Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The circus director's letter of apology

I'm shifting gears. I've put Terminal away.

And as I wrote those words above I could hear Simone screaming at me. She's furious that I could have the gall to leave her alone in that little town in the San Juans with that best friend of hers that keeps going in-and-out of psychopathic episodes, disappearing for weeks at a time and killing people all while having no recollection of any of the events. Relax Simone, I'll be back, sit tight. Lock your door, quit answering your phone, you'll be okay. After all, you're just make-believe. It's just that right now it's hard for me to concentrate on fictitious characters and relationships when I've got so much going on in the non-fiction book that is my life. No, no one is trying to kill me. At least not literally.

I'm getting married. In just over five months my life will change dramatically and I'm working on coming to terms with that in the very little time I have left as a bachelor: 157 days, 7 hours, 5 minutes and 16 seconds. (Not that I'm counting.)

And yes, I am excited to be getting married. Mostly because my fiancee is the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to me and I know I'm the luckiest man on earth. But marriage is one of those higher institutions that I had no intention of ever applying to, no intention of even considering sending a transcript. I grew up in a household full of divorce and separation and spent much of my childhood deciding which parent to live with for that year.

I saw more of the dark-side of marriage. My observations of relationships were more 'Deathstar' than 'Endor'. I don't think it's a coincidence that dark-side, deathstar and divorce all begin with “D”. And while no one ever whispered to me, “Luke, I'm your father...” it was still interesting having people other than my parents around on both sides of my family.

So as the clock ticks on my single life I have some questions I need answered. The biggest one being: “Why?” Why do we do this? Why do choose to bind our relationships with a legal document that can cost an arm and a leg to dissolve and can trigger litigation that can last for years? Is “I love you” just not enough? Have we lost the value of a promise and have to make someone sign on the dotted line to prove it?

I intend to find out. Over the next five months I'll be interviewing people on-camera. From the recently engaged and the newlyweds to the 70th anniversaries' couples, the sworn singles and free-wheeling bachelors in an attempt to answer my question. Yes I'm using my last summer as a free man constructively and hopefully when I'm done I'll have something that resembles a film. So with nothing but a shoestring budget, mediocre equipment, a reluctant camera crew and a drive to find the truth I'm setting out to make a film.

And with any luck people will want to talk to me.

Except Simone.