I guess that's how I got my reputation at the Spectator- they all thought I was nuts, but stayed out of my way and let me do what I wanted. I had already done a bunch of investigative stories, most of which involved security, and developed a lot of respect at the paper. It was very therapeutic escaping my head every week on a new investigative news story; it was a chance to focus my innate need for truth on the "Story" instead of my more confusing life. It was a chance to continue my obsessive search for truth for once without having to think about Rabbi X or my father. . . . [Ultimately I would find out that in order to become a true Jedi I would have to conduct this search for truth on the only battlefield which really counts- my real life. And to become a Full Jedi I would have to face Vader.] [As I typed this line I pounded the keys with a spiritual intensity (hey- its the summer of '95) and let out a mighty KIUP. This is war going on. A war for truth. I am writing from my bunker in Jerusalem. (irony- funded, like my computer, by the Emperor. I should record a KIUP and put the audio into this project. . . ] GOD IS GREAT!
But I was getting frustrated- they kept on changing my stories, something I took personally. And I became disillusioned with the paper's obvious priority on getting a paper out regardless of quality. Journalism isn't a search for truth- its a business, like any other. Just another shadow. And it was no place for a guy on a vision quest. I had been getting stressed, and I hinted I was going to quit. They appointed me one of the summer editors-obviously a tactic to bait me to stay. They were going to pay me $800. I said fine, knowing that I would quit the next semester. My time energy must be used for more important things than combating the lies in the Columbia Security Department. I have seen many lies far bigger. . .
The next day, I took the 1 train down to 42nd st., transferred to the shuttle, and took the east side 6 train down to the Carlton Arms Motel. I bought a rose and when I saw Sarah hoped that she would realize how I felt about her- that she was the only thing I've been thinking about since I met her, and that this rose was not just a cheap cliché. I spent the night with her, but mostly cuddled. It was beautiful. I was beginning to feel strongly about this catwoman and wanted our relationship to be more than sexual. And besides, I was on Prozac, a New-York-Jew-pill cutting my libido in half. One weakness I have, if you haven't yet noticed is that I, well yeah I'll admit it- I talk a lot. Apparently by 3 in the morning Sarah didn't appreciate this, and told me to shut the heck up. I was hurt. I was a little boy who just wanted a friend to talk to. I think she was mad that I didn't want to have sex with her. She certainly had a way with words. She could turn them into whips. It hurt, but the scary thing is that I was always setting myself up for more- as if I was enjoying it. Am I a masochist?
[Friday- went back uptown, worked on my news story, met with James lynch]
Saturday, I slept late. Real late. Woke up at 5:30, I think. I had a problem with my sleeping habits, what with sleeping all day constantly, barely able to finish all my responsibilities. hanging out with a stripper who works until 4 in the morning and never wakes up before 3, certainly wasn't helping my inability to conform to the 9 to 5 mentality. So I went down to Runway 69 (fortunately its pretty hard to be late to a strip bar). I hung out there until closing, and went with Sarah and four of her stripper friends to Mcdonalds.
"This is my friend, Dylan," said Sarah with her British cordiality. "Hi, "I said to the four strippers sheepishly.
They ordered Big Macs. I said I wasn't hungry, and just made myself comfortable on the bright purple Mcdonalds issue plastic bench. It was 4 in the morning, and the place was almost empty; even the view of Times Square outside was pretty quite except for a handful of homeless men running around. I noticed a homeless man sitting around five feet behind us. As Sarah joined their conversation about the manager of their club, I entertained myself like a little kid by playing with her black purse. It had gold trimmings, and was very full- she had made $800 dollars that night. Just for spreading her legs for some lonely Wall Street guys wearing business suits and fake smiles.
*****(there's that $800 number again (Park, camera, Michael))speaking of parallels- Samantha/may // Sarah/Malissa
They started talking about when they lost their virginity. The one with the red hair and fake tits said she was thirteen. She was going into some very explicit details when I noticed the homeless man behind us with his ears perked while pretending to read a newspaper. I laughed to myself. But when Sarah asked them if they ever had sex with a virgin, I froze. The chubby Hispanic one with the annoying voice said she had. She said it was sweet, but the guy didn't come.[(That's funny- I didn't either when I slept with Sarah. Must have been a sign from God. One level- it was the Prozac. On a deeper level- it was the fact that I wasn't anywhere near harmony, so I wasn't about to have an orgasm- too much spiritual tension.)
