Wednesday, September 22, 2004

kiss the master's feet

Every now and again, I do that dumb thing where you go around looking up all your old loves on the Internet, see what they're up to. Usually when I have something else far more pressing that needs doing. Which is how I discovered tonight that BowlCut and his wife have a new baby girl, Maxine, and J (who I will not blackmail with the details of how we misused his degree advisor's office once upon a time when we were both young and strong) has moved on to yet another completely incomprehensible-to-me job.

I'm obscurely proud of J, even if I can't make heads or tails of what he's been doing with his life, or his blog. Maybe it makes sense to you; there's a short bit near the very end of that interview where he talks about the future of blogs that I did understand (there's also a link to a Clay Shirky piece on how blogs make the world one "vast and diffuse cocktail party" that's interesting, if a bit dated).

I'm also sort of relieved. Had we actually married--and we talked about it--I think it's a safe bet we'd be long divorced by now. At some point, either all this high-tech stuff he talks about so happily would have completely zombified my brain and I would have had a mindless affair with the pool boy (and I imagine there could be a pool boy; a mutual friend passed along word several years ago that J is doing quite well), or he would have realized that I'm really not quite as smart as all that, and left me for a Libertarian librarian. We saw each other once, five years after the breakup, when he was in town for a developer's conference and I was in art school; we barely spoke the same language anymore. We were polite, I made him watch me take an aikido class, we ate dinner, we told each other how good we looked, and that was that. I could not understand most of what he was telling me, and he didn't seem all that curious about issues in post-modern representation. I got home to Oakland and let out my breath. Dodged the bullet there, I told myself. I was footloose and fancy free, a part-time art student and a full-time computer graphics mouse jockey in the most wonderfullest city in America; I was racking up cats and terribly serious art projects and funny if dead-end sexual adventures. Compared to being married to a guy who talked about platform architecture all the time but wouldn't know Corbusier if Le Corb came up and bit him on the nose, I felt like I was doing okay.

It's so weird, though. J was the first man with whom I, you know, an event I still remember with immense happiness and gratitude thirteen years later. We had these astonishingly sticky pet names for each other, which are probably what J holds over my head. He was really into Meat Beat Manifesto and Consolidated (I still have a tape of this he made me, actually) and enthused about how the digital revolution was going to make everyone who wanted to be one into a musician. He was sweet and blond and earnest and made my mother nuts; he was the first guy I met after Fig who I really felt was crazy about me, and not just crazy.

I look at the photos of this smiling, balding guy and I wonder where the impetuous, let's-take-the-21A-bus-to-Minneapolis, buy-weed-and-make-out-on-the-bridge kid went. If we'd stuck it out, would he still be saying hey listen to this as he fit headphones pulsing with Skinny Puppy over my ears before pulling off my panties? Would we still be talking about Noam Chomsky and how to save the world?

That kid's gone. Which leads me to wonder if the same could be said of Indri-who-was.