August 8, 2011

I’m sure you’ve heard the old one about how the good ones are all either gay or married. I was thinking about this a couple of days ago, and decided that maybe the reasons they seem the good ones is because they are so removed from us.

Not in the sense of the grass being greener and all, though that is certainly a factor, but also merely that the personal distance from someone often helps us view them in a very different light. Imagine if you knew your friend, not as your friend, but as a competent architect, or a sympathetic teacher, or an efficient bureaucrat. She would be a different person then. Imagine if your favourite singer were your lover rather than a media prop-up (imagine, not fantasize, I said :P). Would they still be your favourite singer?

The realization that set off this train of thought was that I had no idea of how my parents, both of whom work outside the home, are as professionals. Are they team-players in their hospitals, or leaders, or do they work best solo? Would my mother deal with an underperforming junior the same way she chides me for not putting in my best? Is my father as fastidious about his schedule at work as he is about brewing his tea just so? And the consequent wondering whether I knew them fully as persons at all without knowing that aspect of them. And whether it is possible to know anyone in that manner, short of spending every waking moment with them.