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Coffee house

Sat 17 Nov 2001 by mskala Tags used: ,

It is after two in the morning and you aren't in a state to make best use of the serious bizarre ideas you have written down on your note cards for today and you are in a state where you would forget that it's a bad idea to write in second person and you would even go so far as to use a breathless present tense and hey, why not go for the hat trick by making it a stream of consciousness piece, sort of.

You used to write about your life but as the Net got more and more connected you had to cut that way down because first it was your friends who were on the Net and you didn't want them to read what you might say about them behind their backs and then it was your family and by now the Net is so integrated into life that even the strangers that you meet may end up reading what you write, and you have new friends who get upset when you speak the truth in your mind, or even worse they try to re-educate you, or worst of all they get hurt but they believe it to be their own fault for being too sensitive so they don't dare to complain, and you have to watch not only your mouth but your fingers, you can't put them on those places in that particular sequence because you know who will start talking about you know what and you don't need that shit.

You dream of meeting someone with whom you wouldn't have to watch your mouth, ever, but you have a hard time enough meeting people at all, especially when you're new in town, even the people with whom you have to watch and count every word would be better than no people at all, and you don't want to go hang out in bars because then you'll meet the people who hang out in bars and you start typing about a club you joined and then you remember that your words will be read by people with connections there, can't be straight about that but must count those words, always count your words, but at two in the morning you're a little crazier and a little less careful so you open up and talk a little more and draw mostly on your short-term memory, rearranging the events only just a little bit.

Instead of going to places you hate to meet people you won't like, you figure you ought to go participate in activities you enjoy so as to meet people with similar interests, and so you go to the student society coffee house which is not a house and has no coffee, it's really more what you would call an open mic, and you go at the time it said on the poster because you tell the truth and you expect the same of others, and you sit in the middle of the second row because you figure then other people will sit down next to you and maybe you can make some new friends but for more than an hour nothing happens except people playing with the PA system and aimlessly moving chairs around because the event actually isn't scheduled to start until 8 notwithstanding the posters, and doesn't really start until 8:20, and when people do sit down next to you it's the contingent from the Womymin's Centre who sit on your left and nobody sits on your right at all and they're led by a woman you've seen before, she's the one with the jaw that sticks out a little too far and the tits that would be really attractive if she weren't thrusting them at you all the time and shrieking silently at the top of her somatic voice looky-look you bastard you, look what you can't have, and you just don't need that shit.

She's up to the mic first to introduce her two little sisters (not in blood I mean) who are going to do I guess you'd call it poetry although it's more like prose and you're disappointed that they didn't write it themselves, they read from a book, to be precise they read their favourite excerpts from _The Vagina Monologues_ (unless they wrote that book I suppose but it does not appear that they did), and it turns out to be a competition to see which one can say "vagina" the most times, and it's a draw and they end up both having to withdraw, spent, because they have managed to drain the word completely of any meaning whatsoever with their smoothly thrusting hips and reedy little too-sincere voices and hey whoopee, it turns out that actually there IS an upper limit to the number of times a person can say that word before it becomes a dry, sore, loose-fitting and useless sequence of sounds, and meanwhile the other lesbian couple behind you or maybe they're just friends who wrestle, thrashing around on the floor, and bump into the back of your chair a lot, anyway you don't really know or want to know what they are to each other or what they're doing to each other, but they laugh every time anyone says the word "vagina" which with this selection of recitation material means that there are maybe thirteen seconds during the entire performance that they are not rolling on the floor giggling (and they fill in those thirteen seconds by tickling each other, or something) and meanwhile the others keep hopping up and changing seats and going away and coming back and one of them has pulled a chair up into the aisle near you so that anyone who wants to pass from the front to the back of the hall has to squeeze between chairs, and for some reason these people always choose to squeeze between your chair and the one next to it, forcing you to take your arm off the armrest and sort of duck to the side, and the largest of them all does this many times and insists on putting her BUTT in your FACE every time, and let's be delicate here, it is not a BUTT you are specially desirous of having in your FACE even once but you assiduously ignore it.

And as you watch them on the stage your hands are clenched on your pen and the little stack of note cards where you are recording your thoughts and you record that you probably would do the fem, in an alternate Universe where she was just that little bit less "alternate", okay, a completely and fundamentally different kind of Universe, so that you actually had a chance, and assuming that you wore earplugs the better not to hear her monologue, because she's reasonably cute, but you wouldn't do the butch, because it's just not a good idea to do someone whose Euler characteristic differs from your own by more than four points, or for the less topologically inclined you could express a similar concept by saying that you wouldn't want those piercings to get caught in your teeth, and we just better not start the discussion of whether it would be possible to just tongue around the metal.

Then the mistress of ceremonies floats pinkly to the microphone and introduces the DJ who's spent the last hour and a half setting up his turntables on the table at the back and God only knows which hole of a club he crawled out of and you feel sorry for him spinning his discs to this audience who don't dance and barely clap and when after forty minutes she tells him gently to stop because he's driving away the customers not that there were any and not that they were paying, but, you try to give him some encouragement by clapping your hands until they tingle and you even break your own rule to say WHOO (although not very loud) because hey you both need it this time only.

Then along come the basement singer-songwriters, the people whom you actually came to hear, and it's three hours of them, and they all slur their words into incomprehensibility, dammit what is it with these people, but yes, they are the people whom you came to hear and you get what you were seeking so the evening could probably be called a success and you are thinking that maybe next time you'll sign up to do a poem, they haven't had any poems all night so far unless you count _The Vagina Monologues_ but you're sure your poem would fit in and the one you have in mind would be sure to explode a few brain cells in the seats on your left because it's just that kind of poem, another of the ones you wrote late at night under the influence of a similar group of people back in the city where you were born far away, and you start to notice that the audience is thinning out and then there's just the tiny hard core left and on the stage it's mostly just one guy who doesn't care whether anyone is listening or not and eventually he takes a break from doing his own stuff (and fortunately he's one of the least slurful of the lot so that you actually can hear most of the words) to do a song which you are pleased to realise is a cover of one of your favourites, but then as he goes on you realise that he doesn't actually know the words, and you are just starting to get it together to go up there and offer to sing it yourself along with him because you know that the remaining audience would love that but by this time he's in the middle of the second and final verse so there wouldn't be much point and then a line later he just runs out of even half-remembered words and he cuts out half the verse and the moment has passed.

There's another hour left and you stay to the bitter end because you know you won't be sleeping when you get home and you have nothing to do tomorrow anyway except your entire fucking 654 peer review assignment, so you stay to the bitter end and as you are leaving a girl stops you and greets you as a long lost friend saying "Alan! How did you find us here?!" and you have to explain that you aren't actually Alan at all and she apologises a trillion times, using those exact words but not specifying whether it's a North American or a British trillion, and you wonder why because it was obviously your own fault, I mean just going around the place and just blatently not being Alan, how could you have the nerve to do that, and you converse briefly and tell her your proper name but she's probably not one of the new friends you had hoped to meet because she's on her way back home to Toronto in the morning (well, later in the morning, it's already after one) and you're on your way home too and an hour later, at home, you've already forgotten her name.

So you type it all into the machine, because that's better than not.

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