Ramp Randoms: The Love Bug
Yet another morning has begun with a spoon being launched through the air, smattering soggy cornflakes all over the room. One of them slides apologetically off the radio, leaving a milky trail on the very object that had roused my temper to such incensed levels in the first place.
♫ ‘ … That’s right!’ chortled the DJ. ‘New research has shown that the perfect cure for Monday morning blues is … starting work on Tuesday! Aho ho ho ho.’ ♫
Waves of fury gushed through my ears, drowning out the barely-concealed sexual banter between the presenter and the weather girl which followed, as he slimily enquiries as to what would need to keep her in bed on a Monday morning.
‘So,’ I think, staring out the window in an overwrought fashion, ‘I have been slighted by science again.’
They throw all the money they can at proofing truisms, it seems, but nobody is interested in finding a cure for my condition. It plights me night and day, and yet still I’m eschewed by society and left with no choice but to fight it alone.
So I’ll just sit in my kitchen, having fetched my domestically-abused spoon and bitterly eating my cornflakes until a camera crew from Channel 4 arrive to document my heart-wrenching quandary in woeful black and white. In the meantime, I’ll explain why love really is the worst disease in the world.
Don’t get me wrong, there aren’t a lot of good things which come from the sentence ‘There is no cure.’ However, one notable advantage of having such a phrase in your arsenal for use at cocktail parties and such is that you are entitled to be mollycoddled to within an inch of your life. At the very least, you deserve a dramatic TRUE LIFE STORY in Grazia. Not with love. The burden of such an affliction is worsened by the complete and shocking lack of sympathy exhibited towards you by society. There is a social stigma against people living with love. Could you imagine calling in loved to work?
You don’t get crutches. You don’t get an eye patch. You don’t get to curl up in a tank of blue liquid for clinical trials like one of the X-Men. It is an invisible illness. Holding up your iPod to people with a meaningful look as it plays ‘Goodbye My Lover’ isn’t going to get you exceptional treatment. There are no designated seats on buses for people who are in love. There is no National Love Awareness Day. Valentine’s Day is about as helpful to us as Halloween is to the witching community. Hallmark don’t do cards written in the style of Sylvia Plath.
Admirable as you are for not retiring to the space between the fridge and the wall until the end of time or until this feeling goes away (whichever comes first,) you can’t just carry on like this. Lest you’d like to walk around permanently quivering from the strain of it all, something needs to be sacrificed to make room for your new psychological disorder and I’m afraid that something needs to be any semblance you’d kept of mental sanity.
People have been diagnosed for a lot less than the new major split personalities you’ve adopted. Think of walking around with them as being involved in the world’s worst permanent team-building exercise.
There’s Jealousy, an impulsive psychopath who’ll interject with murderous thoughts at the first sign of him hanging around with other females. That includes work colleagues, friends, maybe even his mother. Your unprecedented levels of affection for him need to be cancelled out by perturbing levels of hate towards completely innocent people, for example when you find yourself glaring meaningfully at people who get to be on a train to his hometown. There’s also Illogic – she’s like Logic, but a lot louder and will sagely advise that the reason he hasn’t text back is probably because he has permanently excommunicated you from his life, as you’re such a boring person. But of course, the party isn’t complete without Honesty. Shy and retiring, she won’t appear until the most inopportune moment and will only choose to cryptically exhibit herself through the mortifying prose of your drunken messages.
Being in love is kind of like getting all the demerits of other conditions, with none of the treatment. Similarly, you end up with a kind of infuriating version of Tourette Syndrome where instead of profanities, you suffer from the vocal tic of constantly blurting out his name at every conversational opportunity. A fantastic way to annoy everyone around you, whilst slowly driving yourself insane as you wonder what on earth you used to talk about before you met this person and had them plunder your entire life like some sort of lovable pirate.
Responding to the question ‘Where does it hurt?’ by dramatically crossing your heart and whispering ‘Right here’ is not only a guaranteed way to make someone misuse a defibrillator, it’s an excellent illustration of the fact that there’s no tangibly treatable pain for people living with love.
As well as that, love is a very deceptive disease. Other scourges at least have the decency to originally manifest themselves by way of some disgusting rash or substantial quantity of phlegm, which are both suitably ominous. Love comes in the worst symptom of all – a charming, funny, seemingly lovely person. Little do you know that fiendishly adorable sadist is going to make you love them until the point that you think going back to living without knowing them would be like having to switch to UHT milk, forever.
You would never have to take your doctor on a series of dates or endure several dozen hours of conversations that make you sweaty and nervous and giggly just to try to maybe get your hands on some medication. Vice versa, paying a stranger money to make your love bug better is not only disturbing and illegal, but ineffective as nobody else but that person is going to do. One can hope that some day pyrotechnics and science will advance to the stage at which Guide-Boys have been invented: an artificial facsimile of the object of your desires that will walk around town holding your hand and keeping you calm.
Some diseases eat away at your skin or your organs. Love eats away at your personality. As a writer, the enduring pneumonia of the heart which I’d learnt to live with had made for excellent, if cynical, writing material. Now that my heart’s started to defrost, I’m losing my cool.
It’s what love does. Your taste in everything is now ‘beige’. Somebody needs to do some serious journalism on the profiteering David Gray is doing on this condition.
Most of the time you walk around acting like a person from a yoghurt ad, all because of the effect love has on your psyche. On the other side of it, your scale of joy has become completely uncalibrated. Happy activities like taking the dog for a walk on the beach suddenly feels like a scene from a melancholy esoteric arts film if he’s not there. Similarly, coming down from the ecstasy of an interaction with them is so emotionally devastating, you’re convinced Irvine Welsh must have been in love when he wrote Trainspotting.
Again, no medical professional is going to be ambiguous with your diagnoses. I doubt any 19th Century sailors lay in bed, covered in open wounds and bleeding from the gums saying ‘I mean, I don’t … I’m just not totally sure it’s scurvy, you know?’
Nobody is going to accuse you of not really having scurvy, just maybe liking the idea of scurvy. Having another person not have scurvy with you, isn’t going to make your scurvy any less important.
You need to name it. You can’t treat something if you don’t know what it is. Give me the bad news, Doc. I want someone to take off a stethoscope, look me in the eyes in a sombre way, and just tell me:
‘I’m sorry. It’s definitely love.’