Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Went for a drive today. There was no destination, no plan; only the path of least resistance.
Up in the hills, following narrow, winding roads lined by expensive houses. Few people were visible. Just the houses and cars.
Out of the hills and heading south; the sun hot through the windscreen, wind cool through open window.
It's been a long time since I've visited Laguna Beach. The last time I'd had company. Today I am alone.
More narrow, winding roads, more opulent houses staking precarious claim to treacherous land. As in the hills, follow any of these roads long enough, you hit a cul-de-sac. In the hills there'd be enough room to simply turn around. On the cliffs of Laguna Beach, you can barely manage to twist your way out by a six- or eight-point turn.
The radio doesn't work well out here, the cliffs block the signal. So the drive continues in silence.
There's a girl walking a dog. She's a little pudgy, no SoCal goddess of human perfection here, right? Except. Her skin is a lustrous bronze and her hair only a shade darker. Her walk is kinesthetic poetry. Watching her cross the street: her face is pleasant, her lips slightly curved upward even at rest. The lips of someone who smiles a lot.
I want to roll down the window and shout after her, tell her she's beautiful.
Instead I drive away.
If no one hears me, did I shout? If no one sees me, am I there?
Anonymity, invisibility: a siren song. To leave it all behind, to float unattached through the world of real people, to observe everything and participate in nothing...
I drive, and there is no thought, no emotion. I'm going down streets alone I once strode holding hands with someone. The thought, that once would have torn at me, causes no pangs. I feel nothing. It's just data. Am I empty and numb, or simply untethered?
I don't know, and the thought drifts away unanswered.
The past isn't important. I'm not important. I don't think. I don't exist, as I've existed: a shambling composite of all I've seen and done. Something's changed.
The road unspools like a black and yellow ribbon, the broken line of the divider passing under me like the ticks of seconds and minutes pass through me. The radio's still off, the only sound is the kiss of my wheels on the road and the twin roars of wind and engine.
There is nothing behind me in time or in space. There is barely a me. There is only the road, only the sun and sky and the wind that whips my hair around my ears.
* * *
Yesterday I went to a nearby open-air mall.
I sat outside on a cold concrete bench, and smoked a cigarette, and watched as the peoples of Earth passed before me.
Young, old. Quiet, loud. Male, female. Healthy, sick. Straight, gay. Beautiful, hideous. Sit there long enough, and you'll see every race represented, you'll see blacks and whites and Asians and Indians and Hispanics. Sit there long enough, you'll see every tribe: preppies, goths, punks, jocks, wiggers, cowboys. The devout and the profane, the indigent and the wealthy.
There was only one common denominator.
No one was there alone.
It should make me sad, but somehow it doesn't.
I'm a social loner. There was never a time it was any different. Sometimes it was less obvious than others, sometimes I wedged my square self into the round holes life presented me, but I don't fit. I never have, and I don't expect I ever will.
I used to wish I wasn't invisible, railed against being cast as the outsider looking in, to perpetually being alone in the crowds. I used to think I needed someone to see me, to hear me, for me to be real.
I thought I needed to be real to be happy. So I held tight to those rare moments where it seemed I was real to someone. I guarded them jealously and I quaked with fear of losing them. And when inevitably I did lose them, I went through a withdrawal no less fierce than from any other addiction.
* * *
My mother becomes a completely different person when she's around her sister, her best friend, her daughter. It's like any rises in ambient estrogen turns her ears off and her mouth permanently on.
When my sister visited, the entire visit was endless demands for attention, nonstop meaningless chatter and constant motion. And that was after my mother's best friend had already been there a few days.
I think I got sick in self-defense.
That got me some distance, gave me an excuse for being quiet. It let me watch as the three women twittered and cawed for all the world like a trio of birds, making noises that didn't mean anything, just to prove to themselves and everyone else that they're alive, that they're there, that they're real.
It would have been fine, but none of them were really being themselves.
It was a relief when everyone went home. When I could stop pretending to be real, when I could slip back into the gray where no one sees me.
* * *
I used to think my importance depended on the attention I got from others.
I used to think I needed that attention, that I had to do things, big things, important things, so people would look at me, would listen to me, so I could be real.
I used to wish I was someone else. Someone who was good at getting attention.
But it's dawned on me over the past few days: I am not that tree in the woods. I am myself regardless of whether I'm observed. I don't need other people to tell me I'm real.
My identity isn't what they think it is. It just is.
All the pain I've felt in my life, it's been from trying to be someone I'm not.
I want to accomplish things, yes. But not so I can be important, not for the attention I so used to crave.
It's for them. From my coign of vantage, looking in from the fringe, I see more clearly. I see what they cannot. I can tell them what I see. The lone wolf, watching out for the sheep?
There's no reason to compromise the integrity of my beingness. There's no reason to pretend, no need to force my way inside.
I'm not real because they see me.
I'm real because I see them.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Yes. I have secured a tall, frosty beverage and an eminently suitable observation point. I shall now observe them in their natural habitat.Naturally, by "them" I am referring to Pasadena passersby. #letthesnarkycommentarybeginSee the A&F-wearing douchebag, unable to muster such common courtesies as asking to sit at my table.Does that girl know her shirt turns translucent in direct sunlight? #Idontthinkshedoes #iamSOnotcomplainingApropos of nothing, "Snark Fodder" is the name of my next band.Those baby sling things kinda freak me out. They just don't seem SAFE. #idbeagooddaddyDude. You didn't need the gallons of ink, piercings, or earpucks to make people look at you. You're so BFU they'd do it anyway. #justsayinOk - what the hell SEX are you, skinny hipster creature? Seriously, you've passed by 4 times and I still can't tell.Oh man, do those guys realize they're MUCH too old to be fashionable? Even dbag "fashion"? Because ew.I have outlasted the douchebag. Also the sextegenarian human beatbox wannabe. #iwinWow. The only way that dude could flame brighter would be rainbow rainment. #straighteyeforthequeerguy