"I have a theory that if you sleep with a virgin, he'll decide that he has to experience the world and sleep with the next ten girls he sees," said Sarah looking at me with a grin. By now I was practically hiding under the table in embarrassment. It was obvious to me that she was teasing me, and I only hoped that she hadn't told her friends that I was a virgin.
The red head with the tits excused herself and said she has to go to the bathroom. "Joanne's a lesbian, " Sarah muttered to me under her breath. "She comes on to me. I can't stand it- I think she is repulsive. . . she scares me."
Winchel messed up the moment he assumed I was anything close to "simple."
I had told Sarah about all the drugs, and she knocked some sense into me, explaining that Trent was also on Prozac, but it didn't help him. Drugs, she said were useless. "Believe me," she said, "I've tried all of them."
The four strippers and I left Mcdonalds. We crossed the street and a couple of drunk guys on the corner started whistling. "Shut the heck up," shouted Joanne with her harsh Brooklyn accent. I think they were intimidated by the butch stripper. Sarah said we would meet them at the Sound Factory, a hard core club that stays open 12 p.m. and is frequented by the most devoted club people of New York.
"Here hold these," said Sarah, shoving her two handbags into my arms, as she hailed a cab.
"That wasn't very nice making fun of me, in there," I said on the way to the club. [Although I seem to be a magnet for it, I don't enjoy taking people's shit. Even if it is somebody that I happen to be obsessed over.]
"Oh get over it," she said. So much for that.
As if to shut me up, she took out her $800 [There that number is again.] worth of tips from her bag and said, "Here, put this in your pockets, I don't have any." Underneath her leopard skin coat all she was wearing was a black bikini top, and a tight black leather mini skirt, and black combat boots. Her outfit was not designed with pockets in mind. So I stuffed the 20's and hundred's into my pockets. I was actually pleased she trusted me. [In retrospect maybe the best thing I probably could have done was taken off right then with the money. Just kiddin : )
In the club, I paid for us with Sarah's money, and followed her as she walked into the club like she owned it. "Well aren't you going to tip him," she said at the coat check, and looked at me harshly until I gave the guy a 20.
"A friend of mine should be here. Michael. He's adorable- and only wears combat boots and Calvin Kleins. He's going to molest me, and I'm going to thoroughly enjoy it." she said.
Deep house music was pounding from the speakers all over the huge club. The place was like four times as big as the limelight, and even though it was 5 in the morning the place was overflowing with energy. I followed Sarah as she headed for the large stage at the front of the club where drag queens and sweat soaked dancers were exhibiting their best moves. And sure enough Michael was there. He was a big topless muscular guy with a hairy chest. Sarah gave him a big hug. I squirmed, and wished I was home in bed under my down comforter away from all this. But the music was good, and I was too tired to do anything except get comfortable sitting on the floor as they danced like they were in a porn movie. Sarah came back, and kissed me on the cheek as if to try to cheer me up. "Give me forty dollars, Michael is going to get us some ecstasy," she shouted in my ear over the music. Ecstasy is a hard-core party drug that puts you in a deep trance. . . makes you very messed up. . . . and, supposedly, very, very, horny. On X, as she calls it, Sarah said you can get off just by touching your own leg. So I pulled out two of her twenties, and half an hour later was tripping on some weird shit. Looking back, I realize it was pretty stupid [Winchel said X can increase mania and is the absolute worst drug I could possibly have tried.] But I had completely lost all self control with this Isis/catwoman. It was like she replaced all whatever rational thought processes I have (although I never was too rational even without Sarah) with pure self destruction. I hope the Prozac wasn't contributing to my self destructiveness. I'm messed up enough naturally, without any chemical influences. But here I am- a 19 year old virgin, completely drugged with Prozac, Kolonopin, and Buspar, and Ecstasy, with this catwoman from hell who already has two men madly in love with her, not to mention this Michael body builder half naked dude. . . but she says she is attracted to me because I am neurotic and realize it. . . like Woody Allan, she says. . . . Yeah her way with words, I guess. . . . Why is the floor moving?? . . . . Oh that feels good, . . . oh that's my own hand down there. . . I am fuuucked uuuup. . . . . Heyyy Sarah,. . . .I missed you. . . .
