Thinking I had invaded in a new-to-me area I was slightly bummed to find that I had, in fact, been there already. No big deal that. I don’t thirst for the new in all things. But my last pass through that area was with a then-girlfriend who, as I remembered in the months after the breakup, was in the Flatbush days positively giddy about our prospects.
She did not show it like others might but it was there. The ways she looked at me when she didn’t think I was paying attention. She looked at me like I was The Answer. At times during our years together I looked at her The Same. It turned out we simply had not asked The Question.
I remembered, too, the little girl look of “aw shucks” disappointment when I said it was too soon for us to move in together. It was too soon, at that time. But I remembered that moment of her face, the way she either snapped her fingers or made a fist punch to the air, I couldn’t tell which because I focused on that facial look of vulnerability so rare from her. It boomarung down to her feet, which lifted from the floor.
Love is a big pot of lies. We lie to ourselves about why we love someone, how we cannot live without that love, how that love will never die. The reasons we love are usually lies.
Ours was a maelstrom of lies, hoaxes, and emotional tricks designed to earn social rewards and stature among peers. In some ways it was classic social media lying, with happyface postings rising up in the midst of hell-on-earth arguments where she didn’t just sound upset, she sounded like she was being tortured.
In between those blasts of white hot anger someone would ask to take a picture (this particular incident was at a wedding) and there we were on social media, smiling like lovebirds when the reality could not have been more different.
I hate to make comparisons between that reality and the truly homicidal variety of social media lying but when the Gaby Petito Brian Laundry thing (whatever the hell their last names were or how they were spelled) surfaced I could totally align with the dismay over the inordinate amount of attention a missing white woman gets versus women or men of other ethnicities. I get it. I concur. It’s a cultural bias that may never die.
But the case resonated with me for how it echoed so many incidents of people and couples whose realities differ as much as they possibly could from the superstar/superlove presence they project on social media and at real life cocktail parties and such. People hate each other but the social canard must be maintained that there is love and happiness here when really there is none. The Petito thing, for me, brought that reality beyond unshared bitchslaps and rage to outright homicide.
Speaking of last names I talked to someone yesterday whose last name is MOUNTAIN. Nice name.
Flatbush was colorful. Oops, am I allowed to use that word?
Nostrand Avenue was kind of a chaos, while some of the surrounding streets were tranquil and serene. Nobody bothered me but why would they? Oh, wait.
Aha, that reminds again of the time I passed through there with the aforementioned ex-gf. Black men sitting on buckets yelled out catcalls to the white women. The white women smiled. The area had, at the time, a reputation for attracting white women who were into black men.
The black men also taunted white men, sometimes asking semi-threatening questions and approaching them asking, in essence, what the fuck are you doing here?
My gf and I got no catcalls. As she herself put it, we got a free pass for being “interracial.”
I detected it among the men who had thrown catcalls and taunts. They saw us together and straightened their ties, so to speak, since they were not actually wearing ties.
I was in Flatbush today for, what else, payphone detail. My technique of reverse-engineering public records to locate long-defunct payphones led me to two live ones today (well, they were dead phones) and one ghost location where a payphone seems to have been removed within the last couple of weeks. I guess I was expecting three but I’ll take the two that I did find. One had a PSP I’d never heard of. Universal Communications, I think?
Today’s goal was to ride the Q44 full distance. That did not occur. I slept a little late and the shuttle buses to Flatbush were slow as ass. The day wore long because I do not know how to read a map. I got lost in a beautiful swath of Brooklyn. Was it the Prospect Park South Historic District? I think so. Yard sales galore. Is that a thing in some neighborhoods? People lay out to dry their shot glasses, dead toys, empty baskets, $1 each for everything. The houses seem huge but I bet many of them are empty inside.
I shit well this morning but feel a need to repeat. I am at a bar waiting for a woman who I suspect will never show. Never tonight, that is. We had no date, I’m just here on a hunch. It is more than a hunch, truth be told, but the bartender situation seems to have complicated things. Does that make sense? I don’t even care if it does. The music is getting louder and my head is filling with it. Brimming. Overflowing. Noisenoisenoisenoisenoisenoise.