Archive for April, 2009

People, Dinners & Photographs

I slowly looked around this dimly lit room. What am I doing here? I thought. Who are these people sitting on tables all around me? They all look the same; with their matching black suits, and faces buried six-feet under an assorted combo of beauty products they saw somewhere on the pages of a fashion magazine, right next to an airbrushed picture of some skinny anorexic model named… whoever.

model

For a moment, my mind slipped back to an earlier time, two weeks ago to be exact; a dinner party not very much unlike this one. It had a lot less people, yet they didn’t all look the same. “Diversity” isn’t the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind.

The hall is divided into four quadrants, each of which has thirteen or so tables. I am on a table somewhere in the middle of this grand hall, seated with arguably the most normal, or closest-to normal people in a 5-mile radius.

I’m all for people changing and experimenting with fashion; doesn’t matter how outrageous or ridiculous. I’m fine with you wearing anything from Black overalls, to Larry-King suspenders, to tight ridiculous fuck-me pants, as long as you do it for you, and not just because a thousand fucking idiots are wearing it too. I believe your dressing should reflect more who you are, as a person, than where you are at that moment in time.

Maybe it’s because of this Facebook frenzy we’re currently all in. Everyone wants to get the best possible shots of themselves in those over-priced suits and dresses they blew all their pocket-monies on. Because they know that they might never get another chance to wear these expensive pieces of fabric ever again. Well, at least not until one of these events come back around, which, if they’re lucky, might take quite a while.

I remember one particular picture from that other dinner, two weeks ago. There I was, smiling, wearing a red graphic-tee, blue straight-cut jeans and red Converse All Stars. Just your stereotypical average anybody, from wherever. Beside me, on my left, was this guy in a brown business suit, looking very corporate down to his spotless brown leather shoes. He reminded me of that Enron dude from TV a couple of years ago. Next to him, was this other guy, dressed in what I’d like to call the over-sized white-trifecta: Shirt, Pants, and Sneakers, all 2 sizes too big. He was also rocking a huge shiny chain half the size of his head around his neck. All he seemed to be missing was a shiny pistol to match, and he’d be that rapper that got killed in that late night drive-by shoot-out you didn’t see in your local channel’s nine o’clock news. He had his arms around a girl, who was wearing a long pink tube-type dress covered in a multi-colored, mind-bending, hallucination-inducing flower print. Going strictly by our clothes, you would be crazy to think that we would even so much as hang-out together, let alone be these semi-strangers sitting on the same table at the same fucking dinner party.

There is a touch on my shoulder, and when I turn, it is this girl, wearing a little black dress, who might have been beautiful, and who I might have known from somewhere. Jamais Vu. Or maybe it’s just all these layers of make-up on her face that are preventing me from recognizing her. She says something, but I didn’t hear because I am looking at her shoes. They are bright yellow, bordering on gold. I guess that is her idea of standing out, being bold.
She wants us to take a picture together. I look at the camera, and for a split second, I zone out. I wonder what happens when this girl puts her legs together and clicks these shoes three times. Definitely not Kansas!

What breaks my heart is the fact that the jackass who shot us doesn’t know the first thing about taking decent photographs. I have all these things in my head that I want to say to the asshole. I know photography isn’t exactly rocket science dude, I’m thinking. But it’s still got rules asshole. Sure, they are not the gospel, but they’re fucking guidelines, at the very least. So for the love of God, just because it’s called a point-and-shoot camera doesn’t mean you can just point to wherever your dick is facing and fucking shoot! This is not the Wild West, and this, most definitely, is not your goddamn bedroom!

The picture from the dinner of two weeks ago was really good though. I was smiling, and everyone, in their own little way, looked great. The girl standing on my right added even more diversity to an already over-diversified line-up. She was wearing a black micro-mini skirt with a slightly smaller strapless top to match her knee high, black leather high-heel boots. Her face looked like something that broke out of a testing lab at a big cosmetic & beauty products company, one you might know from the cover of some fashion magazine you were never cool enough to come across. She was also spotting thick black eye-liner and heavy mascara. She looked like the stereotypical Goth-chick from all the Hollywood movies, if the said Goth-chick was also a hooker in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Red Light District

Back at this event, I wonder why some of the people wear these suits and dresses, when they are so very clearly uncomfortable in them. Maybe it’s the delusion that they’ll look stupid or silly if they wore something a little more comfortable and different, which is very ironic, considering that’s exactly how they end up looking: Clueless fucking conformist-sheep! Maybe it’s in their blood. Maybe it’s inevitable. Maybe whichever way they went, they would have still ended up looking fucking stupid.

See also: Fate.

See also: Predestination paradox.

It wasn’t until the end of the night when I saw this one guy wearing a white muscle-tee under a sleeveless green hoodie that I started seriously doubting myself. He shattered my belief on fashion, diversity and everything I knew about standing out in social situations. It was the equivalent of being four all over again, and finding out that the whole tooth-fairy thing was all a big fat lie.

