April 12, 2010

half full red plastic cups


The past five days haven't quite absorbed through my head the way time normally seems to seep. Considering I've been so congested from being ill from the drastic weather that shoots up to 80F and then back down to 50 within 4 days, my immune system finally crashed. And I haven't slept better!

I meant to take it easy this weekend and call it an early night but that can't happen all the time I guess. It's always when you weren't planning to go out which is when you find yourself crawling into bed at 4am.

I enticed A into making me soup after obliging an invitation to dine at his studio apartment. It's a large space with several skylights and tall ceilings. There are Polaroids of celebrities from before my time and pictures of him and his ex-girlfriend everywhere. It's clear he's a pack rat but he keeps his things tucked away in rustic but elegant treasures found in the trash or rescued from the elements. I called it cluttered once and I think it offended him. There's a story for every light fixture and every piece of furniture. And they're always long-winded. It's all evidence of a life well traveled and a lifestyle well crafted.
I'm always skeptical about finding myself alone with him since he tends to treat women the way he treats his cat-- with vigorous affection, whether it is wanted or not, and always with the unrelenting eagerness of a piranha. It's behavior I've grown to expect and dismiss, and that I've grown weary of in my weakened state. After the meal, naturally he took no time at all in sweeping me off my feet (literally) and plopping me on the couch beside him. I thought to myself how in 20 years I will still never form a solid opinion about how I feel about him. I took off, feigning exhaustion. Because I was.

B texted me to say she forgot her keys at the apartment and that she's at a bar nearby with her current gentleman caller and I should stop by. With her keys. I meet up with her to find her surrounded by a handful of well-dressed gentlemen with aloof gazes and piecy hair, all clutching PBRs in foam can cozies. She looks pleased.
Her man greets me with a smile, "We were just talking about you."
"We were," B agrees. "We were just talking about how nice you are."

I hand her keys to the apartment as if on cue. The boys are friends of her man. They're the assorted lot of bachelor that this part of Brooklyn offers- dubious expressions hidden behind ironic facial hair and asymmetrical hairstyles, which still passes for congenially attractive this year. They seem nice. One of them stutters something about another friend at another bar. They go outside.

B pulls me in, "It's dude city here!"
I look around and it is indeed dude city. I push my glasses further up on my nose. Ever since I started wearing them regularly, it seems to make me more approachable to males my age, which I always attribute to appearing more geeky because of them. Geeky girls will take your guff. At least for a little while.

One bar and one lame apartment party crashed later, B ushers everyone back to the apartment, pops in a Futurama DVD and canoodles with her man in her bedroom. I'm seated on the couch between a Scandinavian-looking dude with angular blond hair and a wide-eyed stick figure in a leather jacket and sweater vest. The stick figure keeps making jokes that no one reacts to until he says, "That was a joke you guys!" He's a bit tipsyy and he knows every single episode of Futurama by title and season and feels the need to announce it.

I put on a Fleetwood Mac record because I think that's what young people do in a living room with a record player. It's well received and I feel cooler, but also worse about myself for feeling cooler about that. I'm trying to be cool and I hate myself when I'm trying to be cool. I'm so boring and I resent all the company I'm in, like it's their fault that I don't feel cool already. I don't even remember what I talked about since it was probably all trite banter, a throwaway attempt at flirting. It's so easy and I'm getting into it since I can detect that the faux-Scandinavian is doing the same. We seem to be riffing off of one other's grand disinterest in what's happening in every environment we're in. We'd rather talk about what we aren't interested in because the things we're interested in you probably wouldn't be interested in or know about. It's like a classic case of urban wanderlust that's been too stagnant for too long, as you're gnawing your leg off.  It's like a lesser kind of chemistry but a textbook formula nonetheless. When you can talk about the things you're interested in, the things you really like and may even love, with no fear of alienation, that's when you might actually get somewhere. I don't think we'll be getting there tonight.

He offers to drive me home when Stick leaves after a text message beckons him back into the night and I don't turn him down. He didn't balk when I told him I wasn't a drinker so I figure he might be mature. We walk to his car and he's talking about amps and equipment and I realize that he's a musician and how disappointing is that. I ask, "What's your band?" but he doesn't want to talk about it, thank God.

"Oh, that's just... it's nothing special," he says in a way that implies more sheepishness than modesty. The way a guy talks about his band is kind of like how he talks about his girlfriends generally. It's something I never overlook.
Instead he talks about his brother, the music that's playing in his car, where he grew up in the South, and I decide that he seems nice. He drops me off across the street from my door and it's like a teen movie. He can't find words to say the goodnight because it's hard to say goodnight when you don't really want to say goodnight. I think at this point, I was having fun. I may have been having fun for quite some time now. I am okay with having this much fun and I don't necessarily need any more. Not tonight anyway. I let him compliment me very close to my face... and then I say what I never would've said had I not been under the weather, under pressure and feeling a little bit sheepish. I say it before I let myself form one single expectation. I say goodnight.

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