I spent most of yesterday morning crying. And then, to be honest, I cried right on into the early afternoon. I tried to write an email to the man who is either leaving or staying in my life, saying that I was angry. Then I thought I should say that I was sad, which was less immediate, but also true. Then I tried to tell him why. Then I thought of all the things he would say back to what I was saying, so I progressed my argument to the next point. Then it was too complicated, so I clipped it down, hoping to bite. Then it was trite and too aggressive. By the time I shut my computer down the midday light was already fading, I was flirting with lateness for some random thing I had promised to do and I hadn’t even written anything worthy of saving for later review.
It was in that bedraggled state that I arrived at Too Much, the 10 hour marathon of queer performance, at which I had promised to spend a half hour reading into a microphone as a sound score for my friends’ installation.
I got there at 4:30, I was supposed to read at 5:30. An hour to mill around. I kept catching the ends of things that seemed like they had been cool. And then I wandered into the corner studio, where Phillip Huang was passing a pipe around a circle. He had an audience gathered, watching the people in the circle get high as a performance. Sativia, I think, though I don’t really know. I just know that I walked in right as he was asking if anyone else wanted to take a hit. “Me!” I said. What a surprise I gave myself with that. I hardly ever get high. I like sobriety, normally, and certainly can’t relate to any version of Emily that would just smoke whatever random thing was getting passed around. But suddenly there I was, in that circle, with my orange scarf wrapped around my head as a defense against the impulse I had had to caress Phillip’s ankles. I peeked out briefly, feeling like I should rejoin the room, and Keith was there, giggling on unstable legs, asking me if I was feeling the undersides of myself. Why was he trying to make me talk? I put the scarf back in place and cuddled up to the girl next to me.
Phillip released his circle just as it was time for me to go read for Hana and Kira. They were wearing underwear and zebra masks and dancing slowly in a room filled with balloons and party favors, but I only know that because I had been watching them before. When I staggered up this time, it was enough just to try to remember why I was there. I found the microphone, hid in a corner and started reading without even looking up to acknowledge what I had just walked into. I read from David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never do Again.
Now that I’ve reached this place in my story, though, I think I have to say that the only point of it is to talk about what a tremendous pleasure it is to get high and read David Foster Wallace’s words into a microphone. He never sounded so good to me, plus there was this way where I was getting to take credit for it. I felt lazily strong, letting David dance me from petty, catty ship gossip to ruminations on nautical suicides and back again. If I can’t be that smart, I’m so glad, at least, that I’m smart enough to enjoy someone who was.