Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Stripes

Hung out at Swiss Alps's new place near Ste-Laurent. Met his roommates. The Girl, he has a crush on; the Guy, not so much. The Girl used to go out with the Guy and they still sleep in the same bed, but neither one describes their relationship quite the same way. Swiss Alps asked them both on separate occasions if they were still dating and their answers were diametrically opposed. Hmmm, he wondered. Very, very weird. I was also introduced to two of the Girl's visiting hometown friends. They were good-looking boys who were also undeniably Bostonian and irrefutably gay: Where else would you see fervent Red Sox fans holding each other affectionately during commercial breaks? (*sidenote: I told J.Lass one of them was a hairdresser -- because that's what he was! -- and she got all self-righteous and told me to stop stereotyping: "I know tons of hairdressers who aren't gay. You just can't say that!" Last time I provoke a moralist: it's like they don't allow themselves to laugh when it doesn't concern a skimpy skirt.) Anyway. Got along with everyone marvelously. Especially with the Guy who, by the way, is Gorgeous -- must remember to keep that in mind.

***

Revisited Trainspotting. I should start using "wanker" more.

***

Last night's film class offering was Morvern Callar, a Scottish feature starring Samantha Morton. The professor asked how women and Scotland were represented (technically, symbolically, etc.) A hand rose. It was the "jock." No offence to athletes, but the irrelevency of what this boy has to say is becoming a running joke. (I'm not proud of my judgmental snobbish tendencies, but aye, here we are and it won't do much good to wallow in it.)

"Is that ... um, I mean, like ... Was that even in Scotland? It looks more like Northern England to me. And that Morvern girl is, like, really passive."

Other students must've also picked up on his inability to recognize subtlety and explain himself because one after the other, he was more or less attacked with a slew of passive aggression, ending in:

"I don't think you can interpret chopping up your dead boyfriend's body and burying it as being 'passive.'"

So I'm stuck looking at the back of this mate's shaggy head and trying desperately to keep my groans inaudible. Times a-wastin', I heard myself thinking. Why is he even here? It's not like he ever brings up proof that might be of help backing up his observations. Give your peers something tangible that isn't composed of your "feelings," I felt like saying. Give your peers something to gnaw on besides your fictional head. It irritates me that people like him never let questions sink in before opening their traps. Smart-alecky behaviour might be tempting for when you're, say, vying for favours, but it doesn't belong when time is of essence; opinions, productive. If the obvious is going to be repeated, why bother replying? I know I take my time forming a coherent idea, pondering over it thoughtfully, and re-enforcing it with examples so I may deliver a viewpoint equally creative, quick and concise. By the way, when it was my turn to speak, I said I noticed the music coming from Movern's ubiquitous Walkman took the audience "from the microcosm of her mind to the macrocosm of her surroundings" as if to keep death nearby in a bid to jolt the character from her meaningless existence. ... It sounded original at the time.)

I went to the washroom afterwards. To my right stood the professor. To my left stood a classmate (with a red bob reminiscent of my beatnik, high school art teacher). To my right, I was asked whether I was majoring in film studies. To my left, I was given fawning praise. I gave my thanks, but was temporarily left uneasy. It's difficult to swallow compliments when my ethnic background sermonizes being skeptical of flattery; I was never to believe what was being said about me as if "deny, deny, deny" was a national motto. When I'm being told over an open basin that I have "a great perspective" and that a noticeably substantial group of people "look forward" to me speaking, it's a bit hard to take. My conditioned reaction is to respond defensively in situations like this and yet, I've learned to cope (as idiotic as this may sound) with a series of seamless conscious gestures to play out the public stages of gratefulness:

1. Look the person in the eye.
2. Smile (it comes out looking natural due to the initial shock and embarrassment)
3. Say, "Thank you. Very much," without appearing automatous.

I rationalize that I'm not being fake when I actually am appreciative. It's just that, without these cues, my hesitant body language might trumpet "self-absorbed bitch," eliciting puzzlement that could lead to a serious head-cracking against a urine-stained toilet.

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