Sunday, January 31, 2010

As the bus turns...

I'm travelling on my own, on a self-initiated psychological intervention, just lollying around the pointy, aesthetically conscious world of the French, eating chocolate and bread and butter every hour of the day. It's great. I see something that interests me, and I walk there. I totally don't care if I speak French like a four year old, or if I am late to a movie, or if I skip a meal and have a kinder bueno instead.

Basically travelling alone is the best thing ever. Grave. [eg, "seriously" in French slang :P]

Having said this, I will admit that I am head-over-heels in love with the human race. (Admittedly epic statement, but life is better with a little descriptive latitude. Get ready for a stream of consiousness/lovefest:)

I love people! I can't get enough of them. Even if they are evil, or frighten me, or elude me, or love me, hate me, ignore me, bore me...They endlessly fascinate me, and I could watch them or talk to them or just listen to them all day. I love seeing them, watching them. Talking to them, listening to them.

Loving or hating them. Or feeling indifferent but just being near them. Lingering even if it might have been better, proper, expected to leave sooner*.

Or even touching them. I like it when the bus turns and somebody leans back onto you, or when there is a fat person next to you on the subway and your bodies press together a little bit. I experience such delight in these utterly unexpected, perfectly accidental intimacies with other human beings, however fleeting.

As a minor aside, one of the best parts about having a higher level of comprehension in French than speaking is that I can just listen for a long time and people don't really expect you to contribute a whole lot to the conversation. And this is great because once people get talking, and aren' t wholly sure to what extent you understand them, they start saying all sorts of amazing things. Or maybe people trust these big brown eyes...who knows.

Festivals tend to come with a lot of people. And so I must say that the comics festival in France was lovely for the most part because of the people I met (and because of the fucking amazing artwork. I know it's kind of off topic a little bit, but it's my blog and I can write badly if I want to! Soooo I went into a minor art-induced coma the first day--an art-attack, as I will say--and then, with a few ups and downs I slowly regained some level of functionality, though I was numb to things like rapid cash burning syndrome. Boy; some stuff blew my mind, but mainly the scope and range was what overwhelmed me. All that said I wanted to eat ten copies of certain comics; I have an utterly carnal reaction to art I like if you didn't already know.)(yes, yes, and yes!)

But the people I met, well, they were great. I can't say I liked everyone I met, but I liked meeting everyone. And when there are a lot of people imported into a very small town, with small exhibition spaces and small bars, you achieve what is at times a surreal level of intimacy with perfect strangers. You brush up against people, talk to them for a few minutes or for several hours...And then you're left with this pocket full of interactions, which you can take out and toss around a couple times when you think to. Or others, which you will certainly forget, but regardless still happened. Little crumbly bits of truth and goodness. It happens all the time, but the festival was a little more of course, because all these little, new, unexpected interactions were packed into four days.

La, la lovely.

*Yep, sorry I totally lack the sense of the right time to go. Noticing it more and more but not sure whether I should start trying to care/notice sooner. I hate goodbyes and I never want to go usually. Sometimes, after the fact, I think hm maybe I should have not stayed to watch that movie all the way through, left with the others, gone home at a reasonable hour. That feeling never comes before, to any number of ends. But somehow I edge on by without any major social offenses.

And because I'm predicting some questions in advance, in the same vein:

I did touch Crumb on the shoulder when he passed me on the stairs (nobody knew it was him except for me, and his wife who was behind him). We didn't talk but then the moment wasn't right. Nonetheless, electric.


Elizabeth said...

Glad you've had a good time away and are back in love with the human race (though possibly a couple days back at work will dampen that!).

And I'm glad that all you touched was his shoulder....

Call when you get back! Minor gossip.

Chris said...

hey are you alive? I thought you were supposed to be back a few days ago. I want to tell you about my installation! Did you meet him yet? Im so glad you are having an amazing time. And I disagree with Elizabeth... you should at least shake his hand and introduce yourself! you will never forget it, and who knows when you'll have another opportunity.

Thiago said...

Since when do you like touching people? Who wrote this?

And the shoulder touch is not bad; it's like 2nd base for a Victorian.