For, like Acestes’ shaft of old,
The swift thought kindles as it flies,
And burns to ashes in the skies. Acestes - Everything2.com
The whole place gives me the heebies. Starts with the Wes Anderson monogram-as-sign covertly placed in the upper-right-hand-corner, hoping you don’t even notice. Oh god, it’s you? Fine…come in.
Enter and be judged by a lit-er-al-ly blonde botoxed bitch who rolls her eyes cause you walked over to the wrong couch area duhhhhh. This ain’t a Denny’s, and I ain’t stealing a carafe, girlfriend. And fine, I’ll type my name into the goddamn iPad mini.
Makes the Ace seem downright quaint and friendly.
Seriously it’s a “CANTEEN?” Are you kidding me?
He was wearing white-rimmed glasses. Perhaps mother-of-pearl.
Have you ever met someone who waltzed through life getting everything they wanted because they’re so good looking? I have. It was 1998, and I launched a strange, semi-successful attempt to befriend a very good looking man/boy/man because I thought goddamnit probably no one takes you seriously, but I WILL.
Did white rims know? Did he not know? It was hard to tell. In an attempt not to break the spell, he committed to natty dress. Hanging out at the work collective. With the goddamn CANTEEN. Keep gritting your teeth and being cool and wearing Thom Browne and whatever you do don’t stop walking, just keep walking, everything will be fine if you just keep humming, getting older, older, beauty fades, Thom Browne and CANTEENS last forever.
That’s not even the weirdest thing that happened.
Cibeles VIP lounge, MAD, T1. Future meets the past. An un-renovated New Orleans Riverwalk with 80s Michael Graves velour couches in red, blue, and tan, sitting on top of white tiles, quiet, eerie, jutting out onto the runway. The hum of machines. A rattly custodian cart. Crustless ham and butter sandwiches in a refrigerator for the taking. Silver ice bucket. Coca Light. Men, laptops, quiet desperation.
And I like it a lot.
The big thing I need to write is of course about my identity, and how it feels to be Penelope Cruz on the inside and “posh Glaswegian” on the outside.
Threads would include my father outing himself as Spanish in his heart and not, gasp, Sicilian; being told by a bunch of Brazilian men I look like Kate Middleton; getting caught up in some #banbossy moments at work; cultural stereotypes; ethno-tourism; almost being born in Bogota (but not quite); Shakira; studying French, not Spanish, in school; “that which you displace only comes back to haunt you” as said by my Austrian undergraduate thesis advisor; the “Mexichicks” from high school and college and that short story I wrote when I was 19 where I described their attire, in a way that still fascinates me; selecting the shade with which to dye one’s hair; sunscreen; the embarrassment of spelling my anglo name aloud to the nice guy at Starbucks on Gran Via; “Eat Pray Love” as a concept; and pretty much all of this.
But now? Now I do the PowerPoint.
There is a man you see out of your left eye’s peripheral vision as you exit the Q train at 14th Street from adjacent doors. The height, the hair. You clock them. The tote bag. Ugh. Not another tote bag.
The man works on your building. On your floor, to be precise. You know his name. You met in the elevator. You relate to his Brooklynness.
Ugh. You relate to his Brooklynness.
There is a man, except he is a boy. He is serious. He is a Pisces? He must be another goddamn Pisces.
You find him. Another man with a truly un-googleable name. You find a bio. A college. A “several bands,” “enjoys playing in.”
You find a band. The band’s name is a reference to technology gone awry.
Because, of course.
But before you google this man, who isn’t that much younger, not really, you are standing on the platform between the recently departed Q train and the not-yet-arrived N train. You know he’s there, you know he knows who you are, and sees you, and you stand there and play dumb and just drink it all in.
You know he sees you because there has been a lot of seeing, and noticing, and looking, but not off campus.
You put on Wild Tchopitoulas. You apply Rosebud Salve, Mint, to your lips, with your right ring finger. You think, ugh, tote bag. And the N train arrives, and the doors open between you, and you wonder when eye contact will be exchanged.
Not another Pisces.
Not another tote bag.
Still. You play along. You’re just So Wrapped Up in Listening To Your Music. The station arrives. You exit. You, the two of you, walk up the staircase feet away from one another.
He makes a run for it on Broadway in front of a taxi. You do too.
Then you cross the street. Where’s he going? You’re (actively) not paying attention. You hop up onto the curb. You don’t sense the shadow again until you turn to smile at a passing Shiba Inu on the office block. He’s there.
You reach the building first. You chat with the doorman. Someone enters. Another person enters. Another person enters. You’re chatting with the doorman. The elevator line is long. But there he is. Here comes the stubble. The tote bag. The hair.
You are standing in the elevator, side-by-side. There is still no eye contact. There is a chat with someone else. The electrons stand on end. And yet. The air slowly leaks from the balloon. The person you know better, with whom you are talking, demands your attention. There is no, “Did I see you on the Q train?” There is no, “Romance is likewise strange but potentially emancipating if you care not for convention.” There is sadtrombone.wav, putting your bag down, reloading, walking to the kitchen, Maybe The Kitchen!, except, no, no kitchen.
The man does not enter the kitchen.