Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Knowing Nothing Ever Happens

Right. Today I tested out the barber recommendation I got last night. This involved riding my bike down all kinds of state streets right to the edges of downtown. Cars downtown know how to deal with cyclists much better than on ghettoward streets, probably from dealing with all the couriers who ride like maniacs-- my 'act like a car for the most part' routine must be a refreshing change for them.

As the bartender last night said, "You need an old guy who doesn't speak English very well." This matches my idea of what a barber should be very closely. I didn't get the straight razor treatment, and the cut cost $17 (12 is usually my limit), but the guy knew what he was doing. Whenever I get a cut and the barber starts with the back and sides, there's a moment when I see myself in the mirror with the sides short and the top still long and wonder if I could get away with it as a look... a bit retro 80s, maybe, but isn't that what's hip now and wow these days?

Then back up to P street and over to Georgetown for my monthly comix buying spree. Not too much interesting, though I did pick up Paul Pope's "Heavy Liquid" at long last and Craig Thompson's "Blankets." I hadn't realized before I saw it that "Blankets" was the size of "Gravity's Rainbow"! Quite the tome... I'll get to it once I finish "Jimmy Corrigan," which I always pick up, examine the cover and endpieces, and become discouraged. I've heard "Watchmen" called the "Ulysses" of graphic storytelling, but in complexity, stylistic audacity and personalness, I think "Jimmy Corrigan" may be the more appropriate choice for that title.

On the way home I stopped at the Cafe to grab some (free) coffee and read a few pamphlets. Everyone I saw had the same reaction. First: some form of "I didn't recognize you at first!" then, "do you have a job interview?"

I would have stayed longer, but I'd left my phone at home and I needed to call my parents to wish them a happy anniversary. They were impressed -- all but shocked -- that I remembered. Always good to see such confidence in one's ability not to be a scatterbrained loon, though I suppose given my track record in such matters I have no right to be offended-- the surprise was well-earned. (But how hard is the Ides of March to remember, honestly?)

Then I sunk into an odd depressed state, the kind of unfocused low-level thing wherein everything seems somewhat muffled and detatched. This lasted until I sat down with my guitar, determined to figure out that Mekons song. The one that gave me the title for this entry, and the previous entry. The one which I'd had on repeat play for a good half hour this afternoon. After a few false starts the song just came out, all four chords of it. And suddenly everything lifted-- all the obsession over past failures, all the certainty of more to come. I couldn't remember the words except for the chorus, but I was singing, and the words expressed a sadly hopeless hopefulness that captured everything I've been feeling or trying to feel.

Maybe I should give up on trying to write, which just makes me depressed, and focus on music. I kid myself that I have talent or potential for crafting prose, but in music I know I'm crap. Any time I try to write I give up halfway through in disgust and self-loathing, while in music the slightest piddling accomplishment fills me with joy and satisfaction. And part of me is convinced that if I ever manage to get up on stage and play music, every hip beautiful woman in DC will fall hopelessly in love with me and my days will be spent evading screaming hordes of them like a third generation copy of a Monkees episode doing a third generation copy of a Beatles movie.

Earlier this year a regular at the Cafe, impressed with the music I put on the stereo there, suggested that I try getting a dj gig at a club. The idea planted itself in my head until it's reached the point of having similar resultant fantasies of hordes... less screaming than requesting mix tapes/CDs. From the Monkees to John Cusack in "High Fidelity." That's what a celebrity crush on Natasha Gregson Wagner gets you!

wow, here i thought i was wrapping up and suddenly i'm into full ramble mode...

Last Monday the pretty nordic redhead came into the Cafe. We hadn't seen her for several months, and suddenly she was there for the second day in a row. She was sharing a booth with some guy, and they were talking and she was playing with her hair. It struck me suddenly that I always see beautiful women playing with their hair at someone who isn't me and said as much to my coworker. See, I don't reserve all my self-pity for the online sphere. And we got to talking about missing body language cues, and being too nervous to be witty and charming around the people around whom we most needed to be charming and witty. It is a great irony of my life, I have recently noticed, that I am very good at interpreting body language except when it's being directed at me.

The upshot of this story comes at closing time. Another coworker and I had finished up with the cleaning, and were sitting at the counter, she smoking a cigarette and I finishing my beer. We were chatting and I was looking off into the middle distance as I too often do and I noticed that she was holding a lock of hair straight out from her head...

One thing I've noticed about myself over the last few years is my unfortunate tendency to misinterpret flirtation. When somebody is flirting with me just because they think flirting is fun, I take it seriously. When someone is flirting with me because they're genuinely interested, I think they're just having fun. Knowing this, I second guess myself constantly. Into paralysis. Until on occasion a growing infatuation forces itself past my social paranoia and I succeed in making an ass of myself. The rejection, so long building, is absurdly shattering-- so much more so than it would have been had I simply made an attempt before everything reached a fever pitch.

At this point I really should try to sleep, as work is a mere 13 hours away and this entry has become an unmanageable beast. At least my loyal readers (all none of them) have something substantial to reward their patience (all none of it) through my long silences.

It'll be all right...
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