolate and lonely, like a canary in a cage, nice cage but still a cage.
Life was so much more fun when there were challenges and they faced them together, and now they have it all and are poorer for it.
I tell them that they won't get much sympathy from anyone. I mean people would die to be in their shoes, this sounds like extreme ingratitude for the good things that are there in their lives.
If they have decided to become jaded, that is their fault and running away from each other is not the answer. Do something for others, spread the cheer, go on a mission to improve someone's lot, all this advice falls on deaf years.
Guess they are not able to score 35 per cent in chemistry.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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