Sunday, May 5, 2013

Terrible relationship metaphor

There are several bridges in Paris coated with padlocks. Each lock is engraved --- or sharpied in a modern take on the tradition --- with two names or sets of initials. Then padlocked to the bridge railing.
Crowdsourcing a windblock?
 As I understand it, the lock functions as an instantiated metaphor for the constancy and commitment of the two people named thereon. Their love for each other is hereby fastened, made sure, immortalized, etc. Then they throw the key into the Seine. I don't know how the metaphor works for combination locks.

But it's a terrible metaphor. For one, the locks are small. Is your commitment to the relationship small? Easily broken by a pair of bolt-cutters or even just a screwdriver and a few seconds' work? Your relationship is periodically removed, cut free, and cleaned up by public employees sent to keep the bridge clean. It does not lock anything; it serves no function; it is empty, meaningless, a dead weight. (Not to cast your relationship too cruelly.)

In short, this supposedly-enduring emblem of your relationship is doomed to end. Soon. Just like all the other, identical, not-special-or-unique romances that led to the same strained metaphor and what I'm sure were very sweet, but transient, kisses on a bridge in Paris.
Other photographers shared my prospect.

This post's theme word is gris-gris, "a charm, amulet, or fetish." A true gris-gris of a devoted relationship should have more properties in common with its object: permanence, size, import, durability. The monument to my love will be more like a swimming pool filled with concrete --- large, heavy, immovable, and requiring specialized machinery and many man-hours to disassemble. Ah, concrete pool! light of my life!

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