Polyester: Week 2

DAY 8

I’m thinking, maybe we’re not supposed to know other people too well. That mystery, privacy, autonomy thing. We should always be going places we can’t take everyone – or sometimes, anyone – with us. That’s the nature of seeking and curiosity.

I came out on this trip alone, adventuring and working. It’s the best way. I mean, if you have to be working, make the money fast and keep it dirty. All money is dirty, anyway. Make it fast and keep it simple. Fucking degrees. Fucking internships. Fucking friends-of-a-friends’ kid. Fucking shit rich people do and middle-class people and the rest of us mimic and don’t realize. Fucking “nice shirts”. Fucking “being nice.” Fucking houses in City Zones that still have streetlights. Fucking jobs in office buildings designed to counteract every human-animal urge you’ll ever have. Fuck not getting to rest, make, sleep and play on the schedule that suits your unique body. Fuck the middle-class urge to move up. I’ll stay where my people are, thank you. Come find me here.

I came out to work, see clients, get a short gig at a PolyClub – where we wear sexy polyester dresses and do sexy shit with the clients. The dresses are so hard to find in these plastic-lusting times. Most of the clothes with polyester fibers in them have been reappropriated. The actual term the state used in one campaign was Emancipated, and it’s fucking disgusting that a word that should just mean “released from slavery / coerced action,” was used to describe a program that intended to conserve and repurpose petroleum molecules. Peak oil baby, this is it.

I can make money at home but so much more as a specialty, when I travel. Everyone wants to see the new girl. It’ s part of creating a cult following, a little infamy. Usually I like that kind of thing. Cultivate it you’d say. At home, in NYC, the dense East Coast provided Thing Bounty. Plenty of clothes when I was a poor kid, so absorbing excess was a necessary feat of aesthetics in the face of poverty. To cultivate a look is to have to choose.

Around when I was 18/19 the P-client re-ap [Petroleum client re-appropriation] programs started by some social entrepreneur type organizations to collect materials – mostly clothes – that had polyester fibers in them, for reuse. By the time I was 25, it was a “highly encouraged” and rewarded activity, getting carbon credits for your official re-ap hand ins, and cash for your black market ones. There were a lot of awkward WWII posters from the WPA which were re-ap-ed themselves to drive home the civic duty and help-y-ness of turning in one’s luxury fabrics and flowing polyesters hoarded from great aunts, grandparents, and gay starlet heroines.

 

DAY 9

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.

 

DAY 10

Yesterday & even the day before were bad days for me. I felt like a can of shaky cheese that was getting shaken around by something, my arms weak and my smile too fast to be real. I always feel really clear headed after I come out of these bad days, though.

I feel like I have no history. My herstory and queerstory are so painful to remember right now. Waking up I see an O-zone cloud nearing and I’m scared: it’s roaming across the country, it’s gonna settle close to home.

Walking down the street some woman was distributing flyers about a tarp-raising. Out of the city we’re gonna have to work together and also try to shield from the elements more. It’s worth it to evade urban surveillance, but still, this outpost feeling is pretty weird for me.

I’m always hungry and these short conversations are not enough for anyone, so how can I take what I need? All the old rules…things I don’t miss pop into my mind occasionally: TV, cable, subway ads, drunk dialing, ordering in, tube tops, waiting.

No matter the situation, some types of people remain the same: the happy lady, walking around like she has some special secret, smirking against the odds until you get close enough to see a blank reflection of eyes you realize looks a lot like your own; the apologetic asshole, Mr. I-didn’t-mean-to-come-in-you with a bat of his eyelashes you’re supposed to forget all about your possible future medical melodrama; the guy to whom martial arts have given overconfidence.

Is it hotter now that the world has ended? I really can’t tell. I’m hotter most of the time, but running less so not as sticky. Moving this way makes my northern vowels cringe, they respond in twitchy, lexical disasters. One day I’m a Mississippi belle, another I’m a Wisconsin mom. Then I’m round Ontario, later crisp NE.

Not that it matters, my speech is still mostly to myself under my breath, sideways in the hallways and streets that aren’t to creepy to go down alone. I talk when alone so I won’t lose my voice for when I need it. I need it at work to hustle my look, and I need it to try to meet some people. Voice, please please please don’t you leave, too. It left when I was eight and took seven years to get it back. I don’t have that kind of time. None of us do. We have to take care of each other.

 

DAY 11

I’ve worked five times so far out here. This Club is a spot that makes money, at least. I like the fact that the Club is exclusively for polyfetishists; they’re loaded and they’re specific, a good combo because it’s simple and easy to play to. And while getting the clothes was an incredible struggle, I love the act of wearing the sweet plastic against my skin. Some smooth, some rough, and always the hint of chemical breakdown and danger of osmosis.

You can imagine what a shitshow the “vintage market” has become. You need a special license to be a clothing re-salers. An expensive goddamn license. This totally fucked over some of my friends. Anyway: polyester, PVC, latex, spandex, lycra, leatherette, mylar…all of them are specialty items now. Like me, too, I guess. Hahah. I have a few precious dresses, and I need to keep them at least a bit of a secret. Re-ap cash is no joke these days, but these are my ticket to eating and staying solvent, ya know? Plus, I really, really fucking like wearing them.

