November 23, 2010

the girl from new york


The worst part about being an idealist is that you can never be happy. Not in the Machiavellian sense anyway. It's just not in the nature of how idealism works. The way folks handle being presented with what they want often confounds the entire concept. The best thing about it is that you must really learn to appreciate the process of pursuing perfection, the flaws that highlight the solutions. To respect the toil and uncertainty and unreconcilable reality that there is no promise that the end will justify your means. But that doesn't mean you wouldn't do it all anyway. I can respect an idealist with a good work ethic. I can respect anybody with a creative flair for failure. If you're not failing you're not trying.

The most redeeming factor of that latent realization came to me over a southern-style omelet, my stomach in nauseating loops because this felt strangely like it could be going in a nice direction. Which doesn't necessarily implicate itself to be entirely harmless. Sometimes when I feel that initial facade of nice it's a little bit terrifying.

Terror is a common theme on most first dates I participate in. Most of the time I am confronted with my own poor choices because I am too busy repeating the same mistakes with different people. It's like when you have the correct answer but then the teacher asks to see the work. What can you show for it?

It could've been the bad joke he made that I found oddly endearing. His salt and his peppers, and the low tide in his voice. That he seemed to be very sure, despite the inherent awkwardness of dining with a total stranger. My sour nerves had met their match, and as unfortunate as the train of thought is, I couldn't help but think, This is what it's like to be impressed.
So yeah. That's pretty terrifying.
I was late and he was handsome. Plus clever, plus well-groomed. I'd been gradually weaning myself from a diet of the emotionally-stunted youth of America: guitar-wielding art fags with barely enough meat to pick off their bones (and barely enough bones to floss my teeth), which was always standard fare in this part of town but much more rampant in these economically feeble times. I've always had eyes bigger than my stomach and I'm beginning to suspect bigger than my heart as well.

The faith I never bothered to put into perfection seemed to be glaring at me through afternoon sunlight, shifting in between buildings at dubious angles, knives of light all down Grand Street. I've never wanted a perfect day or a perfect love. The whole thing reeked of hasty assumptions that relied on you never wanting more or anything else ever again. It was false, a band-aid. If I cannot have the perfect situation, I will at least settle on highly flattering lighting schemes. For this, I suggest we chase the sunset to the water's edge where things start to get really cookie-cutter. There's a bench and a shoreline and dogs chasing tennis balls and planets sinking into horizons of skyscrapers. And there's me, shivering in my very small cropped red blazer, rambling on about science-fiction or something equally inane.

"Are you cold?" he asked with a heap of genuine concern.
"I'm okay," I lied through, at this point, my chattering teeth.
He put his arm around me anyway, as if my discomfort with the elements prompted move-making. I am very concerned now. Miscommunication is a horror movie to me. There's nothing more unfortunate in this modern age of communications technology. We are losing touch with the language of bodies. They talk for us but we don't know what they say. There is only fight or flight.

What happens when I'm paralyzed with neurosis is that I leave myself completely, abandon ship. I'm a third party to what is possibly your perfect moment and I'm okay with facilitating that. I get it. It makes total sense-- the light and water, the elements, the chemical newness and that invisible current between strangers. It's going well and though that's always frightening as fuck for me, I wouldn't dream of ruining it for you on account of my own angst.
But who am I kidding, I live for this shit. The charming arrogance of courtship. That inch of space in between us that feels like that wavy transitional air which hovers right above steaming hot pavement. We are crushing billions of tiny atoms in that space between us and there isn't much about that which isn't at least a little bit exhilarating. That feeling like curling your toes after your foot's fallen asleep. This imperfection is a strong dusty perfume that goes straight to the head. The packaging is good, but I feel the dizziness of something pleasant in concentrated doses.

I rest a hand on his jeans. Okay, I'm in this now. With this gesture, I am back. Just in time for the sun to completely conceal itself underground. We have to go eventually and now is as good a time as any. To follow wherever this idyllic farce wants to take us. Even a good date is a farce, especially so. Who can tell what parts we'll recall later fondly in public reverence? Who can tell what sort of irreparable damage has already been done? I try and wrap my head about that specter-- this is the really deadly stuff. Honestly.

This is the stuff that plants weeds, so you just can't help yourself. Nearly subsuming everything before it, so there is not even a question. How many others have had to come before this could happen? We'd suffer them gladly for just one to make all the pies in the face worth it. Someone quieter than the doubt creeping in but louder than the ambivalence that's already there. For someone who inspires faith in certainty, who takes the care we didn't know we needed.

We part ways after that because I know better than to linger, tempting whatever awkward potential energy waits in the wings to pounce upon what has thus far been a successful event.

"I knew you'd be awesome," he told me on my front stoop, delivered with a wry smile. It's more of a relief than a surprise to hear.
"Did you ever doubt it?" I wondered aloud.
"No. Not for a second."

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