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cat shit prolix beauty October 4, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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If everything in our heads were laid out in the open, would the world be a better place? Nobody would be able to inveigle or obfuscate. Yeah, people will always come up with creative ways to take advantage of others, but surely the opportunity for them to do so would be drastically reduced.

Even if the entire concept makes me shudder, I can’t help thinking it would be more beneficial than not, since if that were how the world worked we wouldn’t have any hangups about being open. We would just be. And there would be nothing wrong with being.

I’m drunk on Shirley Temples, and intoxicated by proxy.


I do not often weep, but I wept when I first viewed a certain scene from American Beauty. A plastic bag floats over the dust on nothing but wind, transfigured into more than it never dreamt of being. It became cinema as cinema only sometimes dreams of being, of elevating the jejune to genius. Some genius set that scene up with transcendentally beautiful cleverness because they understood both beauty and cleverness, set it to music scored to machinate a tender and lingering tristesse, and I said why not, and let them take the tears from me.

Nothing to do with anything in particular, everything to do with everything in general.

It’s not too often that I get the feeling I can say absolutely anything I want to someone. This has absolutely nothing to do with establishing bonds of friendship; it’s more like a detached celebration of banter. Bantering is a fine art. Some people wear self-confidence in such a manner that I pretty much know nothing I say is going to bring them down; some people, I think, like banter because they either understand it as a game, or because in a way it’s a form of acceptance, or acknowledgement.

I don’t know that banter necessarily brings me closer to people; it’s more a mental gambit where all the players are intent on playing at being dicktrees to each other. The trick, I guess, is to get away with pretending to be as much of an asshole as you can without actually being an asshole. (If you’re not just pretending to be an asshole, it’s not banter, it’s war.)

Banter is possibly only good in small, measured doses. I’m not sure how good it is for the soul.

Last night we were meant to be going to a colleague’s leaving dance. There have been far too many of these things lately. Let’s not get into that, it’s depressing as hell. We got to the venue and discovered that bouncers are dicktrees. You can’t even banter with them! Who knew! I didn’t care for the seamy glimpses I caught through their steamy windows, so!

Under the glass forest canopy we were reduced to …what? Animals, quailing from the rain. My animal friends and I went for crepes instead and talked about bullshit like existentialism.

I am high as hell on sugar.

I slept at 4 and woke at 9.30; morning comes too quickly these days. I lay indolent beneath cotton sheets and stared at a spiral of hair on my pillow, and played with the focus of my eyes. We have the latent power to do all this trippy shit we don’t usually bother thinking about. It’s as trippy as thinking about what it really means that light is just a wave (or a particle, yeah), or trying to imagine an eighth colour.

I popped different parts of the hair formation in and out of focus and then I realised; there’s the summation of my life at present. I can’t hold it all in focus all at once. Something must give.

Beauty is realising I’m only two minutes late for lunch.

Now here we are, sitting in the food court at the mall.

To my left I keep hearing snippets of the most boring conversation in the world. It makes me wince. I don’t think I need to describe it to you; we’ve all had our share of banal conversations. Perhaps all conversations start off as boring because they are rooted in the concrete; of this too, I’m often guilty.

Mired in concrete, people are unified only by the same interests; without commonality you’re regally fucked. Comparatively, a shared interest in abstraction is often enough to make topics cohere.

There’s an art to triggering viewpoints from other people, and it’s not always easy. Bringing a conversation round to an abstract bent usually requires some self-sacrifice on the part of the contributors. Concretions are safe, solid things that only exist and are; abstractions are often personal and revealing. We’re not talking facts anymore, we’re talking opinions. Those start wars, you know. Maybe we should just bring it all back to banter.

Onward, to duty. Tick tocks the clock, tick, tick tock, the lamp greens the light, and I go.

Now here we are in the time of rain, out in the open and from under the forest, and I ask you — what would you say the chances were of two raindrops hitting you in both eyes both at once? Here I am, in the lift, having a throwaway conversation with two strangers about how it’s the worst thing when the rain catches you naked and umbrellaless and lost, and then I realise my umbrella was with me all along, that it was always there.

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