Shallow

I’ve noticed a pattern. Drink. Talk. Drink. Talk. Cab ride. Drink. Talk. Talk. Drink. Cab ride.

This sums up the plot in The Sun Also Rises through 8 chapters. And what about the talk? Hemingway reveals a great deal about relationships based upon drink! The conversations are shallow. Don’t get me wrong. Hemingway is a master at dialogue. Just read “Hills Like White Elephants” to see what he can do through dialogue alone. Here, he reveals through his craft a series of relationships that run no deeper than a puddle in the street after a brief rain. Even between Brett and Jake, no deep conversations take place. 

Lest I become too self-righteous here, I have to admit that I have had many relationships based upon the trivial. I have had relationships based upon sports, girls, a particular class at school, a job, and even theology. All of them no deeper than a puddle in the street after a brief rain. 

One of my teachers in high school said that if we could fill up one hand with true friends we were blessed. I thought she was crazy at the time: I had lots of friends. I had lots of shallow relationships. I did have some deep ones, but not as many as I thought. Today, I am not sure I can count five deep relationships. Two immediately come to mind: my wife and a dear friend who is on the other side of the world. I’ve always thought it interesting that my best friend besides my wife lives several thousand miles away. We keep in touch via e-mail, some of which are surfacy to be sure (we are both rabid Longhorn fans), but many are not, and it is the shallow and deep that make the relationship so enriching. The trivial and life changing can sit a paragraph apart. For that I am blessed.

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