We took a taxi back to her motel. I lost my virginity. To Isis? Who is writing the script for my life anyway? But I was way too stoned to self reflect that night. That is probably the only reason why I got laid. And why I never got laid before. As Sarah wisely told me, I "think too frieking much." I think all the time because of my natural overdose of humanity, as I like to call my messed up head. But the drugs were shutting my brain down like a flood short circuiting complex circuitry in a basement. Suddenly I was less self reflective- less human.
But it didn't feel right. Something was missing. I didn't feel like I was in an ocean, swimming becoming one with somebody. I was just having sex with her. That's it. [I was still stuck in my head and that's why it wasn't love, it was just obsession. The only reason I could even relax enough to get it up was because I was drugged out of my mind. Sarah was no Ethiopian Woman.]
I hate to get philosophical while writing about something like this but the truth is I think this is a beautiful paradox. I had to become less human to become in touch with my sexuality, but sexuality, as Plato write in his Symposium, is a direct means for spirituality (See my essay "Paul and Plato on Sexuality"). Humans, as Heideger, (at least I think that was the book my dad, the intellectual philosophy professor, shoved in my face) are a synthesis of the infinite and the finite. A soul and a body. I believe, however, that the soul, a product of our double mirrored minds, only arises from perception of the physical- from sensual experience. Sex is the ultimate sensual experience. I am not surprised that people have referred to it as "making love." (wisdom often gets capsulated in the phrases of the masses, or today, Hollywood movies.) Love, a spiritual notion, as Plato writes, and I explain, comes easily from good sex.
Now, I was no longer talking about sex theoretically, but with god's help, through experience. Indeed this is where knowledge comes from.
The next day I fled uptown before Sarah woke up. It was a bad move. Real bad. But it was 2 in the afternoon and I had a responsibility to finish my news story. When I was the photographer covering Dan Rather's speech at the Columbia School of Journalism earlier in the year I listened to him skeptically when he warned prospective journalists that journalism would require sacrifices in their personal life, including relationships. I now know he was right.
But I think part of it was also that I didn't know how to deal with waking up next to the woman I had lost my virginity to. So I took off. I guess I have a good/bad habit of just taking off when I don't like the situation I happen to be in.
I tried calling Sarah once I got back, but I couldn't reach her until Tuesday. I felt horrible. When I finally did reach her, she told me she slept with Rolie, the wealthy Swiss Business man, Sunday night. The night after I had lost my virginity, my new love informs me that she just had sex with a guy named Rolie. My life really sucks sometimes.
But I've wasted more than enough time in my life with self pity, and realized I had other responsibilities. So I finished writing my news story on the intruder. As I read it over, I realized that in my phone interview with Renato Vesga, the alleged intruder, I did not ask any of the questions that arose after my interview with Lynch. So I called up Vesga at home (it was already 7 p.m. and my deadline was in half an hour) and invited Vesga to the Spectator Office. I walked out into the news room, and announced that "the intruder" would be here any minute. Inviting anybody to the Spectator office for an interview was unheard of, let alone alleged intruders accused of molesting columbia students. I laughed to myself as I watched Ariana, and Eileen, our feature writer, run to the layout room in the back for cover. They were shitting in their pants. And they want to be reporters? I enjoyed the interview- Vesga proved to be rather charming and friendly for an alleged intruder facing a potential ten year prison term. As he was leaving I told him to say "Boo" to my short Asian news editor as he left the office. We laughed. You gotta have a sense of humor no matter what.
I was up all night in the news room. . . and then the editing room with the expensive computers, and then the layout room, to help paste the laser printed stories, photos, and advertisements onto layout paper. . . and then waiting for Recardo the delivery guy to show up. I don't know why I was happy to be promoted to Associate Editor- this shit sucks- I just want to write. And continue pissin off people like Lemonis, the Episcoplian Church's public relations officer. My story exposing the church's firring of Reverend Starr got her fired. Each one of my stories was a mini search for truth, and a beautiful experience by themselves. Tiny worlds which were completely independent of the rest of the chaos around me. But layout is no fun for a guy with a Jesus Complex.
