I can be really annoying. . .
I used to get so fixated on things that I would miss the feelings closest to me. I’ve been trying to address that failing, though I’m not sure I’ll get another chance to prove myself. I suppose the thing that I hate most about solitude is confronting multiple versions of memories. The Thin White Rope show I keep fixating on is a good example. I took the girl I was living with to the show with me. We sat at the table before the show, and were having a good time talking about the freaks in the crowd and eavesdropping on conversations. When Thin White Rope came on (they were the second band before the headlining duo of Danny and Dusty) I went forward to the stage, standing right on the edge. The feedback made my jaw drop.
My girlfriend sat at the table, alone. A friend that had come with us was up there with me, with his jaw in a similarly disjointed position. I kept looking back at the table, and motioning for her to come up and join us. She didn’t. She told me that she wanted to make sure she kept our table in the crowded bar. Not long after that, she became my wife. Karen kept a lot of tables for me over the years, guarding cameras, changing lenses, and generally taking care of me. I think about it now and realize that Karen had barely turned twenty-one. She hadn’t been in bars much before, especially crowded Hollywood bars. Her best friend wasn’t old enough to get in, but had come with us and had gone someplace else to stay occupied. I couldn’t figure out why she bothered. Now I think she was there to look after Karen in the big city. When we got divorced, Karen told me how she really felt that night: abandoned. She felt like I had abruptly left her, and she was scared to death. I remember we didn’t stay until the end of the headliner, because it was really crowded and she seemed uncomfortable. Besides, I was well satisfied by my experience at that point, and it seemed only right to track down her friend and grab something to eat.
There are always two sides to every memory, and they aren’t always good. As long as life rushes by fast enough, you don’t notice. But in the quiet time, you can reflect on what an insensitive twit you once were. And face the fear that maybe you’ll never be able to change that part of you enough to really matter.
They tell me at school that my ability to focus on things so intensely is part of what makes me “a natural scholar”— but the more I think about it, the more I realize that this quality also makes me “a natural asshole.”