I hung out at a fire party at Zsquare w Alliya last night and it was cool. Lots of good weirdos over there…hadn’t realized how much I’d missed my people. I need to be deep with strange people or else I go off and don’t remember that I’m like anyone else. I am like the other smart strange people in the world, I am not alone, thank fuck.
I met this great weirdo ETLE who wants me to write for her scifi blog. She was talking about a feminist cyborg universe and some shit called the disappearance and is completely out of touch with reality and #1 reality is overrated and #2 the world around her is so brilliant who gives a shit about reality. Maybe I will. Maybe I will write some absurd escapist scifi just for the fucking fuck of it or because lord knows I am lost in my mind enough already.
I met Logan and Xtine and Nita, all of whom also live at Zsquare and are on the organizing collective there. Of course there’s an organizing collective, where there’s anarchists… they were fucking cool, though. Nita is in charge of the zine library/archive. One of the rooms is just dedicated to that! Yes! I am going to have to hang out here a LOT. Logan is kind of a manarchist but also kind of sweet. He kept stoking the fire so frankly I loved that even though he did wax a little polemical on the power of men doing service work in the revolution blah blah. Yeah duh we are all working. Xtine is in charge of the mesh network there and I want to introduce her to Georgie, they’d totally get along and nerd out ssh style. Xtine had the fast hands of a coder and I have to admit I like that for other reasons, too.
Allyia. Oy how can I not perv her!? There’s a Daphne Gottlieb poem: “It’s on but. Do I want to be her, fuck her, or wear her clothes?” This girl. I want all of it, like I haven’t in so long. Like I’m alive for her to see me, magical friend being. I recognize this urge and I love it. I love to have crushes on and be totally into my friends, just like dates. I love to want to know and hang out with and share weird tiny snacks with and be brilliant gorgeous fuckups with my friends and that’s what she brings out in me. Her long brown hair and brown eyes and brown skin spotted with tattoos that I want every story of, and I got a few. Obvs we got drunk at the fire and I hung hard with her without trying to seem too stoked yet totally stoked. It’s a fine line, one to be walked unselfconsiously whenever possible. There’s a line of fire around one elbow, connected to the background of a carousel horse which rides on the edge of a giant piece of cheese. “Tell me about the cheese!” I squealed, taking the opportunity to touch her. “Dude who doesn’t like cheese?” She said, and then leaned in to whisper in my ear, “Plus sometimes you know, your pussy just smells like cheese and you wanna get ridden like a carousel horse anyway!”
That was it, folks. I love her. She is perfect. Brilliant.
I got a message from Logan and Xtine, people I was talking to last night at the fire. They were stoked that I was talking about harm, about accountability, about systems. They asked me to work on editing the draft of a safer spaces policy for their collective, hoping that with some new energy it might get done. I’m surprised that they still want to make one of those. People stopped making them for awhile back after an article by Andrea Smith [LINK] that led folks to think that challenge and transformation were more important than safety, and after that book, Safe Spaces, tied the history of “safety” in with the policing gaze of gentrification. What feels sage and to whom and why? I guess it’s about your definition of safety and how you make it real in your world, what you expect. Some people have expectations of safety that are a little precious, and some expect no safety at all. I guess there’s a middle ground that is ideal?
I was talking to Cherry about it at the club tonight and she said, “oh honey. what’s safe? having money? having rules?” She looked around the dressing room, with the printed and hand-scrawled signs telling us how to behave:
MANAGEMENT RESERVES THE RIGHTS TO SEND HOME
LOCKERS MUST BE LOCKED NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOST ITEMS
SHOWERS ONE MINUTE ONLY
and on and on: small shitty pieces of 8.5×11 paper printed in all caps Arial, with our little notes of resistance hand-printed on them:
Dirty Bitchez!! [on the shower one]
NO ONE GOES HOME [on the management one]
Where’s my eyeliner lost Tuesday 6/7 [on the locker one]
And so on, our tiny realities spelled out for each other, overwriting the ostensible language of power with our own true speech. Which is more powerful? At the end of the day the management has the keys to the club, literally, even if it’s only through our cute and varied bodies that it functions. Is the power in our bodies or in the specific place, the Club, that’s created for it to manifest through our bodies? Damn. That’s gonna keep me up at night. Tactics and strategy keep me thinking.
And then I come back to safer spaces, to agreements about how our bodies are going to be in the same space as other people’s bodies and what kinds of things are cool, uncool, and what to do about the uncool stuff. There’s always something to address, some way that someone has acted to someone else that people are willing to gossip about. But are they willing to talk to any of the people involved? That’s whats actually useful–putting your conversation time where your judgements are.