I woke up late the next day (gee, that's unusual) and walked down the street to the supermarket. Its that whole Generation X thing. Dad gives me his Visa gold card, and a set amount of spending cash. I can use the card for books, airports (if I'm flying home, that is), and emergencies, oh yeah, and supermarkets. If a go to a restaurant and pay cash, it comes out of my pocket. But if I go to the supermarket and pile up three bags of food, I have my friendly Fidelity Investments Visa Card. So spending money was not based on logic- a whole new set of rules comes from the wierd situation. Spending more money for something which I can use a Visa card for instead of cash actullay made sense. Needless to say I pigged out that night. I had a transcendental steak, which I cooked in the hall's kitchen, carefully following the instructions of the friendly old Spanish lady that I met in the supermarket, eager to disclose her cooking secrets. She even handed me a bottle of seasoning from her cart- it was a Spanish brand and I couldn't even read the label.
After my dinner I went back to my room. The red message light on my computer phone (supplied by Columbia- I guess they figure if you pay $25,000 tuition for one year you deserve a nice ROLM digital phone in your room) was blinking. It was Sara.
"You have one new message," the phone mail lady announced. "Hi Dylan, its Sarah," she was using her trademark seductive cat voice. "How are you?. . . Sorry I haven't been able to call you. . . I will be at work all night. . . God Bless!" She always ends off with "God Bless," in her crisp Brittish accent. I loved it- a woman who can walk down the street with a skin tight black mini dress and fake leopard coat, and shout God Bless without losing a beat. Like is actually too weak of a word. I was obsessed with her. To the point where all my normal obsessions were completely drowned out. I was feeling almost sane. Except for one minor detail- I knew I was in fact using this woman for self destruction. I was still no where sanity, and probably in a worse mental state than ever before.
I put on my Nine Inch Nails album, Pretty Hate Machine, and looked over the cover on the cover on the case. I wondered if it is named after Sarah. "Pretty Hate Machine" sums her up well. I like the title of the band better- the nails used to crucify Jesus, supposedly, were nine inches long. This guy thinks he's the anti-Christ, hence, NIN. Sarah was with Trent Reznor for four years?! The guy is the creator of this hard-core industrial music which I first got into after hearing it played at the Limelight. In fact he is single handedlu responsible for bringing humanized digital music to mainstream America. Obviosuly an important figure in the spiritual revolution, only a dark Jedi. And somehow his muse was now leaving messages on my phone mail. I listened to the lyrics, and felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end:
if I was twice the man I could be I'd still be half of what you need. still you lead me and I follow. anything you ask you know I'll do. . . you just leave me nailed here. hangin like Jesus on this cross. I'll be dying for your sins and aiding to the cause.
Wow Trent has a Jesus complex too. He doesn't sound that different from me. Probably even more insane. And more masochistic. At least Sarah picks her guys consistently. Except I'm no rock star. She obviously messed him up. Trent Reznor, a super hard core rock musician. Just think what she could do to me. I decided to tell her tonight that I felt very vulnerable; that she could say and do things to me that would leave depressed for months.
The rational voice lost somewhere in my cloudy mind was telling me not to even speak to Sarah again. The last time I saw her she was frustrated and annoyed with me. I know I'm disappointed with her. The truth is I have already known her for almost a week. I never have been good with extended relationships. I mean, I already feel like I've known her for a year- I basically spent the entire last week with her- and four nights. . . .
Nevertheless, I was soon on the 1 train down to midtown to see this woman of destruction. It was by now obvious that my will power was no longer even slightly alive. Sarah was biting me like a mad cat, and I wasn't trying to shake her off. Her telling me about frieking Rolie still stung pretty bad. And here I was going back to Runway 69 to drool over my maiden of misery and flatter her some more.
Back in the strip club, I noticed that the nude strippers parading around the place did not make me horny in the slightest.
