I have found my laughter from where it was hiding. This time, for the very first time, it’s allowed out of the closet with tears still in its eyes. When I grew up, I grew up in a strange canadian cultural vacuum. I would stare out the window of the truck at all the houses gliding past and wonder what real people had inside thier houses. What was on the other side of so many doors? I lived in hotel rooms and on some basic level, they’re all the same. Clinical transiency. Fake flowers, soulless bedspreads that match the thick ugly curtains, television remotes that you either find next to the miniature fridge or bolted to the table. Cable is an option, but there’s always an ice machine that clunks in the middle of the night. I used to pad out into hallways and sit against them sometimes, because it was a light I could read by. Anonymous. The trick is that they’re always anonymous. The furniture is not your furniture, the life you live within those walls belongs to no one. I grew up being not real people.
My body jerked me across my bed when I woke up this morning. An unfamiliar hand had touched me on the shoulder. Left over reflexes I really should work on controlling a little better. I was up late, reading, unable to think about my tomorrow. Too many things. I have a livingroom picnic this afternoon with Brian. We’re putting down a blanket and making sandwiches. If I was a better person, I would suggest we pretend we’re on a beach somewhere, but I’m not. So I won’t. Breakfast today with precious friends led into a pleasant walk up the drive and some actual grocery shopping. It’s like my world spun around. A smile has been affixed to my face. Someone I don’t know stopped me on the street on my way home with my bags, “I see you all the time on the drive, but I’ve never talked to you, but today I felt I had to say something. You’re really pretty when you’re happy”. He was my height, with dark brown hair and a slightly crooked baseball hat. I wouldn’t recognize him again.
I watched the clock today with the intensity of a dysfunctional bird trapped in a beige-tone plastic coated cage. The sale descriptions on the boxes for latex underwear have the closing line, feel the forbidden sensuality of its stretchy caress. I wondered briefly, when I noticed, if that’s a technical term, because why else would anyone be attracted to the term stretchy caress? This is the same store that sells an item named someone’s Salsa Pussy. Every one of these tawdry products was made by people. Multiple people. There were entire meetings and production facilities and conversations at three in the morning involving asset pitches to different time zones. Whenever I think of people bringing home a product as banal as Inflatable Fat Fanny, something shrivels inside my glands. My conclusion is that working in this love shop is strange and deadens my soul to random desire like hammered lead. People ask if anyone ever buys some of of our more extremely large dildos and I tell them to look it up on-line. Every toy in the store is likely in a video somewhere, and no, women can’t use that, our bone structure won’t allow for it, suckers. Take that. All twenty by nine inches of it.
A highlight of the day was sitting alone and writing in my black book, my feet on the counter between the tiny packets of silicone lube and the love dice, (place and position), while the other employees went to point at Al Pacino across the street. They were thrilled, but my personal moment of well being came from hearing R.C. on the radio orating poetry like the rumbling of a chop-top hotrod with candy pinstripe detailing just over some mythical hill of mocking english majors. It was like a light of sanity in the new glo-in-the-darkness. Right, I thought. I know this man. This wonderful intelligent man. I know him enough to want to hug him when I say hello. Suddenly my life wasn’t as bad as reading a magazine in a waiting room. It had been upgraded to sitting like a mannequin on stage, listening for my next line, remembering that I’m scheduled to be human soon.
Flirting with me was a slight fantasy about going trick or treating. Putting a sheet over my head with holes cut out and hitting up all my friend’s houses. If I had a vehicle, I might have done it. Gathered my courage and knocked on doors to say “Trick or treat, I haven’t seen you in awhile. Happy birthday in case I missed it. Do you have chocolate? I’m hoping for chocolate.” then laughed and hugged them, pulled them close to kiss them on the cheek. I could have dragged as many people as possible over to Main and fourteenth for the maze and fright houses set up by the local gods of spooky and collected treasure heaps of candy to live off of for the next few months. (For a sugar hound, I have an admirable habit left over from a dirt poor childhood of hoarding my rare and precious sweets.) From all reports, it’s not like the local kids went out to brave the neighborhoods for candy. I suppose I should have stood up to my psyche and run with it. Ah well, regrets and hindsight. The movie was pleasant enough and the company comforting. Graham came as some sort of proto-goth, Beth was a string fairy, Herminia was a preppy, and Eugene might have come as a straight boy. I couldn’t tell.