22 June 2010

Censure & Praise

I don't like it very much, but I've decided to treat myself to a movie - the part I don't like, of course, being going alone. Over a year away from Pittsburgh, working in various places where I don't know anyone, and I'm still not comfortable going to the movies by myself. And I wonder if I ever will, really. There's something about being a social creature alone that I haven't really grasped, I think.

So I'm killing a little time after work at yet another Starbucks. This one is at 18th Street & 8th Avenue. Yet again, right in the heart of Chelsea. There are even more pretty boys here than there were in the other Starbucks at which I was hanging out. These ones fall even more solidly into the "Chelsea Clone" category. I've never seen so many clean-cut, perfectly chiseled young-looking men (even the older ones!) in my life. Talk about feeling like a sore thumb.

Especially today; I haven't been sleeping well lately... I think it's not so much a problem or series of problems as it is a cumulative effect. My mattress just isn't very comfortable, truth be told, and my bedroom fronts on Flatbush Avenue, which is appallingly loud at all hours of the day and night. And it doesn't help that there's been construction in our neighborhood since I came back from Pittsburgh, which is nearly a month now. So the sum total of all this is that I look like crap; big dark circles under my eyes, hair longer than I'd like (and destined to be longer, alas... Aristocrats director Andrew Paul has asked me not to trim it, since the show is set in the 1970s), and feeling, frankly, like I'm putting on weight. On top of all this, I've picked 90° weather in which to start - god only knows why - to begin growing a beard. I'm sixteen different kinds of idiotic, and fourteen different kinds of masochistic.

You know, it just occurred to me; I wish that I was able to turn a critical eye on the world around me as well as I do it to myself. I suspect it would make these entries a good deal more interesting for you, and a little less painful for me. Each of which is a laudable goal, I think.

Self-esteem is a funny thing... not an easy thing to consider, let alone change. I mean, I think it's a conditioned response, don't you? Either someone in your past taught you to believe that you have merit, or someone taught you that you don't. Not, I'm sure in those terms, but you know what I mean.

I wonder if these things can change without you being aware of it. Or maybe my own self-esteem isn't so much changing, as the way I'm reacting to those around me I'm perceiving as "better" (or "hotter" or "whatever") is changing. See, the thing about hanging out where the gods hang out is that you get to see the gods close-up. And you know what? The gods aren't perfect. Read a little Greek or Roman mythology sometime. They all have flaws, and when you frolic like an interloper on Mount Olympus, you get to see the warts up close.

So maybe in the long run, this is really good for me, all this depressing hanging out around beautiful people.

I don't know if it's a function of maturity, or just plain having been worn down by the impossibility of actually scoring with a god, but I've noticed that my tastes are changing too, and that can't be anything but for the better. No more for me the chiseled muscle guys. I keep finding myself staring at the regular guys who go passing by. Granted, they're the regular guys who aren't sporting much excess body fat, but believe me, it's a big change from the good old days. Maybe I'm just becoming a realist in my dotage.

Sometimes the looming prospect of spending the rest of my life alone just doesn't bother me in the way it used to. Not always; I'm not that enlightened yet. But there are times when the thought crosses my head that I might indeed never again have with someone what I had with Gavan and I think to myself, "Well, it's not a state of being I'd shoot for, but I could live with that." Especially, frankly, if I could have a dog.

Maybe, too, I'm just too damn picky. 'Cuz it's not like there aren't men out there who're interested in snagging me off the market - it just so happens that they're men I have no interest in being snagged by. And believe me when I tell you, that's a lot more of a statement of my own shallowness than any kind of judgment about those men. I just frankly like what I like, in the physical realm, and I don't feel the need to apologize for it, and I don't feel the need to settle.

I have to say that people-watching is an unmitigated delight for me. For instance, there was a rather attractive man sitting at one of the tables near the window. I think he was an actor; it looked like he had some headshot contact sheets that he was going over. There was another young fellow sitting a few tables over that I didn't really notice (I mean, I noticed him, as he was kinda attractive himself... but I didn't notice him watching this other guy) until the first guy got up and gathered his few belongings, and headed for the door.

Clearly, the second guy had been planning some sort of approach, but was caught totally off guard by the sudden departure. The ensuing attempt to quickly gather his scattered crap and load it back into his bag in an effort to follow the first guy was right out of a comedy sketch. I mean, you couldn't have scripted it any better than this. But then, life is just like that, isn't it? Profoundly more funny than anything we could ever hope to invent.

I've got a full-fledged character study going on next to me, and it's actually kind of unnerving. This guy who's, I'm guessing, around forty or forty-five or so has come into the coffee shop and plopped down next to the girl at the table next to me... he's not with her or anything... he just needed, apparently to be at this particular table. He pulled some sort of charger out of his bag and plugged it into the wall. Then he stuffs his batteries into the charger and proceeds to stare at them while they charge. Oh, but wait, there's stuff he could be doing while waiting. He goes and gets two coffees (it only occurs to me now that I've written that that he might just be waiting for someone to show up) and goes and collects a few napkins from the condiment station so he can pat down his sweaty face and the top of his sweaty pate. All the while, he's recovering his breath from some mad dash to the coffee shop - every few seconds there are these sudden, gusty exhalations of breath; really kind of startling, all told. The entire package just screams Freak!

But that's the kind of thing that makes the world an interesting place isn't it? That, and trying to watch these people without actually being caught watching them. 'Cuz you just never know what getting caught is gonna provoke.

Of course, you know there's someone, somewhere on the other side of this coffee shop, writing in his or her journal about the freak with the computer. Time, I think, for me to make good my escape and go check out a movie.

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