Now I was beginning to understand why the bouncers in the place were always looking at the floor; no woman is beautiful enough to stare at forever. (Except, of course, The Ethiopian Woman). Transcendental love, I suspect, requires more than staring at a pair of tits for a couple of hours.
"You want a table dance, baby?" said a dancer as she bent down to show off her cleavage, inches from my face. "I know what you need," she said, and stuck her tongue in my ear. She's right, but not from her.
"No thanks," I said. She walked away with a "humff."
I got bored waiting in the topless club, so I left and walked down Broadway. A sign boasted of the powers of a physic palm reader. I said what the heck and went in. The psychic said that the woman I love is seeing another man. And that my life is in confusion because a man and a woman down south are jealous of me and do not want to see me succeed. I don't know what the hell she was talking about, I thought, and returned to Runway 69.
The place was almost empty, so they closed down at 3:00. I waited outside for Sarah.
"How's it going?" I said when she came out in her leopard skin coat.
"I'm fine, how are you," she answered with fake British politeness. She walked past me and whistled hard, hailing a cab. She got in, looked at me standing on the sidewalk like an idiot, and said, "Well, are you coming in our not?"
I got in. She suggested we get some coffee and have a talk. Good idea, I said. It began to rain. Hard. She paid the driver, and we ran into the coffee shop. It was 4 in the morning on a Monday night, so I guess I wasn't surprised that place was empty. By the time I started telling her what was on my mind, the look she was giving me was harsher than the weather outside.
"How can you put all that responsibility on me?" She asked in frustration, after I told her that I was worried about her hurting me, and that I felt too vulnerable.
But I really was scared that she would hurt me. I didn't think I was wrong for telling that to her- I mean I am just being honest- telling her what's on my mind. Honesty and trust is the basis of any relationship- isn't it?
"Listen I'm just trying to be honest with you. And that's all I expect in return- that you be honest with me. Other than that I don't care what you do. You can sleep with whoever you want for all I care. I just want you to tell me about it. That's why I happy you told me about Rolie."
By now Sarah had tears in her eyes. I was shocked. Until now, I had only seen her rough and dominating side. She began to tell me about her tragic life. How her father slept with her until she was fourteen, how she left home at that age and had to learn to survive as a young girl.
"It's not easy to survive in this world. Especially as a woman, trying to pay my way through school. Trent was paying for me full tuition. But when I left him, I was on my own. And people look down on me because I dance. But I have standards too. I swore to myself that I would never have sex for money or let the customers touch me. I've been through a lot of shit. Do you have any idea what's its like being raped by your own father? He threatened to kill my bunny if I told anybody. And then he killed him anyway, fed him to his German Shepherd," She said, now no longer even trying to hold back her tears.
"I'm really sorry," I said, wanting to comfort her, but not knowing anything less lame to say. "I've been through my share of shit too. Life can really suck sometimes."
"I've learnt a long time ago that all I have to do is remove my mind from my body, and I don't actually get hurt. I can disappear at any time," she said.
At that moment I desperately wanted to help her. She was obviously at least as depressed as I was, and I wanted to help her in any way I could. I sensed that underneath the cold shell of Tabitha the stripper, the sado-masochism, and the intimidating spiked heals and leopard coat was a genuinely beautiful heart that was crying for some love. Not the hardcore sex that is written all over her face, demeanor, and clothes, but true tender love. We were obviously both messed up, but I have maintained my sanity by focusing on what I believe in. I still have faith in people because I have faith in God. I wanted to help Sarah not try to disappear from the world. It seemed like she was saying that people are evil so if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I had to convince Sarah not to give to this deadness. We can't give in to the Dark Side. I wanted my good to overcome any evil that has invaded the once pure and innocent Sarah and her the white bunny.
But how do I accomplish this with a woman who's only language of affection is wild sex? We went back to my dorm at Columbia. I live in a suite on the twentieth floor of my building with four suitmates, but they were all gone already for the summer. It was now completely empty except for me and my friend in the high heels.
Sarah said she wanted to take a bath by herself a bath and relax. "feel at home," I said, and got ready for bed, comfortable with the assumption that I would sleep alone. Maybe I can help Sarah by just being her friend, I thought.
