Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eros Bumps

I've been off blood pressure medication for about eight months now. One of the side effects of the medication was a complete lack of interest in sex.
On the one hand, I'm not in a relationship so who cares?
On the other hand (the hand) (get it?) I have never been in a relationship and I've always thought about sex. I've always had a crush.
In fact, beginning in my forties I was really quite randy. Until the meds.  
So what do you do when you aren't in a relationship? (The hand.) (Get it?)  You day dream. You imagine. And often times that dreaming is aimed at the idea of a person. It could be a famous person. An actor. Or more likely a specific role that an actor plays. Like Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. Swoon. Brad Pitt other wise? Eh. It was probably the long hair. Some times I have a night dream about an actor and become completely enamored. That happened with Jim Belusi years ago. I'm not sure I'd even seen him in anything at the time. Images of famous people are like a virus. They're everywhere. Even if you never pick up a fame magazine you see them in the doctor's office and the grocery store. Then the oddest people show up in late night inner wanderings.
But I've had crushes on people I've never seen. People I've only read. Because really it's the things I want to hear that turn me on the most. And I'm the one who knows those things. My imagined dialogues are probably nothing that would be thought of as erotic by anyone else.
It happens with people in my daily life that I don't really know. I remember once I was quite enamored with a security guard at the Caltrain station. It made for some interesting rides to work. Not quite awake and not quite asleep. Just dreaming. It happens with waiters and the guys that do handy work on the buildings across the street. I don't really want to know these guys. I enjoy the relationship I have with them.
I call these relationships Eros bumps. A bump because you're going along, minding your own business, not even thinking about anything and suddenly there's the dream. Or a moment when you see someone in a certain cast of light. I remember it happened to me once with a guy in New York. I think it happened when he said something protective about me. It just rattled some need that I didn't even know I had.
It is a way of objectifying a person and that is not a good thing.
I know.
And it is quite obsessive.
Overwhelming obsessive.
Not good.
I know.
I try not to make a big deal about it. I try to think of it as a small thing. A human thing. It's just a little bump.
But since I am writing the narrative of these moments and since they are based on ideas and not realizations they arrive, build up in my head, refine in terms of the ideas and then one day they are over. Seriously over. Just as suddenly as they began. I hit some kind of wall and wake up. Sometimes I want to tell these guys. Hey. We just broke up. Did you notice?
If you put all these guys in a room it would be hard to discern a physical type. It is not really about bodies.
And of course it's very different from the times when I've met someone and developed feelings. Although it doesn't always feel that different. I have made myself wild with desire. It's all me. I'm making it up.I'm making myself happy with it and I'm making myself miserable when I can feel it losing energy. It goes global. It calls up every memory of every rejection. It pushes me into the corner with my dubious romantic history. I fail.
I have failed.
It was almost nice having a rest from all that. It's been years. It was nice to have it back for awhile. Nice to feel alive. But it's not as easy as it used to be to fall into a swoon. I've worked too hard to gain the little bit of lucidity I have. I try to ignore the awareness  of who I really am and who anyone else really is. Just for a minute. Just long enough to dream. Just a little bump.
I am really happy to be off meds.
I am.
(Get it?)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


On Sunday I watched Captain Johnson stand in front of a group of people and say, I'm sorry. For me, there are no two more powerful words. In my personal life it has been the thing that brings me closer to someone. When someone can just own a thing that has happened between us. Just hold it. I let go of things really fast when that happens. In a civil crisis it's so powerful. I could feel the collective shoulders relax. 
Leadership in Missouri has been horrifyingly bad. Saying all the wrong things in all the worst ways. The governor actually said if there was going to be justice there must first be peace. Really? So justice is only there when things are calm and people are well behaved? 
April linked an interesting article: In Defense of the Ferguson Riots. I was thinking about it last night as I watched live coverage of the night and the sudden shift from peaceful to violent. I thought about it this morning as I listened to people talk about provocateurs and thugs. 
As things were unfolding last night journalists kept talking about not being able to see why things got heated. Some of that might be vantage point but I imagine some of it was that not much happened. Images of tanks, tear gas, snipers, just way too much positioned against people in t-shirts and shorts made it seem likely that there was over reaction on both sides. 
Actually, I hate that idea of both sides. I hate it when it's used in conversations about these events. There are things that are clear. An unarmed, young, black man was shot multiple times by a police officer. No matter what happened it seems to me that multiple guns shots are an over reaction. And every night since then it has seemed to me that the same over reaction has played out. There may be two sides here but they are not equal. 
And one side is supposed to be in service to the other. They are there to protect and serve. They are there to protect not just people but ideals. Ideals like justice. Ideals like freedom of the press. Ideals like the right to assemble. Ideals like the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. They may also be there to protect private property and commerce but it feels like they lean toward that and ignore the others. 
In an area like Ferguson commerce is probably made up of small businesses. Mom and Pop shops. It's hard to talk about them in strict Marxist terms. It's hard because they are so small and usually owed by hard working people. I worked for small businesses most of my life. It's also often true that the people are often better off than the community in which they run their shops. Maybe not much better off but usually some what. They work hard and they enjoy benefits. OK. 
It has always been frustrating when civil unrest tears down community resources. But the focus on business concerns rather than focusing on the systems of repression and alienation and the murder of a young man irritates me. It's just not the point. 
As much as I admire Captain Johnson his presence is a way to pacify an enraged community. He hugs people. He talks in soothing tones. And he defends the use of tear gas. 
Last night Chris Hayes had rocks thrown at him and his reaction was to say that "people are mad." People are mad. That observation was almost as powerful as the apology. It was an observation of something that is true. Of course it's true. A young man is dead. The streets are filled with tanks and tear gas. There may be bad actors but there is also rage. Rage at a system that should be raged against by all of us. 
Trayvon's mother wrote a beautiful piece in Time in which she says, if they refuse to hear us we will make them feel us. And that is the truest truth.