Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a complex & skeptical system

I'm losing my edge. I especially noticed this today while having coffee with an ex co-worker from the Brooklyn flea market days when I sold fish tacos in DUMBO by Grimaldi's.

This guy, we'll call him Jake, was a good eight years younger than me, studying psychoanalysis in Manhattan when I met him; he was one of those effeminate types who always talked about his girlfriend.

We got along, him being into Asians, and me being into that passionate attention that gets lavished upon you when you're exactly the type someone's looking for to love. Doting, puppy-eyed worship. It's virtually irresistible when projected by an attractive person.

Anyway, Jake is a fox, so I was happy to meet him when he messaged me saying he'd moved to San Francisco and was going to be in LA for the afternoon. His girlfriend, in town for whatever, would be dropping him off at Intelligentsia at 2:30 to see me.

When I got to the coffee place, I was a few minutes early, so I ducked into a boutique next door and splurged on a handmade cardigan by a local designer, who superimposed N'Sync members onto the bodies of Transformers underneath a bio hazard symbol.

By the time I made it to Intelligentsia, Jake was standing outside, smoking a cigarette by a meter, with his phone in hand to text me and let me know he had just gotten there.

When he saw me, he gave me a nice squeeze, a few kisses on the cheek, and asked me what I'd been up to. I showed him my cardigan. He said it looked expensive and asked me if I had a job. No, I said, then told him about my marriage, physical condition--expecting new life in June. What a way to spring a surprise on me, he said, woah!

When we saw that the coffee shop had a line that went out to the street, we went to Casbah Cafe, which almost always has a place to sit without having to sift through skinny kids in thick framed glasses vogueing and talking about music; although they are often adorable.

I ordered a Yerba Mate latte, a few baked things to pick and taste, and Jake got an Americano; we commenced to catching up.

The scoop on the flea market scene after I left for LA, which apparently became aggressively incestuous before self-destructing, was a joy to imbibe second-hand; drugs, sex, stealing, it was all there. My story on the other hand, was very tame.

How is it anything other than pathetic to hear that an independent forerunner for strong-minded and ambitious women in America has settled down, become domesticated, cooks for and takes care of her husband as one half of a co-dependent partnership, is expecting a baby, and is looking for a new home to build a quiet life in?

A year ago, before all this I was living in Williamsburg, jogging in McCarran Park, having a delicious affair with a skilled and sophisticated Casanova, eating daily Chinese from around the corner, carousing with beautiful gay men to beaches, to clubs...

(it sounds ridiculous and anything but romantic now, but the major difference is I was free and convinced I would never be a representative of convention. I scoffed at moms with their power strollers and organic meal plans. It felt revolutionary to fight the clock, to counter-mimic ideas of stability imposed upon any woman in her lifetime.

For one, I felt it was impossible to find one partner who I wouldn't find completely aggravating after a a few years of spending too much time together. And two, if I did ever find  that guy, there would be no guarantee that he'd want me back.

What a complicated system: coupling; it's half based on smell and the rest has to do with timing and a willingness to settle for some semblance of a prize.)

As I spoke to Jake, I saw the look in his eyes change from a shy, flirtatious curiosity to looking nervous and betrayed, as if I went from being "me" to one of "them." Them being of people who have completely unregistered in the department of availability, as a muse, a mentor, fantasy love object, whatever--for his age range anyway.

Who knows, his clock could shift into family mode one day, too; and only then will I make a comeback as the ideal mother/partner figure.

Ideas of revolution fade. Of wanting to feel special, different, or finding one's rich sense of purpose in a realm of antiestablishment ennui. Now baby pictures shroud the family mantle as a contemporary shrine of la tabula rasa; as the organized rebirth of one's own calamitous identity.

I used to fantasize about living alone on a lighthouse with no connections to the outside world. I see now I was only preparing myself for the worst. Trying not to be blindsided by potential shitty hands being dealt at any given moment. I was bracing myself for tragedy.

It's nice to be able to relax; I've certainly paid my dues. And if this makes me boring and old and conventional, then I embrace all of it, as long as my husband embraces me whenever I need him to.


ned-vizzini said...

As the husband in question a little biased (right?) but I think this is beautiful. And now I know what you bought yesterday!

Blazintommyd said...

Happy Birthday ♥♥ oXo ♥♥ :)

Sabra Embury said...

You too, Tommy!

naim said...

I really connected with this Sabra,

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