Obviously I’m only thinking about this stuff because I’ve been socializing. Humans put me in a mood. usually a good one. often a thoughtful one. I really can’t survive without them…duh I guess that’s kind of the point of being human, even if it is the opposite of starring in a movie called I Win.
Speaking of humans, Alison is here and is getting back from the beer run she went on. Gotta go…
Oh plastic, are you only a metaphor? Is your transformation from dinosaur guts to precious viscosity the new global warming? And if so, is this horrible and awkward time your chrysalis? Your emergence from a flowing excess liquid into the fuel that tricked us all; petrochemicals are so precious. So non-renewable. So static. This is a moving world that demands reproducibility and excess and you are merely a liquid state that the past made. Each of us are a solid state that the past made. Everyone hates to think about the past, fire from above and the influence of our parents, our homes and our loved ones flying through the air. History is a nightmare from which we’re trying to escape by rewriting the present in versions that are curated by ourselves. The past is a mess all on its own.
Plastic, perhaps you are only a real thing and not a metaphor. I hate this idea because then I’d have to just take you at face value: a thing that exists without reason. Metaphor is for making reasons, just like consciousness.
I fucked Alison earlier today and if I could, I’d do it again tonight. What the fuck is that, no fucking unpaid human contact for weeks and weeks and then one day suddenly I’m a sexual humanoid again, enough that multiple people see it inside me. As if some announcement went out that I was ok to fuck now. Obviously I’m not ok enough to fuck and that’s why I want it all the more.
My personal bar for fucking enough is one or two times a day. Most people aren’t like that but for the ones that are, I say: come over. I’m thinking about you. Sex is for fun, and plastic is for sex.
sexy things that are sometimes made of plastic:
- – dildos
- – safer sex supplies
- – vegan sex toys
- – floggers
- – vinyl/pvc/polyester clothes
- – clamps n clips
- – hitachi magic wand [and lesser vibrators]
There is a plastic code among us fetishists. The more rare a plastic item the more sexually stimulating. That’s fucking normal, I know. The dresses I wear are hot because they are flattering and peacocky sure, but also because they are hard to come by and money likes rarity.
This one client last night, damn where does he get all his money? He sees two or three of us at a time every time he comes in, which is at least once a week as long as I’ve been here. He likes to pretend he’s teaching us to put a dress on, so we start the private room in our sexy gitch, holding our outfits. We rub them against him and then against ourselves in with an affect as if it feels awesome. It feels ok but not actually orgasmically ok, like we act as if it is. He takes the dresses and examines them, then helps us into them one at a time, slow as fuck. If it wasn’t so weird it would be hot, but it’s so daddy warbucks it’s not hot. Its just like work. Making money, using the remnants of a dying metaphor that’s a real thing after all.
But back to the part where it’s 10pm and I woke up alone this morning and I’m alone again now and still the fucking I was doing earlier was so, so good to me. It had all the elements I like of a hot makeout: me, someone hot, and making out. That shit gives me life. So much life that then tries to do its living through my pussy. What can I say: she can talk, catch, and throw. And after the long, long winter of my heart, I’m alive for just being alive and happy for just being happy. This is the reward for holding on, I get it. It’s just that you have to feel it to get it, and when you don’t feel it, you don’t get it.
Ten and a half weeks. Wasn’t that an inane movie title? These people aren’t the worst ones I can imagine, but my imagination gets kind of shallow sometimes. My dreams are even retreating: all I’ve got is images of broken planks of wood and buckets of paint restyling everything into a Midwestern gothic grey-green. The color of the 1970s washed out as it now appears over a half century later.
I have to do or die, that much is clear. I keep thinking I’m all fixed up to do, then I realize that I’m not even close to doing anything right. Is this how starting over has to feel, or am I too heartbroken to get it right this time? That was cool, to get one or two really happy glowing well-fucked days before
Without her face in my dreams to set my sleep on fire, I’m full of empty paint cans and destroyed walls with no tools, no desire to salvage the wreckage anyway. If I can fake it for a little while longer, I’ll understand how to fit right in to my new life as a starfish on dry land, native tongue destroyed, my city of love in ruins, my first choice laughing in my face.
At my generator shift this morning, I talked to Georgie about the folks I met at zSquare.
Pedaling along I tried to describe that Nita and Xtine had said about their mesh network plans and saw Georgie’s brown eyes light up. So when the next person showed up to take over, I brought her over to meet Xtine instead of doing my day’s research on plastic. Pedaling on real ground is always so much nicer than making the generator go, and it felt good to have a resource to share and a connection of my own to make instead of abstracting into a book again.
