I jokingly said to a pretty waitress at Waffle House the other day, "You are so pretty I would fall madly in love with you if I didn't like you so much."
Sometimes when we are being ridiculously silly, our deepest truths will seep out. One of my deepest truths is that we are wise to like someone more than we love them.
When we start to feel the delirium called love, we need to start seeing how many things we like about the person because if we don't like them more than we love them, we will afflict them with the drama of our love and all of its buried expectations and demands.
A few people have told me they love me, and most of the times I ended up hunting a tall building to jump off of. I cannot recall that ever happening with those who like me. All I can remember are a few trusting loans that went astray. I can lose a few bucks a lot easier than I can survive a leap off a tall building.
There's something about love that strips our gears. The rational mind closes down, and emotions drag us off into high weeds. We pant and heave and lie around looking like a dying calf in a rainstorm. Too bad we don't have pictures of ourselves in that condition so we could at least get a laugh out of it.
When we think we are in love, we actually feel that our beloved is oxygen and we will just die if we can't talk to them one more time today. The truth is they are a many-faulted human just like you, and you will run into those faults, one by one, the longer you hang around them. Some of them will smack you so hard you will see stars and marriage counselors and divorce lawyers and courtrooms.
On the other hand, you can like someone so much you would consider dying for them without ever having your feet leave home planet. You can walk with them holding their hand with your right hand and reality with the left.
When two people in love break up, minimally they will hurl insults and then it could be the kitchen sink. Two people who like each other can go their separate ways and remain friends. Sometimes they remain in touch the rest of their lives and remain available to each other when a need arises.
In an eloquent piece, Mona Simpson, sister of Apple's Steve Jobs, wrote about how much he loved life and people. As I read his life story and the things he did for people, it occurred to me that love to him meant intense liking.
Intense liking is love without the drama, the fingernails digging deep into the skin, the choking hands of control, the insane acid of jealousy eating up the brain and the unending jibber and jabber of a sharp critical tongue.
We fall in love because we like to get high. People can deny it but everyone loves to get high on everything from booze to religion. But like everything else that gets us high, there's a crashing hangover.
Why not get high on the simple joy of intensely liking someone?
Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.