Thursday, November 24, 2005

I nearly forgot about this situation that happened in the video store the other day. I was standing there looking at a dvd when a large man bumped into me on purpose. It was like somebody had just pushed a warm cushy blanket into my back. Getting touched from behind triggers negative childhood memories about an over-friendly greasy old substitute teacher, so I gave the guy, who was trailing a small boy, a dirty look and kept reading the back of my dvd. I guess his preliminary investigation was satisfactory, so he gave himself a mental go sign and tried a frontal approach. "Hey, don't I know you from somewhere? Did you go to [some high school]? Do you go to The Hop?" Later, I find out from my mom that The Hop is a club specializing in singles dances, particularly for the over-55 crowd, and that my grandma used to go there with her caretaker Vicki.

I suddenly lost interest in telling this story. It was just sad and ridiculous and annoying. The joker kept looking me up and down like maybe if he got lucky a breast would pop out. He insisted on giving me his number even though I told him I wasn't going to call him, not now, not ever, and that I was leaving and wasn't even interested in making new friends, much less starting a romantic entanglement with a divorced 36-year-old. I'd feel sorry for the guy if he wasn't so obviously a jerk. What a fucked up sad little life it is.

Lately in conversations the topic of gender difference has been coming up, a lot. I can think of three very intense and pertinent instances and then there's this subtext running underneath everything, like books I'm reading and articles and NPR stories too. So I'm thinking again about the difference between boys and girls. These days I feel like I might enjoy being a man for a while because it seems like they get a little more slack, emotionally, than women do, and I'm tired of ripping myself apart every day. Men's emotional lives look empty but peaceful from here, like a nice landscape with pretty pastures and cows grazing even though there's probably an earthquake about to happen that going to spew dirt and rocks up out of the ground and the cows will all die mooing brokenly and falling forever and ever into giant cracks, right into the center of the world.

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