What was taken by outsiders to be slackness, slovenliness or even generosity was in fact a full recognition of the legitimacy of forces other than good ones. They did not believe doctors could heal—for them, none ever had done so. They did not believe death was accidental—life might be, but death was deliberate. They did not believe Nature was ever askew—only inconvenient. Plague and drought were as “natural” as springtime. If milk could curdle, God knows robins could fall. The purpose of evil was to survive it and they determined (without ever knowing they had made up their minds to do it) to survive floods, white people, tuberculosis, famine and ignorance. They knew anger well but not despair, and they didn’t stone sinners for the same reason they didn’t commit suicide—it was beneath them.
I’ve always believed that if you’re truly in love with someone, you shouldn’t be able to answer the question “What do you love about him?” with any kind of real satisfaction. The things you’re able to articulate should leave you at least a little hollow. Contestants on “The Bachelor” will usually have to answer this question for his family, and there will be the usual adjectives like “kind” and “generous” and “funny.” It’s not that I think anyone is intentionally lying, but that they’re describing traits that belong to the set of circumstances more than the person. “The Bachelor” is kind because he has no reason not to be; if he becomes disillusioned with you, he can just send you home. He’s generous because he has a production team purchasing intense, expensive experiences for your dates. He’s funny because you’ve both been flown to a charming village in Switzerland and a funny little cow wandered up behind your picnic. If you want to insist that the show is about falling in love, then it’s more accurate to say it’s about falling in love with being on vacation.
We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine.