Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Theory

gratuitous photo of Brown Cat, doing the dishes.

I have developed some weird theories in my life. One of them is that we only have a certain amount of time we can spend with any person before we start to dislike them.

(God, my love of mankind just gushes off the page doesn't it?)

The amount of time varies by person. With some people, the maximum time is about 30 seconds (i'm looking at YOU person teasing the dog tied up in front of the grocery store), and with other people it can be years. But eventually, everyone starts to bug you.

Now (in my theory) if it's someone you like, and you feel the end of that time drawing near, you can take steps to increase the remaining time by taking a break for a while. In this way, you can string the time along for years. I believe this is called "having friends" or maybe "being married."

You can tell when the end of your time is approaching when you find yourself having to bite your tongue in order to avoid snapping at them. Or when you SWEAR, that if they don't stop making that slurping noise whilst eating you WILL commit murder. Of course, if you let it go too long, you will fail to bite your tongue and something very nasty may well spill out. This is called "having a family."

So you see, both of these are true:

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

My little theory has many gaps and 'yes buts' in it, but it's surprising to me how many times over the years i have thought about it.


Robin said...

odd. i don't see any gaps or "yes buts". it makes sense to me. i believe you're on to something.

and.....incredibly, i'm the first to comment! yea, me!

Scott from Oregon said...

Elevators smell different to midgets.

That's my theory.

flutter said...

PLEASE tell me you saw the Mike Tyson special were, for like, 20 mins all he did was yell

"what DO familiarity BREEDS?!?!?!"

flutter said...

um where, not were.

fiwa said...

You are probably right, but it's a very depressing theory. Mostly because I can apply it to myself more than I'd like.

heh, I get a kick out of reading the comments on your blog. ;)

TTQ said...

I once knew I was out of love with a man (boy?) by the way he ate oreos, I wanted to push him into the intercoastle waterway..

Or maim him for life, but alas I just moved out

Stucco said...

Meno- does this apply to you as you relate to yourself?

TTQ- how did he eat the Oreos?

Schmoopie said...

You are simply a genius!

I visited my extended family for the first time in 4 years this summer. I believe I am "stringing time along nicely."

The break we have taken has been far too long! Meet us downtown (sometime soon) for dinner?

Imez said...

I can see how a theory like that would stick with you. The knowledge that no matter how wonderful the person, time is running out, tick tock tick tock.

My god that is depressing. Clinging on to time, trying to extend it.

Does it apply to em?

meno said...

robin, i see lots of qualifiers. Like for spouses and kids and people who i come to like BETTER the longer i know them.

scott, a fine theory. Do you think the elevators smell like ass to midgets?

flutter, NO, i missed it. How sad. Because that Mike is a regular philosopher.

fiwa, yeah, it is kind of depressing, but kind of funny too.

ttq, see? Oreos are a very serious business.

stucco, oh hell yes, there are many days when i'd really like to get the hell away from me.

schmoopie, "stringing time along" You get ot exactly. I wish i'd written that. I'd LOVE to come and meet y'all for dinner! Let's do it.

imez, some days it sure does. But now that she's gone, it will reset the time meter.

Lynnea said...

I think this makes sense. But maybe its a good thing. It could accomplish two things:

teach people to be more aware of their idiosyncratic annoyances

make us work harder for our relationships - then we value them more

oh and bonus, for the 30 second types, a reason to be snarky. if we're brave enough.

Hey this sparked a thought. You know how all of us bloggers go through that inevitable "I just don't feel like blogging" phase? Maybe that is a manifestation of this phenomenon - that we tire of the internet just like people and need a vaction from its neediness.

Marshamlow said...

Perhaps this explains why so many of my friends have "lost" touch with me.

My theory is that my affection toward others ebbs and flows. Somedays I love my friends and family with all my heart, annoyances and all. Other days everything they say and do annoys me. I think it has more to do with what is going on with me and my self esteem than them.

Gina said...

I think you're right - sadly, I am reaching a point like this with a friend. I think we will always be friends to some degree, but I find myself biting my tongue and needing a little bit of that absence.

thailandchani said...

