Monthly Archives: November 2012

Life is a 2-Player Game

“How old are you?” one of my 14 year old students asked. 33, I replied. “And do you have a wife?”. I said no. She asked why.

I haven’t found her yet, I said, smiling. Her expression didn’t change but she said with some conviction “And you never, ever will…”

Kids. Bless them.

And I’m hung over but this is fine as, in one of the few examples where I am right and the world is wrong, I don’t work mondays.

It’s also fine because I have my own little hang over routine. It involves ice coffee and water and cigarettes and music and the merest splash of red wine. And I know when I’m feeling better because that’s when I start to dance.

Nothing you’d confuse with anything professional of course. Much more of a distant cousin 4 times removed from dancing. Swaying’s nephew, perhaps.

And I know I look silly but it makes me smile.

Today, I haven’t danced yet. And I don’t know that I will. Because I’ve been sharing hangovers with G, but G’s not here now. The ice coffee and water and  cigarettes and music and overflowing red wine and dancing we’ve shared together.

And I know I looked silly but it made her smile.

“Without music life would be a mistake”

~Friedrich Nietzsche~

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Bittersweet in an Empty Room

Her stuff isn’t strewn around my room anymore. There are exactly 50% less ciggy butts in the ashtray, and one less glass of wine. It’s been a disgraceful, debauched and deeply lovely week.

But now it’s quiet, and empty because G is gone.

More than things, she isn’t here, and I’m even emptier than the room.

She left yesterday. Our friend P came to the airport too. He was picking up a new teacher, so the taxi on the way was free. G and me both share the benevolent luck of coming by freebies easily.

She left, and I won’t be hearing laters, taters anymore. I waved and turned and walked away and felt the physical distance grow. In the taxi back I glanced up at the sky, hoping, like a fool, to see a plane.

I filled my evening with friends and filled myself with drink. Somehow, still emptily.

And she talked of coming back, and she might, but I think it was meant to make our parting easier. I think that I know that it’s over.

It was intense and it was beautiful. Days spent entirely in this now empty room.

We talked each other inside out. Made the most of every moment. We did, for this last week, what people so often forget to do: We lived.

Her wry smile, wit and eloquence are far, far away. And it hurts that I might not see her again, to amuse and be amused, be awed and to kiss. But I’m stronger because of her. And I’ll remember when she said:

You’re gorgeous and you’re perfect.

Not true. But she thought it, and the thought was so big and uncontainable that she said it.  Here in my empty room I’ll always be able to think of her and smile.

Laters, taters.

 “If there’s any kind of magic in this world… it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know it’s almost impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt”

Celine, “Before Sunrise”

The Rape Joke That Went Too Far

Not so long ago I got into a debate on a wrestling forum – no, don’t go, honestly – and it all centered around a rape joke.

It was live TV on a show watched primarily by young men and children. Two men were in a ring, wrestling. A man playing the part of manager was on commentary, promoting the young man under his charge. So far, so wrestling.

Then the manager said:

“Titus is as unstoppable as Kobe Bryant in a Colorado hotel room”

He sought to promote his man by comparing him favourably with a rapist. He likened physically dominant traits – power, machismo, strength – with a rapist. He made a joke about rape on live TV.

I left a comment on a blog questioning whether he ought to lose his job. I made a cup of tea, bumbled about in my usual way and came back to check on any responses.

There were some responses.

There were 33.

And none of them even remotely agreed with me.

So I asked everyone, politely, this question:

If Kobe Bryant had raped a 7 year old girl, and the manager had made the same comment, would it still be funny?

The overwhelming response was:

No.

That would be sick, too far, you shouldn’t make jokes about kids like that. I’m obviously inclined to agree. But why, exactly, is it fine to laugh about a woman being raped?

So I asked why.

There were some responses. There were 3.

Apparently, I didn’t have a sense of humour.

Also, a 7 year old would be blameless because she wouldn’t know how to ‘dress slutty’. And one more person who got a bit befuddled and attacked me for trying to make a sick joke.

Making jokes about rape to impressionable minds makes it seem like rape isn’t such a big deal. And when the onus is on women to avoid rape rather than on men not to rape, blame and excuses can be heaped upon the victims.

I think the best response to a rape joke is this:

I don’t get it.

Persist until they explain, explanations always being the death of any joke, funny or otherwise. Persist until they reach the point where they have to say “she got/gets raped”.

And nod, slowly, looking a little confused.

“Beauty provokes harassment, the law says, but it looks through men’s eyes when deciding what provokes it.”

Naomi Wolf

And She Should Go…

We met outside a bar in a shiny neon night. There were motorbikes and street hawkers and noise and dirt and we talked alone together in a group. My friend L was there, and she sent me a text. The text said something that only a kind and caring friend could send. The text said this:

Body language signs good. Don’t fuck this up, dick.

She – G – has been the best person I could meet. You don’t see yourself with someone else when you’ve been hurt, and broken, and damaged. I didn’t.

And whisper this, but I didn’t think someone would want me. That’s the sort of thing that you really shouldn’t say. And I didn’t, but I thought it. I pushed it down but it was there.

And then I met her, and she was damaged too. Damaged, just like me. The same exact experience, though all of the names had been changed. And is there anything more blissful and reassuring than to meet another human being who understands you?

Yes.

Meeting another human being who understands you, and likes you. And you like and understand them too.

Isn’t that everything that anybody has ever wanted, ever?

Now, she’s leaving. And she should go, she should. I don’t want her to go. I don’t.

It makes sense for her to leave. She hasn’t taken to ‘Nam, and a cosy little role has popped up elsewhere. But my heart is like a child that just doesn’t quite understand. And I don’t want to tell it the truth.

The worst thing I could do is fall in love with you

She said.

And I should have said, “Do it”. Because it would have spoken of our natures. Impulsive and Reckless. A bit fucked in the head. And it would have made her giggle, and I like that sound. And it would have told her how I feel. Again, I feel.

I didn’t say “Do it”. I didn’t think of those words. I lay in the bed and looked at her, and she looked at me too. I think she was thinking what I was thinking and what I was thinking was this:

Stop time, remember the now.

But memory is hard to hold. I don’t even remember what words came next. The moment, like all the other moments, was gone.

I like listening to her. She chooses her words carefully, but with seemingly no effort at all. She makes me think differently about things. She smiles, even when she’s sad.

She’s lackadaisical or passionate but never in between. There’s no concrete plan, she doesn’t know where she’ll be but she wants to learn to trapeze and she will. She floats through life like me. She’s unfazeable. She’s witty. We do silly things together every time we meet. She plays poker. I fancy the pants off her.

But we’ve been damaged, and I don’t think she wants to be damaged again. We’ve met at the right time and the wrong time too.

And she should go.

And she will go.

When she goes, I’ll think this:

Would I wish that things were different when I know all things must pass? I wouldn’t. Who would?

“And I will always wonder how it would be if we never had met,

Life would be easier though dull, I suspect,

And I’d never claim you were mine.

Just if we were words, we would rhyme.”

~ Gruff Rhys ~

Olivia A. Cole

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