Eyre Affairs

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Then you will not yield?" ~ Jane Eyre

We can't even agree on a painting.

A few weeks ago at the Guggenheim, I beckoned you to come look at this painting as we walked through the Russia exhibit.

I like the painting because the woman is a confident sophisticate.

You don't like the painting because the woman is an obnoxious brat.

"I don't understand," I said. "What don't you like about the painting?"

"She is looking down at me," you said.

Maybe that is because she knows you are a Republican, I thought.

Weeks later, we come to this evening and spend over an hour arguing about the release of Jill Carroll, the reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. A half hour into it, it is serious. An hour into it, I am ready to cry.

"We cannot be so inhumane!" I argue.

"We cannot yield to terrorists!" you argue.

Then, I throw in the cheap shot: "What if this was ME? What if I were there working as a reporter for an education publication to report on the educational system there? What if I got captured and you were a General? What would you do?"

You never falter. You wouldn't release the female detainees, but you would order a search and rescue operation. While I appreciate that, I wonder how the hell you are ever going to find me.

I start to pout.

The battle ceases after an hour's worth of "are you kidding me?", "how can you say that?", and "I can't believe you are saying this!" in the canon of the dialogue. It ends with some joking; we chalk this up to a healthy debate where both sides are respected for his/her opinions. Nothing we say about politics effects our friendship, nor has it for five years.

When I think of you, I think of the color Yellow. You and I work with two different palates of paint. Your canvas is filled with black and white lines, brush strokes rarely intersecting. My canvas is one, big, grey line.

Ironic, because you are part of the long, grey line. There is nothing grey about your thinking. You are stubborn and impassioned: two qualities I respect more than anything else about you. Say what you will about politics, vote for the Republican party, and argue points of view that upset me.

I will never look down on you.


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