THE VIEW FROM THE SIDE

lookit

Dear friends out there in the ether. I have two good reasons for my month long delay in posting a new entry here on my private column. Reason up, and reason down. The bummer riding the coattails of the sweet deal. It’s been a big month. Do you want to hear about the sweet deal? Do you want to hear about the party? The bright eclipse which left the words up here on the blog for one whole day while the pictures remained invisible (did you see it? Shit’s been wild!) 

Reason one for not writing: my camera broke. I haven’t been able to translate my month-long party into pictures, and so it’s been difficult to write. Doesn’t it seem easier to communicate a party in pictures than in sentences about the party? “The girl was so hot. She moved down onto the floor, and my muscles filled up with new sorts of acids, it was like a fog filled the room, with bright lights and hairspray, she had on a big coat, blah blah blah.” For example.

Reason two: my camera broke because I had it with me at the beach in Hawaii. H-A-W-A-I-I. It was in my back pocket while I was surfing in Waikiki, playing a show with Mirah on surfboards. They billed it, “The Surf Serenade.” I know that I should have not had my camera in my back pocket while I was surfing and simultaneously playing a show. It’s true. But I think that it was worth it. I had it in a plastic bag, when I wasn’t taking pictures. In my mind I can still remember the ones that I took, and they are all worth it. Mirah doing a handstand over the waves. The audience all out in the water on floaty cushions, watching as we come over the crests of the breaking surf. Us, singing and doing some dance moves (and the handstand). A picture of Ara’s leg and her amazing bikini. It was so cool. I know that, since I don’t have any pictures, you’re likely to not believe me. That’s why I had the camera. But now, there are no pictures, and there is also no camera, and therefore no pictures of the rest of the month-long party, which continued once I got back from my trip to Hawaii.

MONTH LONG PARTY:

puff

First Paradise, and then Heaven (with a sort of Purgatory running throughout). If somebody told me that there was this girl who got to ride surfboards in Paradise with Mirah Zeitlyn, and dance with jolly Canadians at the Wavelength festival in Toronto (a.k.a. Heaven on Earth), I might very likely feel jealous of this girl and wish that I could be her, or at least know her and get to party with her. What, her band did a mini tour with the Hidden Cameras? She got to dance around with Maggie MacDonald, the keyboardist/philosopher and get whipped by her superwoman scarf and by her ideas?

The thing is that I do feel jealous that girl, and of so many other people. It’s really weird, I somehow have time to live my life, and to love the shit out of all the things that I do, and the people I encounter, and then now and then still have space to wish that I was somebody else entirely. One of those cute gay boys who wear a tie and dance with total authority in the audience in Canada? Joanna Newsom, maybe? If I looked like her, and if I could play the giant harp, I would probably certainly be totally happy, and not ever want for anything else. Right?

I think the truth is that maybe I have been just a little bit tired. And when you’re tired, it just makes you want things. Like, another world, in which to live everything that you aren’t able to live right now just as yourself, because you’re a little bit too tired. You kind of want a whole parallel reality, where you have enough energy to enjoy all of the moments that you can’t quite manage to savor right at this second. Oh yeah, a dreamworld.

film in montreal

So, that’s me, looking at the stranger walking down the street who is wearing the why-didn’t-I-fucking-think-of-that outfit, and making a little bit of extra space for myself, in the form of a dream existence, in which I get to be her. Just a little extra territory.

I have to admit, part of me is secretly glad when I notice somebody else partaking in this same kind of dirty fantasy. A friend who plays excellent music leaned over to me during a dinner party recently and confessed a bit of self doubt, because other people in the room, musicians, were talking about recent perks, having gotten a song in a movie, things like that, and I guess those offers hadn’t been made to him yet. I was so surprised and sort of charmed that he told me about his feeling, because just a few days before I had been watching him play music, and watching how completely entranced all three hundred people in the room were while they watched him, and in my mind, this friend had it totally made. From where I sat, on the outside, he certainly did.

Outside versus inside.

