Muses by Tom


Ambivalence vs. apathy: Introducing the lovely Caroline!

Posted in Writing by Tom on June 19, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Okay, folks. I decided to take a back seat for a moment and let my friend Caroline post a guest blog here. I have read it, and it is good. Really good. Check it out…

Last Tuesday night, I was asleep in my bed. Or, I was supposed to be. But around 3am, I got a phone call. I didn’t notice the ring at first. I mistook it for my alarm and simply ignored it. But it rang again and I, still half-asleep, answered it. The call came from my best friend, who–I’m not even sure how to describe our friendship. Relationship? Entanglement?

He started with saying: “Oh my god, this party. I’m so drunk, right now.” I mumbled some flat response. “I danced so much,” he continued, “like a beast, or something. With this girl. And, Caroline, she was so cute. Oh my god. She was so cute. I can’t believe I didn’t get her number. She was so cute. I’m so mad I didn’t get her number.”

At this point, I sucked in my cheeks. An action I only do when I’m weighing my options, very, very carefully. “Hn,” I said and sucked in the insides of my cheeks again. I was trying to remain as neutral as possible.

Even drunk, he could sense something was wrong. “How do you feel about that? Are you mad?”

“No.” That was true, mostly. “I’m ambivalent.”

“You mean you just don’t care?” He asked, sounding a bit confused and slightly hurt in some small unknowable way.

Ambivalence is the most dangerous emotion to have: the coexistence of two opposing feelings. Ambivalence is not not caring. That is apathy. Apathy is a forced or self-imposed indifference. Ambivalence is masked uncertainty. The two emotions, on the outside, look very much alike: the carefully controlled, even-toned voice, the neutral posture, the noncommittal, throaty words. But mentally, apathy is the emotion of someone who has given up, while ambivalence is someone who is merely confused–with others, themselves or a combination of things. And, eventually, ambivalence can lead to apathy. The struggle is just too great.

One must understand that these two emotions, at their core, are vastly different. To me, a passive and indecisive person, being uncertain, is the most distressing feeling in the world.

I paused for a minute and whispered, “I do care.”

He must not have heard me though. He hung up.

Huge thanks again to my very dear friend, Caroline. You can guest blog for me any time! 🙂

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4 Responses to 'Ambivalence vs. apathy: Introducing the lovely Caroline!'

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  1. Manny Lamb said,

    Great blog by Miss Caroline. OK maestro the pressures on, let’s see what you got!

    How about you doing something with this just to even the competition….

    “…and my dark soul was pierced momentarily as a lightning bolt does a storm filled sky, as quickly as the fleeting opening of an aperture on a camera…”

    looking forward to the result

    Maany Lamb

    • Tom said,

      It’s on its way!

  2. Caroline said,

    thank you, tom for posting this 🙂

    i just thought i’d include the dictionary.com definitions which indirectly inspired this entry:

    1. uncertainty or fluctuation, esp. when caused by inability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.
    2. the coexistence within an individual of positive and negative feelings toward the same person, object, or action, simultaneously drawing him or her in opposite directions.

    • Tom said,

      you’re very welcome! Thank you for agreeing to do it 😛


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