Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 4:13 PM
subject: Re: mp
it happened again and i don’t know what to make of it. not staring but the sorta moment you feel someone looking at you from across the room and you look up from the convo you’d been engaging and, sure enough, there he is, looking. you make brief eye contact, he takes a deep breath and looks away, almost as if his looking – the very fact of his doing it – stunned him, so he also was not immediately able to look away. you’re the trainwreck. the fire to which the moth is attracted. beautifully so [or, at least, you convince yourself]. but also: he’s cute. very cute. but the hesitant averted gaze, the stalled look away, the wary worry which announces, before any “hello,” the emergence of problems.
it was at calvin’s art opening a few weeks ago, his first gallery showing in fact, so things were abuzz and he was rather excited. wine was flowing and there genuine giddiness in the air. i was pleased to support and met all sorts of folks: people i’d never seen or heard of before – who knew so many cool, artsy folks lived here? – and finally met folks that i’ve known online but never in person from twitter and facebook, for example. anyway. the artwork was nothing short of amazing. called it his “music and movement” installation where he’d taken all sorts of media and used oil paint to create these abstract swirls and strokes, all based on the music to which he’d be listening at the time. the painting was to approach a kind of sonic referentiality, was a type of metaphorization of the sounds, of the music. i was moved by the colors he used, mostly darker gradations :: deep purples and blues, dense, full-bodied reds, and lots of black. he used a variety of surfaces, “to bespeak the everydayness of our encounters with music. this is a piece about the sublime’s relation to the ordinary.” sure, i laughed a bit at his description, but more because i never pay attention to what artists say about their own shit…it’s always on the edge of self-congratulatory “look at this cool shit i did and now please pay me” message implicit in their self-referential descriptions, and so they always misread their own motives. but aside from his description, it truly was amazing. couldn’t deny it.
the problem, of course, was that there was this hella cute dude there with his girlfriendofthreeyears [he said it, rushed just like that, while she was in the restroom]. calvin wanted me to meet this guy because he’s a likewise nerd and sometimey musician, so he thought we’d hit off. dude had been glancing at me even before the official introduction, when i stood across the gallery space talking with some other folks. and then we were introduced and of course i was surprised to learn that the young woman was not just a friend but was, in fact, the girlfriendofthreeyears. but anyway, nice guy and his girlfriendofthreeyears were, in fact, cool as hell. the three of us talked for at least an hour, conversation moving through all sorts of terrain, from theology to the presidency. needless to say, i got along with them very well, so calvin wasn’t wrong at all. the problem? well…you know how i tend to get a bit on the edge of loud, and insistent, when i’ve had one too many glasses of wine. not the sorta belligerent volume but speaking my mind, sans filter, so also full of conviction. i was on some, “i voted green party! not even gonna vote the next time around if things keep going the way they’re going!” shit. and though true, it’s always weird to sorta feel that settled with folks you’d just met. anyway, girlfriendofthreeyears went to the restroom but saw an old colleague and stopped to talk to her for a while. so dude and i kept talking and it was nice. it goes without saying that i noticed how handsome he was and how, had there been no girlfriendofthreeyears present, i would’ve overtly flirted. but i’m not desperate. nor that needy. nor grimy. but things did cross my mind. his smile, his eyes, his lips? just.yes.to.it.all.
so after this hour or so convo and girlfriendofthreeyears returned, i bid them adieu so that i could meet/talk to other friends i hadn’t seen in a while. we facebooked each other and i scurried away. whispered to calvin “oh my god…he’s cute! ugh!” and he laughed. i settled on a new group of old friends with whom i could catch up. but while drinking this newest glass of wine and having convo where i laughed a lot and made several points – with my hands, so you know i was doing my good talking – i looked up and saw him. not quite staring but definitely looking with an almost insatiable desire. i felt it. felt it in me. knew someone was looking, just had to find the directional field from which the energy emanated. and each time [it happened about four times throughout the duration of the evening after we’d met to say nothing of the before] when he realized i realized he was looking at me, he’d sorta almost – faintly – smile but not really, because there was also not a slight hint of embarrassment on his face, in his heart i presume as well, that he was looking at me with that look in the first place. made me question what it was that prompted his search that landed in my face, in my eyes, each time, causing him to further still: search.
[are metaphors a displacement of thought? do they get us closer to the heart of the matter? or are they some other kind of complication?]
i think he saw something familiar in me that he’d not ever named. it almost sounds egotistical to think it the way i’m thinking it but that’s not what i’m going for. i wish things were much less complex but this has happened with so many dudes that it’s pretty common now. declarations of heterosexuality are cool but then they long for something otherwise and see me, and act as if whatever that otherwise might be is somewhere hidden in me, is something familiar. and i had this weird experience when i was a kid that was all about familiarity. we took a bus trip when i was in the fifth grade to Baltimore or some other city and the trip included everyone in the fifth grade so all the teachers, most of whom i did not know, went along. there was one teacher on the bus who, upon catching my eye in the rear view mirror the first time [she was staring at me] continued to look at me. i would turn around to someone behind me and begin to talk and she’d walk up to me, grab my arm, tell me “didn’t i tell you to turn around?! stop talking! and look forward!,” forcing me to turn around on the bus so she could continue to look at me in the rear view mirror. she would not let me talk to others, made me to face forward. she stared into my reflection in the mirror. needless to say, i was not a little bit uncomfortable.
upon my return home, i told my parents about the entire affair and when i told them who it was, they said “the next time you see her, ask her if she knows elder so-n-so.” so i did and when i did, she exclaimed loudly, hugging me hard, “i knew it!” turns out, she saw my parents – mother’s mouth and lips, daddy’s voice [even though i was too young, fifth grade…but i suppose i had pre-pubescent hints of the voice to come, it’s futurity already with me and if i learned anything from my father, it was the insistence in voice, the conviction] – in me, on me. the point is that familiarity shows up in all sorts of weird ways. something about – literally external to – me bespoke something in me. but that something was noise at best, incoherence, or at least, incomprehensible, ineffable audiovisuality [sorta like how cell phones used to produce all of this static whenever you’d go out of range]. nevertheless, it was a certain sort of knowledge, a knowledge of having known, a knowledge of knowing, a knowledge of desire to know. that knowledge – the who that i was – was there, while withdrawing with each pondered “but how do i know him? but where do i know him from?” furrow of her brow. i felt abused by her force on the bus, felt ashamed and felt that she was misunderstanding my simple wish to talk to other kids. and i’m not the least bit disabused of the erotics that sorta underpinned the staring into a mirror to figure me out. she was trying to remember something without knowing what it was. and so, dude with the girlfriendofthreeyears, i think, also was cathected by some sorta eroto-libidinal excess, provoked by the insistence of my voice, an insistence that produced in him some desire to know more. to “get” what was so familiar. maybe he thought he could, if he stared enough, figure out what it was for which he was longing. of course, a few days after the event, it all became a bit clearer with a message on facebook that would feign the flirting that is certainly implied, so vague that a claim of ignorance and misunderstanding – another sort of noise and static – could be made though the apparentness of the interactions are no less there.
anyway. i don’t know what to do with all this. just complaining a bit, i guess. because he’d be a great person with whom to hang out but not with all of this even more complicated interaction. and there’s also calvin. so yeah…we’ll see. and i guess it was something familiar that you’d seen in and on me that made our initial interactions so weirdly frustrating, frustrating because they were so fulfilling to me, for us. as if we’d known each other all our lives, the gift as well as curse.