I guess that there is a big way, in which you really don’t want to have to realize that the person you are idolizing is a real person with an entire body full of nearly unbearable agonies, just like yourself. Realizing that sort of dampens the fantasy, right?

wires

I used to live across the street from the Safeway. Sometimes in the morning I would go over there to get a can of fruit cocktail or some english muffins, and often times, an hour later, I would find myself mystifyingly still standing there, in the magazine aisle, staring like a zombie at the pages of US Weekly. It’s a pretty great feeling, in a certain way, to stare like that. To have most of the atoms of my body sucked out of me and hovering in the air above myself and the magazine, marching in little dotted lines back and forth between my googling eyes and the shape of Mischa Barton’s torso in a filmy yellow dress. The photo and I are working together at that magazine rack to create a brand new world where neither of us have to do anything more than just stand there and dream. And if I just stay standing like that, and don’t attempt any tricky maneuvers like trying to live my own life, the perfect other world can stay intact.

Looking back on what I just wrote, it seems like I’ve described pretty much the big picture of how things work in the United States. You work forty hours a week, and when you’re done with that all you want to do is watch someone else do something else, somewhere else. Depending on your kink, you have a variety of options. You can watch somebody gorgeous be really successful in great clothes and getting laid. Or you can watch somebody sort of normal try to succeed and maybe totally fail miserably. A rainbow of variations differing according to how much you’d really want to be that other person, or how much their pathetic life makes you feel better about your own. Whatever, it’s all pretty similar when you are just laying there like an emptied out container with vacuum holes for eyes.

Ladyfest Hawaii

The only problem with indulging in what we’ll call the >>fantasy ogle<< is that you can’t actually stay in that position forever. At some point, you have to turn the page, or turn off the record player, pay for the fruit cocktail, and spend at least a small second by yourself inside of the lonely realm of your own physical mass. It can be a rough transition.

Stepping back into my own empty shell, hearing myself echo all around, and noticing all of the untended corners in there, it can be a real shock. If I’ve been gone for a long while, you know, really hung up on some very distracting crush (as potentially captivating as any photo of a starlet’s youthful frontside, I wager), or just too addicted to the first season of the L Word, the whole atmosphere of myself can actually be really pretty unappealing. But that sucks, because, uh, I am really all that I have. My extensive kingdom of space, on the inside, where nobody can ever really come to visit me. The more I check it out, the more huge it seems to be in there. Gigantic cavernous warehouses. Filled with strange odds and ends. Weirdly, all that space often makes me want to just get out of there. It can be too much to work with. It gets dusty so fast. I drop a glass jar full of water on the floor, and I just have to leave the house until it all dries, because– wet glass? How do you even sweep that up?  I literally do this in my house. Then I need to find some other place to go hang out.**

So, yeah, I don’t know exactly where we got out of sync this month, me and me. Before the water fight, after the second airplane ride, sort of during the second night where I didn’t get quite enough sleep? Okay, probably the real reason, reason number three, for why I didn’t write my blog in the past month, is that I haven’t felt like I had much inside worth sending out. Me and myself are pulling it all together for March, though. We lay on the bed under a pile of blankets to keep us weighted down to the here and now, and crack up a little bit while remembering things that happened in Hawaii and Vancouver and Toronto. Getting things into order. Taking it slow, I’m doing some work to convince myself that it’s good right here. I coax myself to calm down, and not get too overwhelmed by all my things piled up on the floor. 

I will maybe get one of those long stretchy ace bandages, and wrap it in an x shape around my torso and back and chest underneath of my clothes, and do some kind of big embroidery on it that says, “WHERE IT’S AT”. And never let anybody see it.
Can’t this be what they teach you in school for all those years?
“How to totally dig your own thing: lessons for everybody.”

show

** Note: Let’s talk about reading books as another place to be. This, I am finding, is a happy medium between f.o. (fantasy ogle) and solitarily confronting the lonely reverberations of oneself. I think the reason for this is that, in reading a book, it’s actually your job to make it all up, the book needs you to make it real inside of yourself. It won’t ever get to live anywhere else. Reading, for me, is different from obsessing over Hilary Swank’s shoulders, because, with the obsession, somebody out there in the world (Ms. Swank) really is getting to wear those things around, or getting to kiss them. And in the ogle, underneath of it, I am always being subtly pricked by the awareness that the fabulous shoulders wearer isn’t me.

But, Lolita, on the other hand– once you make up her face and her voice and her ankles, I think she’s all yours. You can actually take her around inside of your lonely spaces with you.

February 28, 2005

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