The Guatemalan has posed me a challenge. "Write about love," he said, when I asked plaintively, "What should I write about?"
Well, obviously there's no way I can write about love. First of all, it's way too vague of a concept. Second, it's...you know...gooey. Third, it's...well, what is it exactly?
The word love conjures instantly for me pink and orange cartoon images of big-eyed kitty kats holding baby puppies with fwoppy ears and glossy full-page black-and-white pictures of mature gentlemen and women with perfect teeth holding hands and romping through the ivy towards giant heart pendants (and matching earrings - because she's so damn picky) set with actual diamonds suggestive of the decades they've been married, the children they've raised lovingly to become doctors and lawyers and CEOs of large bankrupt companies, the pure timelessness of triple-digit salaries. Not that I see anything wrong with triple-digit salaries, you understand. But I wouldn't personally spend mine on a diamond heart pendant.
So you understand why I can't take the Guatemalan's challenge. Clearly, I don't get love.
I do get other things, though.
For example, I get why a person might want to bake cookies for another person who has had a bad day at school, even if it's nine o'clock at night. I get why sometimes a person who isn't particularly partial to Chinese food might suggest to another person that "maybe we should order take-out from Guilin tonight and watch Seinfeld." I understand that when my mother sends me a box of magazines and a couple bags of mini chocolate Dove bars and maybe a new blue t-shirt that the magazines and the Dove bars and the t-shirt aren't really magazines and Dove bars and a t-shirt at all but indicative of something else. Something that made my mother willing to wait in line at the post office and spend more money on mailing the box than she did on the magazines. I totally get why it's sometimes okay to let your dog up on the bed with you at three in the morning, even though you're going to wake up with a backache and a Charley horse. I understand pictures drawn of smiling people and smothered with hot pink feathers and glitter and heart stickers, and I understand awkwardly handmade bracelets, and I have understood friendship pins 4-ever. I understand mixtapes and Flickr links and favorite recipes passed through email and birthday checks and spur-of-the-moment dinners-out on Wednesday nights during which someone orders the duck (on a Wednesday!) and how deeply affecting pirate sounds can be when emitted by a two-year-old and why Nana is still afraid when I slice vegetables that I will cut myself even though I'm thirty-three years old.
That stuff I get.
Anyway, right now I've got to crawl under the couch to retrieve a slimy tennis ball again, and after that I want to go put the bed together. I don't care so much about making the bed for myself. It's just that the Guatemalan's been going through a rough patch, and smoothed sheets and puffed pillows and lavender oil can sometimes make a person feel better about these things.
So maybe later I'll address his challenge. Love schmove.