But then, half an hour later, the door of my room opened. Sarah walked in wearing green longirei. I thought I was dreaming, and felt a massive rush of excitement. Isn't this what I've been dreaming about for an entire year of masturbation? A stripper suddenly popping into my room as a lay in bed. But part of me intuitively felt an equally massive sense of dread.
She smiled seductively, and slowly lay down next to me. She asked me to give her a massage. We soon were making love passionately. Then She whispered into my ear that her fantasy has always been to have sex with a guy without a condom. Like a fool, I complied willingly.
We didn't get out of bed until five p.m. Sara took another bath. I sat on the bathroom floor, and we talked. I mentioned that I added to the story I was writing about me and her ( I had shown her the first part a few days before, the first time she came up to Columbia). Words don't always exactly come out the way I mean. Maybe its part of my insanity. What I meant was I wanted to write some more about her, and I just haven't gotten my thoughts on the computer screen yet.
"Let me see it," she said. I still don't know why I didn't just explain to her what I meant. "No," I said instead, the word sounding strange to me as I heard it leave my mouth. I could tell she was insulted. She put on a seductive smile, got up out of bed, and wrapped her arms around me. It was useless- I had nothing to show her, so I could only say when it was finished I'd show it to her. She was obviously hurt. Like I made her sexual power over me seem impotent or something. It must have been her masculine side showing up again. Just like in bed, where after orgasm she rolls away and refuses to cuddle or be touched. Hell of a way to lose my virginity. But then again, most of my life has been rather hardcore.
But as much as she thought I was hiding something, I had nothing to show her. I had dug myself into a hole, and couldn't get out. I think almost putting myself in these bad situations. Passive masochism at its worst. Because through hurting myself I might have been hurting Sarah too.
"I just don't feel as comfortable with you as I do with Rolie. Rolie understands me. You put too much responsibility on me. . . . I don't think you trust me."
She got dressed and asked me if she could use my phone. She called Rolie. I opened the refrigerator and made a cheese sandwich. I was depressed. What do I do now I wondered. When I'm depressed I usually get more creative- I realized that after noticing a term paper lying around on the floor in my suite entitled "creativity and depression." Who knows how much I haven't discovered about myself because I haven't had the good fortune of stumbling into something else like that by accident.
So I got my camera from downstairs in my room and began photographing her. I think she liked it- must have made her feel beautiful. I told her to put on her leopard coat. Other than her green panties and high heels, she was nude. I knelt on the stairs near the bathroom, as she stood above me, holding her leg menacingly above my face. I shot her with a wide angle lens, making her seem twice her actual height. I focused on the shoe which seemed about to be hanging above me, threatening to come crashing down on my face. I think it captured our relationship pretty well.
I took two rolls of film, and then she said she had to go. I was wearing my black Sisyphus T-shirt, shorts, and slippers, but walked her to the elevator. . . . and outside to Amsterdam Avenue, and to the taxi. She got in. I looked at her like a lost puppy. "God bless," she said, and slammed the door in my face.
I had seen a glimpse of heaven (or was it hell?) and was dumped on the corner of Amsterdam Ave. and 115th right across the street from the Spectator office. And shit, It's 7:30- I have a news meeting.
The news meeting was for the new summer board. Somehow I had ended up an associate editor. They liked my security stories I guess. I had a reputation there as being a star investigative reporter, and a pain in the ass. They say I am hard to work with, and I am still surprised I got the summer job. Normally at Spectator the writers that thrive are the brainless kiss up types who don't mind putting up with all the bullshit from the editors, constantly preaching "Spectator style." The paper is 118 years old, so we can't break the tradition. Frieking idiots. If the tradition sucks you dump it. Period. Hell Rabbinic Judaism is 2,000 years old, but that isn't stopping me any. If Ruth Halikam, the hot shot editor in chief, had an ounce of life experience outside the pathetic fantasy of the Spectator office, she would wake up and smell the bullshit.
But heck- At least we're getting paid. Yeah it's only $80 a week, but the paper just comes out once a week in the summer. I could ramble about Spectator for a while, but during the news meeting the paper's problems were the last thing on my mind. It's sort of ironic- have a horrendous attention span, but when it comes to my obsessions, I have no problem focusing. . . I was still obsessing over my latest crisis. Taxi door slammed in my face. Heck.
