She said to me. Provocatively, I believed. Deliberately to provoke. But her point was as follows. She said, once you read a romance book you get to know the formula a bit, and once you read ten you know the formula cold. You do not need to read a new harlequin romance to know it. I have not seen, she would say, the latest fast and furious film, but I can tell you about it just the same. The friends will fight, but in the thick of battle — a battle involving the racing of cars — they will learn that their friendship runs deeper than whatever it was that drove the apart. Probably a woman. Almost certainly a woman. And, people, are like that. I have met nerds who know the Lord of the Rings backwards and forwards. If you are a nerd who is like those nerds, but your obsession is the Japanese pirate cartoon One Piece, I do not need to meet you to know you. When I have tasted a piece of apple I do not need to eat the whole apple to know how it tastes. Appley. Every piece of the apple tastes appley. When you have tasted enough men you know they will taste like Man. You do not need to eat another one.
What a provocative thing to say! As if it were a challenge to me, to differentiate myself, like a sculpture sculpting itself from stone, and leaping forth, into waiting arms.
But who said hers were the arms into which I ought to leap? Who says when she provoked me I needed to respond to the provocation?
Perhaps I should be one of those who in the fact of the provocation turns tail and charts my course, deeper and deeper into the anonymous, the undistinguished, the undifferentiated, the generic?
Like so many others! Like, perhaps, all of us. Born unique and each uniquely launching out on his weird lonely journey to that distant shore called Being the Same!
Does it even exist? When we arrive there will they accept us? Or will the natives tip-toe forth from their forest only to look up us at us timidly, unable to read the strange writing on our faces, rummaging their dictionaries for the meaning of our names, but still in love with the strange visitor, with his smiling face, and brown hair?
Who smells like apples.