April 28, 2009

So I'm in my underwear.  The temperature outside has rendered any article of clothing I own an actual threat to my physical wellbeing.  This afternoon I drew a big cool bath and floated in it like a basking shark.  I'm so uncomfortable in my own skin… I want to peel it all off and dance around in my bones.

I've been listening to a lot of Tom Waits lately – must give him credit for the bones line – one of my favorite lyrics of all time.  Also, sorry for the tub-centric imagery of my pasty ass.

I've been up all night trying to make a mix cd for the girl I'm kinda pseudo-seeing.  She's harrowing.  She's 29 and a social worker, and her eyes are so big and round that I actually want to get her genetically tested to see if any part of her is amphibian.  Believe it or not… that was a compliment. 

She's lovely.  She moves with elegance.  She speaks deliberately, but her voice is lilting and musical.  She's confidant and yet very vulnerable.  She's got a past.  She's got dark hair.  She smokes.  She loves Philip Larkin.  Basically – she's pretty much the kind of girl who I'm apt to really dig on… or rather, I would have… a million years ago… back when I was a passionate person when it came to my romantic relationships.  Back when I really felt things for others – and when I hadn't constructed such a strong, robotic countermeasure – ask Jamie about that.  I stopped really feeling a few years ago – and now (and I'm not chalking this up to the girl, though she's probably a part of it) the impulse is starting to well up in me… and this is all going to end badly, I just know it. 

It's the little things that are doing it, I think.  The little brushes of hands, the little physical intimacies – they speak to something larger, even if I don't know what that is… and would, honestly, rather not think about it…

But we all know how impossible it is for Angie not to think about something.  So let's do it right…

I've come in contact (metaphorical contact, in this context, I'm not being dirty) with a lot of different women in the last six months or so… and it's been like a masters course in body language.  I'm not exactly bilingual yet – but I can muddle my way around town.  I've always been observant of little things like that – the way someone's fingers move when they lie, the arc of someone's brow when something you say really moves them, how someone's eyes seem to dance in their sockets when you've hurt them.  The face really gives so much away if you know how to read it.  The body, too.  We can't keep a secret even if we try – the way we move betrays what we're saying, what we're not saying… and it does it in whispers.  And I love that.

That's what I've always hated it when women come on too strong.  There have been a few who've done that – one in particular who, when I met with her, grappled onto me like a moray eel.  She laughed at everything I said, even when I wasn't attempting to be funny.  I felt so… used.  Actually, not used.  I felt like vapor.  Like I wasn't even there.  Like I didn't matter.  Like I could have been anybody.  I was basically a receptacle for her attention – and, quite frankly, that just doesn't do it for me.  I need to be finessed.  I need to know I matter.

I'm no stranger to flirtation – I love it, actually – I'd flirt with a bowl of hot fruit if it's in the right lighting.  I flirt with men, even though I'm not attracted to them.  It's the ham in me.  It's the boozy little bimbo that wants to be adored.  We've all got one inside us… mine just happens to be holding a megaphone and wielding a flare gun… especially when pretty girls are around.  I can flirt pretty well (weather permitting) most of the time – whenever it doesn't really matter beyond the parameters of that flirtation.  Casual flirtation.  It's a contract really – a mutual agreement:  We're going to talk like characters do in movies for a while.  We're going to create our own little parallel universe – one where everything everyone says is pithy and sharp.  We're going to paw at one another with our words… and feign genuine interest – even marinate in the sexual tension, dip our fingers into the idea of it… but only have a taste… a theoretical done.  When we're done, when we leave the universe – we go back to go to our separate rooms and go on about our business.  It's all ego stroking.  Casual flirtation means that I can pretend to be someone else – someone witty and urbane – I can emphasize my good qualities and not the bad – the pasty, love-handled, neurotic, self-absorbed, terrified little stoat side of me.  Everyone gets to pretend to be everything they wish they were – and douse themselves in the attention and the wine and the glimmer.  But it doesn't really mean anything.  It's like playing paintball – you're shooting at each other, but nobody's going to have their head torn open.  You're only playing with paint.

