Friday, January 30, 2004

About that Susan Sontag lecture. I got there about half an hour early to secure myself a seat. Ben, of course, did not go to the talk. I was sitting there by myself reading Whitman's "Song of Myself," pretending to, really just checking out all the other people also waiting in the Great Hall of Cooper Union. And then, in the midst of my scanning of the room, I notice Kevin walking up the aisle I was sitting in.

A quick refresh for those of you wondering who Kevin is. Over the summer, I constantly ran into him on the L train. Finally, he pointed this out, that we always sat across from each other on the train and asked for my number. He never called me and I was understandably sad. A month of two later, he wrote me on Friendster, and we met up for pancakes. And neither of us called the other person after that. Fast forward a few months to New Years, when Rebecca and I crash the party downstairs from Sterling's, and who is there? That's right, Kevin. I made out with him for a bit and that was that.

And now, there he is again, with a friend walking up the aisle engaged in conversation. He comes into the row I am sitting and says hi to his friends who are sitting right behind me, and then he sits next to me since that is where his friends are sitting. Out of all the seats in this huge Hall, probably 1000+ seats, and he ends up in the one right next to me. I talked to him and it was definitely a little uncomfortable. In my bag, was the book that I am reading right now, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and Ben did not show up, and I ended up sitting next to Kevin, and it seemed all too appropriate. I could not talk to him. I didn't really have much to say, I really didn't want to say anything, and I felt so lame and self-conscious being stuck in this chair next to him, while he was animatedly engaged with his friends.

When I was leaving the lecture, filled with self-loathing brought on by sitting next to Kevin and Sontag's passionate speech that made me feel decadent and lazy for being too self-absorbed (i.e. this diary) amidst endless suffering instead of doing anything to work for change, instead going to galleries, schmoozing with fags, eating the free fruits and downing the free wine purchased by insane wealth, and yeah while leaving, just wanting to escape home and stuff my belly with pasta, I ran into Christopher who used to work at the Strand. I had pizza with him and had to suppress my crabbiness.

But then alone, I was happy. I thought about Sontag. I walked a different way to get around the BQE when I went to visit Joe, instead of going under it, I went down a couple of blocks and walked over it, and it was thrilling and so nice. I walked past graffiti that said, "Johnny Cash died of a broken heart." And that made me happy.

Today, the Domino Sugar factory is closing after 148 years. Right next to it, there is a tiny little park that I watched the sunset over Manhattan from countless times this past summer, and I would see the sun ripple by on crests of water against the docks of the sugar factory. It is also where I watched the fireworks from on the 4th of July. This closing makes me sad, especially because it may become hipster lofts. This is what gentrification looks like. I am part of the problem. I am not always okay with this.

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