Wednesday, July 11, 2007

after getting locked out of paris and sleeping for the better part of an afternoon, stephanie and i got indian food and then walked around old madrid for a few hours. around midnight she decided that it was bedtime and that there was no way she was going to see 28 weeks later with me because she would not be able to sleep all night. so i went alone. in retrospect, maybe not the greatest idea, given how i tend to deal with scary movies. i would have been better off in a living room with someone willing to cuddle during the scary parts, and in the middle of the afternoon, than in a theater by myself at 12:30. but i had heard such good things about it that i was determined.

i dont remember being horrified to nearly that extent by the first one, although maybe its just been a while since i first saw it, but more than being scared the way scream did when i was a little kid (which was mostly about just thinking something was going to jump out at me from spaces that where sometimes so small as to make such a thing physically impossible), i was deeply shaken. when the movie got out at 2:30, i decided to ride my bike around old madrid for a while because i wasnt tired yet (having woken up at 5 in the evening). i have these in-ear headphones that block out most outside noise if the volume is turned up enough, so i put on godspeed you black emperor! and took off. the movie had me in a rather surreal mood to begin with, and biking around a city that is full of people (contrary to popular myth, new york is more like the city that doesnt sleep all that much, but on the weekends, madrid truly never sleeps) without being able to hear them only exacerbated it. in a good way though. with in-ear headphones on you can hear yourself breathing through your own head rather than through the air outside (like with earplugs), and it sounds the way peoples' breathing in movies sounds when they are running for their lives. i biked to the top of a very large hill behind a cathedral that overlooks what im told used to be the royal hunting grounds but is now just a part of the city. the hill is steep enough that it might be technically a cliff, and at the top of it is a parking lot with no lights, so it's quite a view. eventually i got bored, biked home, and spent 3 hours lying awake in bed, less scared than expected i to be but certainly feeling pensive. i had that feeling of intense emotion of some indeterminable type, and the presence of many important thoughts that were just below the surface of my consciousness. its a feeling of being very emotionally and intellectually intense but without the emotional and intellectual content. the last time i felt that way was in amarillo, texas, last summer. i didnt do a very good job of explaining it then, and i dont think i am this time either.

the whole evening i also had that in-a-movie feeling. since moving to new york, i finally gave up the romantic idea that interesting things just happen to you, the way they do in the movies. new york city is a place where you expect fate to be lying in wait around every corner, but it isnt. around every corner is just more road, and more life, the same as the one you just came down. if you want something interesting to happen, you have to make it happen. i know that sounds more like a motivational speech than a lament, but for me, that realization was one of the most disillusioning ones ive ever had to face.

my life isnt, by most traditional accounts, boring; touring in a punk band, working as a messenger in new york, living in a loft in bushwick, traveling europe solo, these things sound to some people like adventures. but the thing is that every step of the way, i had to make it happen myself, which takes all of the adventure out of it. adventure is what happens when you arent expecting it. it surprises you, and even if its mundane, the novelty is what makes it adventure. take wandering around an unknown city. if you get bored and take a train to a place you've never been and wander around, its just sort of whatever. but if you accidentally get off on the wrong stop and wander around because you have to, thats adventure. for so long i was waiting for interesting stuff to just happen to me like it does in the movies. turn the corner and bam! theres a natural disaster that forces the hero out of you, or the weirdo with the idea that changes your life, or the girl of your dreams. but if you turn a corner in new york, its just the same people. everywhere you go its just the same people. faux-hawks, crew cuts and euro-mullets, its the same fucking people. but that night, after the movie, i was expecting something to just happen. that was the kind of mood i was in. i thought i was going to get hit by a car, see an alien land or a bomb go off, get shot at, or fall in love. nothing would have surprised me because i was expecting to be suprised. by the time i woke up the next morning, it was gone.

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