a&e on friendship
May 24, 2002 11:54 PM

The difference between [a cow and a bean is a bean can begin an adventure]. The difference between those who love you and those you do not is in their eyes. In how they see you.

This occurred to me while watching the ever-famous, pop-culturized (at least in England) BBC/A&E production of Pride & Prejudice this evening. The frantic search for identification (see earlier entry, and not to be confused with a search for identity) left me with a desperate need to be calmed. A need anyone would have at four in the morning.

I've always wondered why, if he's not something of an asshole, Darcy bothered to propose the first time at all. Apart, of course, from the need to set up the rest of the plot. But I can see a justification now. When you love someone, you assume you can understand them. You assume, even more, that they can understand you. And so, being in love, Darcy might have assumed Elizabeth got his subtext when all she heard was his literal meaning.

She was a rare thing, fine as a beeswing
So fine a breath of wind might blow her away
She was a lost child, she was running wild
She said, "As long as there's no price on love I'll stay
And you wouldn't want me any other way"

I work with a group of girls who are clearly not friends, whatever we may say. And this is why: because, all things being equal, we choose to interpret each others' words in the worst ways. Too often we read without even the benefit of doubt.

If we were truly friends, doubt wouldn't even be a need. We would assume the best. Not only of the words, but of their intentions. Of each other in general. Because part of affection is that assumption of understanding, of shining the very best light on things.

This is also why it never matters when someone you love tells you how fabulous you are. Or it matters, but doesn't carry the intended meaning. It's not that you believe that person is lying (which is something I've been accused of saying), but that you know intuitively that their opinion is so colored.

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