Monday, December 9, 2013

Oxytocin, Workers' Rights and Peppermint Tea

I'm still unclear about the meaning of the phrase, "In Love."

I know what it means in the movies, and of course I remember what all the girls meant when we were talking about boys back in High School.  Most likely I'm stumbling over the whole Forever idea since I would have told anyone who asked that I was 100% in love with Buzz Kill, and we see how things turned out there.  I may have been "in love" with The Man from San Antone, but I doubt it.  That whole relationship had to do with friendship and emotional security which was great since we both needed at the time - but by the commonly accepted definition, there was nothing romantic about it.  I was fully "in love" with Bradley back in college - not to be confused with Pinko's real name which, as it happens, is Bradley.  Either way, I was immersed in a deep tragic romance with Bradley that very likely stemmed from having my first orgasm when I was with him.  If I'd have known about Oxytocin and the attachment process at the time, I would have dismissed science in favor of Romance and True Love. 

Time and experience has shown that oxytocin played a role in my attachments to a fool or two during the Ashley Madison Experiment, specifically Double Wide and The Narcissist, and I never once imagined I was "in love" with either one of them.  Actually, even if I were "in love" with anybody during those first few years after my divorce, I was fully convinced that there was no such thing as being "in love."  Attachment was something I could understand because of my work with very young children as well as my reading and research on psychotherapy, and that a person like me, who has always been open to attachments, would feel all lovey dovey when I had a tank full of oxytocin made perfect sense.

There are more scientific articles detailing the relationship between Oxytocin and human attachment, but this old one from The Economist is still my favorite: I Get a Kick Out of You (2004).  I believe Helen Fisher was one of the scientists who performed the original research on prairie voles.  She is one of the authors of this paper published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology, Romantic Love: An fMRI Study of a Neural Mechanism for Mate Choice (2005).

All this reflection on the topic of being "in love," could indicate that I'm tap dancing around accepting the idea that Pinko the Bear and I are, in fact, in love.  We're full of Oxytocin, that's for sure.  We've also established a comfortable domesticity that resembles two old people sitting at the kitchen table reading different sections of the newspaper - except that we're on either side of the dining room at our respective desks looking at computers.  He just told me that Pussy Riot is going to be released according to one of their husbands, and a minute ago he read me a Marxist joke that began, "Your mama's so classless . . ."

Last week, he found his way to a rally downtown near city hall supporting a living wage for service workers.  The focus was on fast food workers, but really, all workers should earn a living wage.  In this system, anyway. In a different system, workers would own the businesses cooperatively - but that's another topic.  I'm just excited that ABear, aka Pinko the Bear, landed in the Village Voice five weeks after he landed at LaGuardia.  That's him with the glasses and goatee, holding the Workers sign.

When he got to Foley Square last week, he met a group of activists from the NYC Light Brigade. They are affiliated with the Overpass Light Brigade that formed during the Wisconsin uprising to "shine the light" on social justice issues by spelling out their message in lights.

It's a sensible way to make your point after dark, and the visually striking displays make great photos. Anyway, I think it's cool that he's finding his way.  New York City can be overwhelming even when you've lived here a while, and he just got here.  He spent several hours on a Breaking Bad marathon, and now he's watching Sons of Anarchy - mostly in the middle of the night.  He's always been a night person, and as much as I enjoy piling up on the sofa with him, I have to be in my classroom with a smile on my face at 8:30 in the morning.

Since my apartment is only on the third floor, watching TV in the living room can feel like you're in the middle of the street, with ambulances and jack hammers and all kinds of music drifting up from the cars stopped at the traffic light outside my window.  Even though it's pretty quiet at night, being in the city is quite an adjustment.

We've been adjusting quite nicely, however.  We went to a screening of Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?: An animated conversation with Noam Chomsky, in a documentary festival, and Noam Chomksy himself was there.

We went to a panel discussion at Columbia that featured the founders of Burning Man, too.

Our best night so far may have been a surprise party one of my best buddies from work arranged for her fiancĂ©'s birthday at a lovely apartment on Central Park West near The Dakota.  Apparently this gay  couple with a rent stabilized apartment rents their place out regularly for private parties.  This one was fancy with a DJ and aspiring actors dressed in black passing hot hors d'oeuvres.  There were dozens and dozens of black, white, and silver balloons floating in every room, so our hostess gave us a bunch to take when we left.  We walked over to Strawberry Field, made a wish and let the sail up into the night.  I know that letting a bunch of helium balloons loose is littering and bad for wildlife and stuff, but it was classically romantic.

Then again, walking through the rain to the Metropolitan Museum on Friday after my CT scan was pretty nice too.  The Met is open late on weekend nights so we could hang out and find the graffiti some imperialists left in the Temple of Dendur,

and discover this odd sculpture in the Japanese gallery of a taxidermied deer covered in magnifying spheres:

The best part is that we have nearly as much fun when he meets me after work for a walk to the grocery store as we do on date nights.
It's all very pleasant and cozy, with peppermint tea and everything.


Oso said...

hella cool hella good news both you guys happy!

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

The city is a wonderous toy, just made for a girl and boy.
Beautiful. It feels so good to know you two are so good. Thx 4 sharing darlin'.

Gail said...

HEY TEXAS - you are happy, content, dare I say - "In Love"....enjoy every moment.
Love you girl

mbarnato said...

Sounds like you are really enjoying each other, and that's the best.

intelliwench said...

Definition, schmefinition -- love just is.

PENolan said...

Thanks everyone.
I does feel pretty good . . .

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