He was also wearing faded black baggy jeans to go with his huge grey military-style boots. A thick grey scarf around his neck and a single black gym-glove on his left hand to complete, what I assume was “the look” he was going for. I wasn’t exactly sure what look that was, but if it was the “Uber-Douche” look he was trying for, he totally nailed it!

Maybe standing-out isn’t such a great idea. After all, it was the quest to be different that made the Goth-Hooker chick from two weeks ago wear a crystal white diamond-encrusted wedding gown to this dinner party. Maybe it’s wise to heed the old proverb, When in Rome…

My Hypertime

Apparently, I tell my stories in hypertime. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it may have something to do with my pacing. Maybe how I don’t let one thing sink in before throwing in another. It’s the equivalent of force-feeding a patient on a hospital bed; you might get the job done alright, but at the end of the day, the process isn’t exciting for either of you.

Don’t rush, just because it’s not exciting, doesn’t mean it’s not interesting. That statement just keeps playing back in my head, over and over. I should read it one more time, just in case the one in my head scratches, gets grainy or worse, starts skipping and driving me crazy.

Don’t rush, just because it’s not exciting, doesn’t mean it’s not interesting.

This is my shot at not rushing. This is me writing not exciting, hoping it turns out interesting, even if just a little. Come to think of it, what is interesting? What does it mean when someone says something is “interesting”? I intend to find out.

But first things first, I need to slowdown time.

Thoughts in the Men’s Room

There was no one in the men’s room when I walked in. At the sink, I looked at my reflection in the mirror; my face was dripping wet with sweat. The slightest dementia would have caused me to believe that I had poured a bucket of water on my head.

I left home in a hurry, tying my shoelace inside the elevator. I ran, the minute the elevator door opened, and then ran some more till I got to the school entrance. From there, I walked in a hurry, pushing past people as I made my way to the bank.

By the time I reached the ATM 10 minutes later, I was sweating like crazy. I couldn’t see properly because my sunglasses were covered in sweat. I wiped over them with kleenex from my back pocket. The neck and back regions of my T-shirt were soaked wet, and inside, I felt like an overheated engine furiously expelling hot steam. It was the equivalent of stepping out of a hot shower and immediately putting on cotton without toweling dry.

See also: Getting soaked in the rain.

See also: Taking a dip in the swimming pool fully clothed.

The tap at the sink is the kind you press at the top to get working. I pressed with one hand and collected the water in the other. Almost immediately, I splash the water on my face with both hands washing in a clockwise motion. Washing your face with this kind of press-stop tap requires skill.

The ATM makes that sound it makes when it’s counting your money. I always welcome this sound, especially when I use the ATM machine of another bank. It’s like music to my ears, because I know I’m going to get my money.

See also: Pavlov’s dog experiment.

See also: Classical Conditioning.

The machine opens up, and I take my money.

Almost immediately, I turned and started walking. Next stop, the men’s room.

“Freshen up” isn’t the right phrase, but it was the first that came to mind.

It was in that sorry state that I saw her. She was with some random guy that I neither knew, nor had any intentions of knowing. She was wearing a tee and skinny jeans, like she always does, with both eyes glued to her phone screen – texting.

I call her Ceey, because that’s short for her real name. We went out a few months back, and to say it ended really badly, will be a gross understatement.

She hasn’t seen you yet. Turn, take another route. I told myself.

“Al, are you balding?”, she said with a mischievous smile on her lips, “But it wasn’t that long since I last saw you”.

You just know this girl is evil from looking at her face.

“Oh no it was long alright”, I said. “Because I clearly remember the last time I saw you, you weren’t this pregnant”

Stop this stupid dialogue in your head, I told myself. Turn, run, she hasn’t seen you yet.

And I was just about to turn when I heard her voice. Hey Al, How have you been doing.

I looked at her. She was smiling. You could tell the smile was insincere because only her lips smiled.

See also: The clown from Stephen King’s It.

See also: The serial killer from Scary Movie.

I told her I was great.

“You’re sweating a lot”, she said.

Looking at the mirror over the sink in the men’s room, I say, Am I? Gee, thanks captain obvious.

I then poured more water in my face.

I told her I ran, hence the sweat.

I poured water on my face one last time before walking over to the drier. It was broken. There was a box of brown toilet paper by the side. I took one, hoping it was brown only because it’s recycled paper.

The guy that was with Ceey handed me a can of ice-cold grape juice. What’s this guy’s deal. No thank you, I told him. The ass insisted. I told him no, I’m cool. He said I wasn’t cool because I was sweating. Nobody likes a smart-ass. What would Jesus not do? I told him to bugger off because I don’t like him and I think he smells like poo.

For some reason, he took that personal.

Cool air hit my fresh moist face as I stepped out of the men’s room. I smiled, and wondered if all that I thought might have happened, would have actually happened, had I not cowardly snuck past them without saying a word.

I know there’s a 50% chance she would have been nice. But if she’s not, there’s a 100% chance she would have been much worse.

I was never good at statistics.

mensroom