Monday, February 12, 2007

Half Of Infinity

As metaphors go, the metaphor of an invisible wall is not a bad one. It captures how I feel and the futility of my desire.

Where did this metaphor come from?

It was inspired in part by Ed, a guy from Utah I met at WWW7 in Brisbane in 1998. We spent a few enjoyable nights discussing philosophies of life over a beer or two. During one of these discussions he mentioned how he conceived of his marriage as a house of many rooms, some rooms were hers, some were his and some were shared. The house was never quite finished, always being worked on.

I thought that his metaphor was great and when I related it to my own life at the time, the metaphor of the invisible wall just made so much sense. I could catch glimpses of her, but I could no longer get near to her - emotionally or physically.

What are the attributes of this wall? Invisible, impenetrable, timeless and infinite.

It's invisibility is not so relevant any more - it was more relevant when we were still working for the same employer and occasionally communicating. If I look through the wall now, there is rarely anything to see, since she is so very far away in every sense of those words.

Impenetrable? It is surely that. There is nothing I can do to break it down and I have long since stopped trying. I flail my arms against it occasionally, but not because I expect it to give way. There is, perhaps, a certain irony that in the last couple of years I have taken to climbing walls at the gym. Only up and down, mind you - never across the top.

Timeless? When I first noticed the wall, it appeared to have arisen spontaneously out of nowhere. At first, I hoped it would disappear, but the horrifying realisation that it was here to stay slowly dawned on me. Now, however, I think it is more useful to consider that it always has been and always will be there and that I only noticed its existence when she started to move away and I found myself unable to follow.

Infinite? Yep, that it is. This wall has no top, it has no edge. There is no way around it, over it or under it.

In effect, the wall divides the universe in two: between the universe of the impossible and the universe of the possible. She is beyond the wall, in the land of the impossible. I am here in front of the wall in the land of the possible, forever wanting to move beyond it.

On the bright side, half of infinity is still infinity. And, yes, I know I should content myself with that which I can find in this half of infinity. The Whitlams have a song with lyrics that are somewhat relevant:

Some say love it only comes once in a lifetime
Well once is enough for me
She was one in a million
So there's five more just in New South Wales

I had to laugh today when I realised that these lyrics come from a song whose title is none other than: Up Against The Wall.


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