But there's another kind of flirtation – the kind that the Moray eel inflicted on me a few weeks ago.  That flirtation isn't casual at all – it's a subterfuge.  Casual flirtation is a shared lie – the eel's flirtation was one-sided.  Because I could have been anybody that night.  I could have said anything to her, and she'd have laughed.  Because she wanted to see me with my clothes off that night – and she'd have laughed at anything I said in order to do it.  "You are who I want you to be," she was saying, essentially.  That's what her body was saying, anyway.  And I can't stand that at all.  There's no intimacy there – even when the eel writhed up to me and licked my ear as she whispered into it (seriously, she licked my goddamn ear in the corner of the bar – I was disgusted) I was a million miles away from her.

I don't have that distance from this girl.  Quite the contrary – there's something going on there – we've discussed this… we're so present when we're near one another that it's jarring.  We don't really know anything about each other yet – but there's this hum between us… electric… it feels like the walls might burst into flames if we stay in one room for too long.  So one would think that, stuffed full of piping hot intimacy (or whatever the hell it is), I'd be happy as a clam to have her haunting around in my brains.  But I'm not.  And I am.  And I'm not.  And, as if the heat wasn't enough… I've got this parade going on in my head tonight… and it's keeping me up.

So I'm sitting here, dicking around with this damn playlist on iTunes – all for a mix cd that I'm not going to give her anyway.  Because I'm not making this for her, really.  I'm making it for me.  Because I need to figure out what I'm thinking – feeling.  It's been a while since I've really done that: Really felt something.  Even something as nascent and as ultimately trivial as this.  It's a crush – that's all.  But oh sweet Jebus, what a crush.

I want this music to say something to me – to clear the air a bit – to drown out the hum.  I hate the idea of using music with lyrics – partly because I don't want someone else to speak for me, and that I think most song lyrics are trash (Tom Waits' "take off your skin, and dance around in your bones" notwithstanding).  But mainly because I prefer instrumental music.&#01
60; Strange as it may be, considering that I'm attempting to be a writer, I feel like sound communicates my feelings better than words ever could.  Words are too particular.  They're concepts we approximate through scribbles.  Well I can't be precise at all right now… because I don't know what the hell I feel.  So how the hell can I use lyrics?  I feel scared and excited and sad and happy all at once.  I think about this girl, and then I think about why I'm thinking about the girl, and I think about how I'm thinking about how I'm thinking about the girl… and my brain devours itself.  There aren't really any words that can express something as muddled as this.  The only thing I can think of that can is the cello – so I pile on the Zoe Keating.

I've got a wide variety of artists in there – from Django Reinhardt to Mogwai to Miles Davis to The Four Tops (you can never go wrong with the Four Tops – like, ever – even the lyrics work).  I just keep adding and subtracting and clicking and clicking and clicking… changing the order over and over and over again.  Because, for as much as I'm elated by the time we've spent together – for as drunk as I am on the intimacy that I'm experiencing… and dizzy over how naturally it's come about… I'm freaked the hell out.  As quirky and charming as I can be in a casual flirt – I'm lost in the din of whatever the fuck this is.  I've got no bearings.  I'm just feeling – and I hate it when I do that.  My brain's somewhere in there – but older, emotional parts in me are starting to come out of hibernation… and I don't quite know how to reconcile myself to them just yet.

I'm a person who craves intimacy… but absolutely refuses to be vulnerable.  Not when it counts.  Not when I stand to lose.  So what does that make me?  I'm afraid that it makes me the eel – that I'm crushing at this girl rather than with her.  That I'm using her to play towards the things I want to feel… but am not really able to step outside of the lie. 

Actually – that's a lie.  I'm not afraid that I'm doing that.  I'm afraid not to.  I'm afraid to come back to Earth – to the real.  I'm afraid of what she'll see when the fog passes – what she'll hear when the hum goes away.  I'm afraid of being rejected… and that's such a whiny, pedestrian fear that I want to puke. 

It's not even like I want to be in a relationship – I don't.  I just got out of one.  I'm happy being alone for now.  It won't last forever – but for right now I'm enjoying the freedom of it.  The loneliness – the empty bed – I even like that. 

But I'm feeling something now.  And I haven't really felt anything passionate in a long time.  I probably don't even feel this much, really.  I'm just remembering how to do it, is all.  It's like I'm stepping into the sunlight (the goddamn, hot sunlight) after years in the dark… and my eyes are burning in the adjustment.

I'm rambling.

I do that.

I'll stop.

I've got a playlist to obsess over.  Here's hoping I don't fuck it or anything else up.


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