Hello nurse! I am traveling around the US and writing about it, and there seems to be no end in sight unless I die or go to prison or something.
US Tour Day 49: Rock and Roll and the Smell Of Hope
I spent much of the evening sitting on the bed in my room talking with Audrey. I would say that it was my bed, but that wouldn't really be true. I am subletting the room from Margaret, so it is her bed—as are the sheets and the desk and the stereo and the armoire. After a while, and right after we had gotten deep into serious conversation, Jorge—my room mate from across the hall—let himself into my room. He was with his also increasingly drunk friend Chris. Their energy was very young and fun—appropriate for two 21 year olds who were carrying the remains of a bottle of vodka, but not quite right for Audrey and Justin talking about relationships and such.
And so, my more serious, emotional conversation with Audrey was squeezed out of the room—displaced. There wasn't any room left in there for that sort of thing with those two rowdy boys and their silliness. No more talking about feelings, no sir. It was time for drunk boy talk.
After the usual talk of "chicks" and how one might procure some at this time of night, the subject of rock and roll came up. I guess that's what happens with boys. Boys plus alcohol equals talk of how to get their penises moistened by external means plus some small amount of rock and roll.
Chris was fast to mention that he had a tattoo of the words "rock 'n' roll" on his "ass cheek". He was almost eager for me to take a picture, and he urged me to "show it to everyone and post it on the internet." So, that is exactly what I will do now.
In a moment of male bonding, Chris shared with me the keychain he made when he "used to work at the pet store." It was shaped like a caricature of a bone in the same way that dog biscuits are shaped but actual bones aren't. It bore the four most perfect words one could engrave on a bone–shaped dog tag: I BONED YOUR MOM. It wasn't genius, no. But, it was funny.
After that we said goodbye to Audrey and walked over to Spider House. Chris and Jorge said they were going there to "mack on some chicks" and possibly "get some". I've never understood the notion that one can get "some" in the same way that one can go to a store and get some paper towels or lotion or whatever, so I was intrigued. I wanted to see if they knew something I didn't about the attaining of "some". (Plus, I always enjoy the energy of young, drunk artist/musician types, so I was happy to get the young, cock–driven guy contact high for a while.)
On the walk over there the guys spoke with great anticipation about the second coming of vagina like messianic Jews of old wringing their hands together with eagerness at the coming of the Christ. If I was ever this eager to have sex, I don't remember it. Maybe I have an abnormally low level of testosterone?, I wondered.
I asked Chris to tell me more about his plan, and he explained that he was quite picky and would only hit on girls if he wanted to "fuck them". He went on to tell me about a girl at school that he asks out every week during their class together. She always says no, but he insists that he will keep on asking until she says yes. It got me to thinking.
I told them a story. I don't remember my exact words, but it went something like this:
You know how dogs can smell fear, right? Well, so can humans. It's not really smell, of course. It's really just that we can sense what the people around us are feeling, you know? Ever go out with a girl and you can tell that the whole time all she is thinking about is whether or not you are 'Mr. Right' and whether or not you are 'The One' and whether or not you are going to be her boyfriend or husband and be with her 'forever'? You're talking and having a conversation and trying to just have fun and ignore these vibes but you can see that their eyes are glazed over as they imagine which wedding dress they'll wear and whether or not their name will sound good with your last name or if the baby will have your eyes or theirs. Have you ever felt this?
They assured me they definitely had, so I continued.
You can feel their hope through the air, and their hope puts silent pressure on you that can really ruin a lot of fun times. Notice how their constant attention to what might happen in the future takes away the joy of being in the moment. It puts pressure on you. You don't want to be pressured. It sucks, right?
The vehement nodding of their heads and the enthusiastic "yeahs" showed that they had been through this way more times that they would have liked.
The thing is that it goes both ways. Let's say you're out on a date with a girl. Well, they can also smell that hope, and they know damned well when your mind is full of thoughts about whether or not you're going to get your dick wet that night. Now, they're probably trying to have a good time right at that moment, but it's hard when they can feel the pressure of your thoughts and your hope. They pick up on your subtle gestures and the invisible waves of sexual longing you send through the ether. See, they are going through the same thing you go through, just about a different subject.
Chris and Jorge gave me a wide–eyed, surprised look. Their brains seemed stretched by the concept. If that moment was a movie, I think the subtitle would have simply been "WHOA". I continued.
See, you don't want to just be a potential boyfriend or a husband. And, they don't want to just be potential sex object holes. I think the best times can happen when we let go of that hope that others can sense through the air and instead just let one another be people so we can enjoy our moments for what they are rather than what they might be. People just want to be treated well—we all want to be treated like people. Instead of putting the energy of your thoughts into sex, why not just focus on making sure you have fun together, regardless of what sort of fun it is?
We soon arrived at the café, as it was only a few blocks from where we started. I ended up splitting up with the guys and talking with a guy wearing a Dead Milkmen t–shirt. He and I talked about offensive, silly things—exactly what one would expect from two Dead Milkmen fans sitting together in a room, or, in this case, sitting together on the porch of an old house turned into a coffee shop in downtown Austin. I didn't even think about the subject of girls and the things we talked about on our walk for the rest of the evening.
But, as I write this I wonder: It may pressure a person and pressure an otherwise natural moment, but, is it wrong to hope? Is there a definite answer to this question—some simple and binary yes or no which always holds true? Or does the answer lie on the continuum between yes and no, and if it does, where? Why do we hope and put our expectations in the future when we can only control the present? Where is our faith?
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