Monday, August 30, 2004

Firsts

Dragonfly II. Good morning, residents of Blogland! Some entirely unprecedented occurrences have......occurred since the last time I updated. Over the weekend I: 1. was nice to a Mormon. 2. met Dave Eggers. 3. did not tremble with icy-hot rage when someone touched my arm on the bus. Anyone who knows me knows that I hold a peculiar animosity toward Mormons. Perhaps it is their annoyingly self-righteous do-goodery. Perhaps it is their homophobia and racism. Perhaps it is those prissy flight-attendant-looking outfits they wear. Whatever it is, I can't stand them. Yes, I know I'm offending legions of people right now, but I don't give a shit. Mormons disapprove of feminists and scholars and gay people so I don't feel the slightest bit bad about disapproving of Mormons. Mormonism is a cult the same way that Scientology is a cult and people get hurt from it and ignorance reigns and the stuff they believe is downright laughable. (......let the shitstorm begin.........) At any rate, I generally shoot them disdainful and/or dirty looks when I see them, perhaps explaining why no Mormon has ever spoken to me. On Friday night, however, one of the little buggers snuck up on me when I wasn't looking and sat next to me on the bus with a, "Hey, how ya doin'?" I was horrified. I was about to have to cause a scene on the bus in front of everyone. I told him I was fine in a terse little snarl and started fishing around in my bag for my headphones. Then he asked me if I had a good night. Yep, I said - the most clipped "yep" in the history of yeps. Am I from around here? Ok, that was about as much as I could take of Wonderbread Boy. I thought, he's going to start proselytizing at any moment and I'm going to have to kick his little God-fearing butt. And then... I don't know what happened. I really don't. I just kind of looked at him and thought, this guy isn't trying to hurt me. He's not trying to steal my wallet, he's not trying to ask me out, he's just asking me a question and I'm acting like an asshole. He doesn't deserve this. And all of a sudden I didn't hate him any more. It was so weird, it was like right then this kid turned into a real person instead of a representative of all things obnoxious. So I put my headphones away and asked him where he was from (one guess) and we talked for about twenty minutes until he had to get off the bus. Oddly, he didn't even try to convert me. I got the feeling that he was just really happy to be talking to someone who wasn't rude to him. As he stood up to leave he handed me one of those Jesus cards and I thought about telling him that I'm an atheist and no thanks, but decided at the last second that it wasn't worth it. He's just one kid, you know? He's just one kid in a sea of Mormon kids and I guess I didn't feel like disillusioning him right then. So that's the story of how I was nice to a Mormon. On Sunday night I met Dave Eggers who is every bit as sardonically funny as one would imagine even if he is a bit thinner and paler than I expected (although still entirely, unbearably smoochable). If you don't know who Dave Eggers is, he wrote A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius which is everything the title declares and so much more. A runner-up for a Pulitzer a few years ago, he has since had his hands in a bunch of projects including one-on-one tutoring programs for kids and my most favorite website, McSweeney's from which I steal the "Daily Reason to Dispatch Bush" every once in a while for your edification. He and a few other authors were at Wordsworth Books in Harvard Square to promote the new McSweeney's anthology Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans which is so funny that I seriously could not catch my breath from laughing so hard. If you buy this book, do NOT read it on public transportation and be thankful that someone else learned that lesson for you so that you don't have to. And finally, a horrifying development. I have now reached the point that I am so desperate for the touch of another human being that when someone rubs up against me on the bus I no longer mentally annihilate them. I am so starved for any kind of physical intimacy that the upwelling of unfettered rage that used to greet even the slightest accidental brush by a fellow commuter has been not only tamed, but entirely transformed into a humiliating, breathless yearning. And on that note, I wish you a very happy Monday with much touching. Ciao!

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