Archive for April, 2009

Buttons

April 1, 2009

She arrived with buttons; varied and colourful. She did not say so, but they clearly pleased her greatly. In fact, she said nothing. Wordlessly, she shook the bag with glee. I was not sure how to react. I feigned mutual enthusiasm, but I was bemused, happily bemused. Bemusement trumps understanding any day. She held the phone to her ear, and spoke rarely. I looked on from the steps. With a slight shrug of the shoulders, and a casting of her eyes towards the receiver, she made an awkward apology. She did not need to. With a failed attempt at grace, I pointed palm-wards down the street and we began to walk.

She had been talking to a friend. Or rather her friend had been talking to her. Her contributions being little more than ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘maybe’ and ‘bye’. Perhaps, she knows the guy who does the voice for the menus on telephone banking and misses the sound of his voice. Is this a glimpse into her routine? Perhaps he is no longer of this world, and this is how she is coping with his passing; by listening to his voice each day, pretending to herself that they still talk. I do not mention my suspicions. She might feel I am mocking her. Or even worse; what if I were right? I remain silent.

Over carrot cake and tea, we watch the people on the wall. They were, as we had been, transfixed by the spider’s eye. And the spider too, was transfixed by them. On the wall visitors smiled with wonder, unhidden and unashamed, and knew nothing of the projector behind our heads in the closing café. The spider tilted his head; his photographic eye latching onto a new face. There’s only 15 seconds of fame for these stars. A waitress mops between our feet.

On the screen a guy with a blond tempest of hair laughed genuinely. Had he known he had an audience, would he have laughed the same? Would he have tried to tame his escaping fringe? We all fall short of the image we create for ourselves. How different we become when we know the cameras are on. Mirrors have ruined us all; from Narcissus to Joan Rivers

The first bathroom door shows symbols for men and women. However, inside, there are only toilets for women or for the disabled. Are we supposed to draw comparisons? Is this a comment on the male species? Galleries tend to increase people’s wariness of everything. They increase paranoia. I once studied a fire extinguisher in The Tate Modern for about 3 minutes trying to figure out if it was an extinguisher or a piece of art. I never did work that one out. Perhaps I made it art by thinking it so. I’m sure some wanker somewhere has written a treatise on this idea. The disabled door is locked. I turn around and walk out. I can keep it in.

I want the electronic t-shirt, but they will not sell it to me. They tell me when I may return. I will not. I am too whimsical. I will be glad they didn’t sell it to me tomorrow.
We leave the people playing with their robots and we leave the robots playing with their toys.

Before the show, she gives me a die. I like dice. I do not gamble. I just enjoy its feel. Six sides of chance between the fingers. Twenty-one dots to do you down if you dare; so simple, so cruel. More often than not, die are miscalled their plural; dice. I kind of prefer the erroneous word. ‘Dice’ sounds better. ‘To dice with death’ makes sense. ‘To die with death’ isn’t even an oxymoron, it’s just moronic. What else do people die from? I roll it in my hand. We go in. The lights go down.
.
The players revolve and the voices soar. The sofa deflates and the ball-bearings roll to their points on the floor. The dogs burn and the astronaut suffers. The piano mourns and the unmarried women will cry out for lovers. The mattress dances and the keyboard grooves. Copernicus renounces, yet still it moves. The plates of the planet collide all around us. Future tsunamis intending to drown us. Satellites drifting out of their orbit. Existence cares little if we can afford it. The lights come up. The actors bow. We applaud, twice. It feels fair somehow. We empty out past the uncurtained stage. From a room in his name, Beckett returns to his grave.

She is tired, but the evening is not. She concedes. The night wins out.

The bar is recycled; almost too trendy for itself. We borrow stools and order cheese. The Irish will never be European, no matter how much wine we drink. Perhaps that’s the point. We haggle over slices and wait for more crackers. She does not eat the rinds. I have less class.

We talk of bills and dating; of Godot and tidiness. There are toilet-seats on the wall. I wonder if they have toilet-seats on the toilets too.
“They remind me of the ‘Dior’ logo” she says.
She is astute. We know each other both little and a lot.

“I used to have so much more passion for creativity” I profer.
“Yeah, well. I used to be French” she adds.

I roll the die. It falls to the floor. As I pick it up I see it’s odds. I stand up and pocket the die.
“Shall we go?” I say.
“I guess so”, she replies.
We leave the bar and outside say goodnight. I turn my way, she turns hers, and we start our walks back home.

I am jacketless, refusing to admit that the summer, which never arrived, is already leaving. I wish I’d checked out that bar’s toilets for more reasons than one now. But I can hold it in. I wish I didn’t have to work tomorrow. I wish men weren’t disabled. I wish the spider had seen me smile. I wish they’d sold me that t-shirt. I wish I’d worn warmer clothes. I wish Copernicus could see us now. I wish the plates of the planet would make peace. I wish the pieces of the puzzle would find their positions. I wish the prayers of the pagans would find their magician. I wish that our moon would cease from its drifting. I wish its darknesses were sooner in lifting. I wish we had learned to live without. I hold it in, but wish I’d let it out.