Since I have housemates, I know exactly what you mean! There are times when I really wish they would disappear, even if it's just for a day or two. Maybe then I would come to appreciate them again - but ... ugh!


Mona Buonanotte said...

It's a lot like having a cat. They rub you and you pet them and then there's petting and amore, and then you both grow tired, the cats jumps away, you go do the dishes, and in a few hours you see each other and there's rubbing of ears and such and it's all nice.

Or maybe I'm just being simple.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Right on, sister. RIGHT ON. I wish I would fail to bite my tongue more often. Letting things get pent up is almost more hazardous.

tt said...

Ummm, so where do bloggers enter into that equation?? How long untill you tire of blogs???
Want some cake?

sari said...

Maybe we just need more or less time with ourselves to make us like others more.

I am thinking that may only be true as we get older, as when I was younger I think I was pretty much an idiot, so more time with myself may have driven me off the edge, ha ha.

QT said...

I see no gaps in this perfectly logical thinking.:)

meno said...

maggie, heh, now we have a new shorthand for assholes 'the 30 second types.' I like it. I don't know if it applies to the internets, i'll have to think about that.

marsha, good point. Have you ever 'lost touch' with anyone?

gina, ever gone on a few days vacation with someone, and was never able to think of them the same way again after all that enforced time together? Maybe it's like that.

chani, hmm. i think it might take longer than a few days for your appreciation to re-appear.

mona, good analogy. I alternately love up my kitties and then toss them out the door for a while.

cagey, the non-tongue biting has led to some sad situations for me.

tt, i have no idea how long, but when i do, i will threaten to quit, let you all beg me to come back, relent and come back, threaten to quit again.... and so on! Just kidding, if i want to quit i would, no coy threatening. Cake? hell yes!

sari, that could be exactly true. I know i require time alone periodically.

qt, of course you don't, there ARE no gaps.

crazymumma said...

Those I love definetly drive me the craziest.

Are you missing Em's slurping? aw. I think you are.

Sienna said...

I know this, I know this.....thought it was just me


egan said...

No thinking Meno, I think Maggie's really onto something with her internet theory. I do think Scott's midget elevator theory is interesting.

Next time we meet, perhaps we should get fast food?

Anonymous said...

i try not to know anyone long enough for their disgusting idiosyncrasies get on my nerve.

yeah, my love of mankind is gushing too.

Carolie said...

...and THAT, my friends, is why being married to a Navy man means a better chance for a happy marriage (at least for me!) He's gone long enough that I really miss him...and when he's in port, he leaves *just* about the time he starts to annoy the crap out of me. *happy sigh*

Vanessa said...

I agree some alone time now and then never hurt anyone.

meno said...

crazymumma, actually, Em doesn't slurp. :) But i do miss her.

pam, glad i'm not the only one.

egan, this in no way applies to you.....yet. :)

franki, that works for me.

carolie, i think that is excellent, i heartily approve.

vanessa, it is practically a necessity for me.

Dick said...

I think you realize that there are some people who you actually do like better as time goes by (your comment.) But it is also true that you do at times have to work a bit at your relationships and sometimes let things slide off your back so that they do not start to weigh too heavily. And there sure are some who you miss terribly when they are no longer around.

Cheesy said...

Isn't the taste of tongue blood metalic and slightly bitter?~~

jaded said...

Here we say, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've always wondered about whether "absence makes the heart grow fonder" or if "out of sight, out of mind" prevails.

I think your theory is probably accurate regarding relational longevity. People used to die a lot younger so it was relatively easy to stay married for life. And most of our friends would not be our friends if we had to live with them.

Gina said...

meno - you hit the nail on the head with the vacation comment - that was the beginning of the end.

Mrs4444 said...

This is cracking me up, because there is evidence of this (a friendship that has gone on too long) in my post from Saturday. Poor Mr.4444...

Anonymous said...

Too true and too funny. I like your theory.

egan said...

Phew, I've been spared.

Vulgar Wizard said...

Three years ago I hated it when my husband went off on his weekend hunting trips. Now I find myself asking him if he'll be visiting the camp this weekend, looking forward to having the house to myself.