Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mercy's eyes are blue

Why do we separate things into ugly and beautiful? What standards are we imposing? Why is concrete ugly, a song bird beautiful, a hunchback ugly? By what comparisons are we making these affirmations of that which is positive in distinction to that which is not? There’s no logic to this, we just find things to be so. We find resonances of harmony, colours that “go well” together, sounds that form a “tune”, we see the world in patches of some greater undercurrent, and forget to wonder why things are so in the overwhelming fact that they just are.

Which was why it was confusing and inexplicable to me when Flo asked me why I, and for that matter pretty much everyone, found her attractive. To be honest, it wasn’t something I ever considered, nor found it necessary to consider. Beautiful women were beautiful, that’s easy. Flo was beautiful and interesting and inspiring – she just was; I didn’t think I needed a reason to back this up. It was a first-order truth for her. Wow did she ever not see it that way. Apparently everything needed empirical proof unless she was losing an argument with Mikey about economic trends and then every rule needs an exception. I even thought that could have been part of what made her so attractive, the force of the conviction that things went her way or they didn’t go at all. But no, that must be a million people. A million ugly people.

At the time, I ended up giving some crappy answer about how she had a tender heart and a tough exterior or such, it was bullshit and I was winging it and we both knew it. I just think maybe she took it to mean I didn’t have any good reason at all for finding her that way, like all guys, and not like I meant that I just couldn’t explain it. All of the best things are indescribable in life, all the language and all the representations are just not adequate to express something you really mean. You can say “you’re gorgeous” in a thousand different ways, situations and intonations but you can never really get across that you mean something closer to raw impulsive action, like you’re bursting to express something and nothing’s working. Nothing exists. I sound like a fucking new age uni student. Ah well, just because the intellectual left gets a lot of shit wrong a lot of the time can’t excuse them from the fact they occasionally really strike gold. What’s that my brother always said? “Even a blind pig roots up an acorn now and again”.

Anyway, I digress. Too many hours spent in Foundations of Social Theory 212 playing blackjack with Johnny using handmade cards under the little foldy lecture tables. But that’s what it was like, you know? I wanted to scream how impossibly fucking great she was, how she just engaged with people and caught their attention, and I wanted to scream it in some ancient primitive language to make it real. I would have barked and hooted at her if I thought it would have helped. She laughed and told me if I couldn’t explain it then it wasn’t something real, just a belief I held. Then she went back to painting her nails fragmented spectrum opal black.

One day I’ll find another person who has that nail polish. It must exist somewhere, I think I’ve looked in every store back in our home town, asked every distributor, I still have no idea where she got it all that time. If I ever see anyone with those nails I’m not sure what I’ll do but I bet it’ll be embarrassing. I’d probably run up and hug them, thank them, beg them to tell me where it came from, scare the living hell out of them and never actually find out. But I haven’t found it yet. It shone like the dark at the bottom of the sea. In the black you could see flecks of every colour, even colours you couldn’t name. And of course none of them lasted more than a millisecond in your eye. Watching those fingers whirr over her laptop keyboard as she wrote some fake feature article to be sold to a paper that might not have existed for all the rest of us knew… it was like a midnight ballet.

It was just before Johnny and Mikey had whisked me northwards to freedom and the Ford, and we were tangled up in pillows and endless layers of bedding on my mattress around three in the morning. Sarah Kane claimed that 4.48am was the time of madness, when the lack of sleep compounded with the darkness and the self-examination to snap you, to smash you. If that’s true, then just before three, around 2.52am, that’s the moment of emotion. When all your pain comes rushing to the surface and all your anxieties are shaking you to the floor. When you can’t stop crying no matter how hard you try and when, if you’re lucky enough to be tangled up with Flo Vale, you feel something that has nothing to do with physical pleasure, or the reproductive urges of the continuation of the species. You feel, and I felt, the one thing we seek above all else – to be important to another.

Human beings live out their lives in a constant state of confusion, it seems to me. We’re never quite sure if we’re meant to trust ourselves, as thought we’re some innate singular, or submit to the other, as though we as individuals mean nothing. As though the individual is a fairy tale. Every day, we are torn and beaten into balancing the fact we really only exist in the eyes of others - we need the people around us to prove to us we exist - with the fact that if we lived solely for other people what a hopeless and depressing cage that would be. Anyone who swings to far in one direction, say by emphasizing the self over the other, is considered inhuman, not a properly functioning member of the world. And the more I think about how this all seems to me, the more I realize how inescapable this dance is! We’re stuck in forms marked by difference, by separation so that we are at once all the same, but all different. We are simultaneously the might of ourselves, and nothing without something that is not within us to back that up. We only exist because of others, and yet we need to not be one of “the others” to exist.

Which all seems to me like it could be made a fuck of a lot simpler if we just said “It’s nice to be held in the early morning”. You know, that’s what I really felt. None of the deep and meaningful reasons, or psychoanalytic arse, just how nice it felt to be held in the early morning. But Flo needed reasons, she wanted answers, it really meant something to her that she could pinpoint things, understand things. Knowledge is power, and Flo needed the kind of proof to make knowledge, she had to know why her life felt good or bad so that she could control it. And all of this contributed to why people liked her.

It is those sudden feelings where you understand all that beauty means and all that satisfaction is, at around 2.52 in the morning, that us a group was all about. In some way or another we all provided for one another an answer to a really big question, an other to a really big self. We all played some role, in making the world, and for me Flo was the most beautiful, amazing woman that could exist. End of thinking.

4 Comments:

Blogger rosemarie said...

i didn't read the post, just the title. Bless james mercer and his tight brown pants and wail and tie and partially hairless head.

August 17, 2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger Mephistopheles said...

I think from now in I should just write all the chapters of this solely in big, green, easily accessible letters. Quoting people more awesome than even I.

It seems to get the comments! Glad someone's still visiting though, Woo dedicated fans!

August 17, 2007 4:42 PM  
Blogger rosemarie said...

ah yes, fans. i count myself as one of those who has difficulty with the concept. where does one stop being a fan and start trying to be friends with the object of affection? i'd write a post on it but it'd probably suck. who knows i may try.

but why do you write always of a character of creation?
is that really as simple a question as i think it is? gosh i'm losing it.

August 24, 2007 12:08 AM  
Blogger Mephistopheles said...

The friend/admirer gap is an interesting one. I always say friendship is a synonym for Mutual Jealousy, where you both find good parts in the other you want to have or be associated with. So it's all a blur really.

No, that's a good point. The obvious answer is it's just easier. Write what you know, etc. Maybe also because I don't believe non-creators have the kind of mindsets that I want to write, or the kind of confidence. Maybe not even the agency. Remind me to write someone passive when all this is over, I should get on top of that.
I guess my writing accidentally gives too much away.

August 27, 2007 8:53 PM  

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