People get all upset about the animal cruelty aspects of using silk or wool, but the reality is that making a plastic-based garment is akin to setting a pile of rubber tires on fire, or money, or your hair – it’s unthinkable.

 

DAY 12

I kicked an ATM today and it sparked! But no money came out. Some dude laughed at me. I spit at him. God I’m unsocialized. I spent years getting financial security, getting my maturity in line with my ideals and my debts, and then next thing I know, this happens. You fucking bet I’m bitter, I’m totally, totally pissed. Spent so long with my numbers, and now I’m a zero. Talking of money is usually talking of the lack of money. Is this my old obsession haunting me?

Sometimes I feel the edges of what I call “my old self” and realize that she didn’t die with everyone else I knew back home. That’s weird. I was out tonight seeing random-ass bands and it happened. Talking to Cherry, from the Club, I forgot about everyone else for a bit. I forgot to ask questions about or even reference The Bombing. It’ s so present for me – like, I can see it happening. Limbs flying. Mouths open. Does this happen to anyone else? It must. Is there a reason?

Collective trauma is still trauma. It sits in us near where our other sadnesses live. What other terrible things am I glad are not in front of my mind right now that this has replaced? Trauma erases the ability to take the feelings of these things out of your mind. SO many of us, then, have so many intense feelings. No wonder we act fucked up to each other. Our home training is terrible.

At the show, I met a girl whose hairdo perfectly matched the hairdo of a babe I used to make out with and it gave me a pang of longing that made it impossible to roll up. This place is certainly not babe-barren, but as usual I am. I feel like an alien. And the problem is, so many other people do, too.

 

DAY 13

Breathing. Tiny Breaths. Thank there’s some openings in the clouds today, something less than totally toxic seeps into the otherwise noxious clouds. I want the people around me to make it, too. It’s lonely both ways, I’m sure. Is this leanness in the air? The air quality is improving.

Goddamn desert air. At least it’s making me happy to quit smoking. Always resistant. I’m sweating like a bitch – shoot! Not that I ever had A/C before but I’m sure the world is hotter now, and definitely down here. Northeast to Southwest is ever so different.

There’s new rules: bills have been whipping through Congress which meets somewhere underground and undisclosed. Most of these rules apply in the City Zones, where there are cops. Things like: No more CB radio. Recording technology is outlawed – if you had the generator to run it off in the first place. Assembly of more than five non-related persons for non-work purposes. Lights off after dark. Gone Gone Gone.

You have to be outside the city to make your own rules, though there have got to be places inside where autonomy still reigns. Right? People won’t collectively give up and go over to watching TV that easily, right?

Secret dance clubs open up only to be teargassed. I’m not stupid, I know how they’re being found out. It’s the stupid fucking trackers worrisome mom’s and safety-first dads had installed in their children the generation and two after me. No one likes to talk about them. In the early ‘10’s when terrorism was a hyped issue (well it is still hyped) people had kids tagged in droves. It was the new fingerprinting.

Why am I writing this? Is it going to make me less lonely to keep this fucking book?

Anyway, now that the lil fluffkins made it safely through childhood are old enough to drink, fight, and screw, the fact that mamacita could follow them around on the home PC or tablet is replaced by the cops’ observations.

There are underground facilities opening up to remove them but of course you gotta have money or put your cunt on the line. Some people have neither and home removals really can go awry. For awhile activist doctors operated their clinics anyway- but the problem is that in later batches of trackers, they were put in kids spines. So you can’t get them out, unless you want to risk serious paralysis, flat out permanently.

The scramblers that some hackers developed were a lot more useful, but are open source and either sometimes unreliable or fucking stellar depending on who you talk to. But you don’t know, and as often happens when the power goes out or low, their signal fades out and it doesn’t matter how well the fucker worked. Luckily the pigs don’t have reliable power – or oil – either. There’s still possibility due to everyone’s lack, at least. And, OSS scramblers means that better/smarter ones are getting developed and tested regularly. You can’t legislate this stuff away, thank fuck. OSS is based off property and copyright to begin with, an excellent trick for making free shit institutionalized under Law.

 

DAY 14

I am not used to walking, so I got on a bike for the first time in weeks and wept. What is wrong with me – it’s a BICYCLE. I just can not stop motherfucking crying at everything though… in years past I rode 10, 20, 30 miles in a day of work or protest and came home to my protein and cozy bedroom.

I rode past some encampments to a City zone and boy it sure looks like upper management is pissed! They’ve put up another layer of fences with barbed wire – whose kids did they make strip the plastic from the wire before it was used, I wonder. Probably not one of the fancy, white, city kids that is for sure.

Home had hurricanes and heat waves, here its credit and the Avenues. Choosing from the lesser of two evils, choosing less or more being watched. Choose nature; but I can’t so I don’t think too closely on it. I must choose the chemical nature of my people, at least some of the time. When you smell, you are taking in tiny molecules of whatever it is you are smelling. Remember the smell of cheap clothes? Of a shirt that was in a bag for awhile? Of vintage dresses and stiff plasticky pants? I do. I love how they smell, and that makes me a little bit plastic myself.

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