We found hir at the toolshed in the corner of the square, and watching their meeting was so pleasurable. Seeing people vibe each other is so fun to watch, no? Xtine’s knuckly hands tugged curls out of place and Georgie’s golden shoulders went up and down adjusting her vest. They immediately started to nerded out about routers and throwing distances and which open source software did what and LANs … I saw enough sparks fly so I wandered off to find Alliya to tell her about this new, cute, crossover. Alliya looked at me like I was a motherfucking gift from the goddess and said: “Do you know what this means?”
Obviously I did not, so she continued, “With their tech brains and your science and adventure brain and my hustle, we could really build something big. Right? Bigger than zSquare.”
Oh shit, she’s right. “As big as the neighborhood?”
“Yeah. Or bigger. BIG.”
This, where I was hungry, was like food. We could fucking build something useful with that we knew. We just needed, you know, a shit ton of parts and to draft plans bigger than anything any of us had done before. But guess what – it’s that or just keep hanging out so… Me, Alliya, Xtine and Georgie. Where it starts.
I know you’re not supposed to start shit with your new crushes and friends together but this is a whole new time, where rules about staying casual and separated and pursuing elevator-type romances are null. This is friendship after the apocalypse. We flirt with and fuck each other and that inspires us and gives us the energy to build the rev together.
Sometimes I notice my surroundings are semi-filthy and other times I care. When I instruct my brain to focus, it picks abstractedly, zooming in and out on associated items, coming back to center decorated and waving its plumage. I think I think too much, but there’s not tons else to do. Work, escape, build, roam. And besides, its not like the thoughts don’t escape when I meet up with people, on the contrary. Roaming the filthy streets – picking past turned/kicked over garbage cans on my way, on my small swift cruising bike, I tend to meet interesting people.
I think about how this is stolen land that goes in circles, each time the ground we walk on getting sectioned off and taken a little more. The deeds. Land rights. Building rights. Mineral rights. Water rights. Air rights. What about people’s rights? What about the right to go home? Not that I will ever get to know that, but I do understand that some people do know what home could be if they could access it. So many of us have never known that at all. Oh my god, I miss my friends. I am going to ride around until I can’t think of anything else but legs, air, wheels, and the ache transfers from my chest to my muscles.
I’m going to try something new here: I’m writing in an alternate universe, a project that ETLE is working on. All I have to do is tell a story she said. All I have to do is stand tall in my own words, easy for her to say. Here is where I start: with one story about the disappearance.
I was sitting in my brown suit getting ready for work when I got the first announcement, a sms from a friend, that something was happening to women across the globe, something that happened to her neighbor and she saw it. I thought she was fucking kidding, she has the melodrama level of a teenage theatre major. I felt the spike in my own adrenaline soften into the low-level anxiety I am most familiar and comfortable with. I enjoy the things I am comfortable with, I enjoy anxiety. I am fine with it. I can sit in my brown suit and be pleased with myself and my life. I do not have to read every text every moment it comes in. I have a job as a video editor, I have self-control, I have a family. I am just like Murphy Brown, my unruly children ultimately loving me and respecting my choices, making me feel good about my sacrifices. My ability to reason and garner respect knows no bounds. I finished preparing to go to work.
I went outside and there were cars stopped on the streets and people looking both skyward and streetward. There was a car accident in front of my building, a woman sitting in the drivers’ seat looking stunned and not moving. My fucking god, a coma, I thought. How awful. And how terrible that the people around must chickenneck like they are, everyone stopped all around. Just move on if you’re not being helpful, go to work like the rest of us are.
One more step. That’s all I got in the old reality. One last step. If I’d known before I took that step I would have gone directly back into my home and quit my job and hugged my kids and had my son take me out to the low hills of my hometown and left me there to be feral, alone. No one will bother a woman alone out there. Not like in the city, here, what I saw.
That one last step took me into the full sight line of the street, into mayhem. Three clusters of people, each acting differently. Cluster 1: people fighting around the car that hit my building. Cluster 2: two women pushing away and trying to defend from onlookers another woman who was moving incredibly slowly on the ground, while a third woman cried and held the spazaming one. Cluster 3: three men pushing their hands onto a woman who lay motionless.
Have you ever asked yourself what you would do in an emergency situation? How you hope your body would react?
Great big honeycombs of light entered my eyes and I began to see behind the men to their spirits, the red and black things they held over their spirits to cover their true selves from themselves. I could not see the spirit of the woman. I could only see glass inside her and it terrified me. I grabbed my HALT, some call it mace, out of my purse and moved towards the third cluster. The undoing of the men’s chemical bodies was available to me. There was only to make it happen.
I made it happen. I did something I was not sure I’d ever be able to do. Done. Emergent from me is a new person, one who can halt harm.