After I finished the little meeting with Rolando, the editor, Samantha, the lousy but pretty cheespuff reporter from Barnard, and Monica, her personality twin, I said "see ya" and headed back to my room by myself. After obsessing over my misfortune for the entire walk through campus and back to my dormitory, my self reflection had reached fifth gear. By 9:00, I was ready to call home. I spoke to my father. Although I normally don't talk to my father about women,(The Laci virus is still alive), I had been more open with him recently. [maybe because I was so messed up then- Dr. Winchel was trying to kill a spiritual disease with Prozac and this Sarah woman was single handily messing up my mind even worse than he was.]
"The last thing you need in your life is a bitch," my dad said, displaying a wisdom I can't imagine he developed from his philosophy books.
Talking to my dad was good- my relationship with him had been improving rapidly for the entire year that I was at Columbia, and it was gratifying. I was finding that I have more and more in common with him that I thought. I am thinking about the same philosophical questions, attending the school he would have like to go to (he got accepted to Columbia, but Laci would not let him come because, "New York City is no place for a nice Jewish boy"), love the ocean, and am becoming a writer, just to name a few. Perhaps more bonding than these superficial details is our realization that our minds and souls are not that different. We both are on a spiritual quest and are suffering frustration that manifests in our personalities. Flaws that would prevent us from fulfilling our mission. And winning the internal battles against our selves. But I am determined to keep on fighting. He seems to be one of the few people to understand my struggle. A conversation from a while before when I was particularly depressed stays in my mind.
"I just want you to know, I love you, Dylan. And I want you to know I admire you, and am proud of you. You put up with all kinds of problems. You are a strong kid." he said. I suppose I should have been happy, but my depression seemed to make that impossible. The last time I was happy, I think, was swimming in the waves off Tel Aviv.
After the phone conversation with my father, the only man that I can one day be sure is Darth Vader, and the next swear my love to him, my self reflection was reaching a climax. A thousand images from my last six years went racing through my head. Rabbi X, Tae Kwon Do, my father, the Mediterranean Sea, the old city in Jerusalem, the Israeli Army, Sarah. . . . My head felt like it was about to explode. So I turned on my computer and began to write my life story. Or at least the last six years. I am still working on it now. And finding that my typing is too slow to catch up to the present. Damn I better start typing faster- its now July 14th. And I am only up to two months ago. Why can't life wait a minute until I catch up?
Some people live. I self reflect. I go home and write about my life. Or think about it. But that is what makes us human. . . .
So here I am, listening to Nine Inch Nails. The Pretty Hate Machine Album. Again. Fittingly. "I just want something I can never have," Trent Reznor sang. He should have said, hey Dylan join the club, Sarah dumped me the same way. "What I used to think was me is just a fading memory. . . I used to be somebody I used to have something inside. Now just this hole that's open wide." Damn. He sounds almost as bad as me. He really needs to get his ass to Jerusalem.
That night before I started writing my yeshiva stories, I wrote:
"My life puts me through some crazy shit but this is ridiculous. I mean losing my virginity to a stripper, and the next day listening to her tell me that she might marry a sixty year old Swiss guy who is in love with her?!I mean what is going on in my life? Parallel- last day with Jasmin also photographed her
and having unprotected sex?!I didn't come but still
What the heck! HELP! I just called extension 49999-nightline- peer canceling.
"This is nightline. We are closed for the summer," the massage announced. Press one if you would like to leave a message, press two, if you would like to be transferred to an operator." I hung up the phone in frustration.
-Called Jasmin- got me worried about venereal diseases
-IRC- told everybody about Sarah
-Meanwhile its 1:00 in the morning on Tuesday, and I haven't started packing even though I have to move all my stuff out by tomorrow. Shit.
-Malissa./ paralleled with May Sarah/ Samantha
Weekend with Sarah "I'M BACK":
Sarah's Voice Mail Music by Dylan Tauber:
2:00 P.M. Saturday. Time for more self reflection. Isis is still in bed
I Turned to my right, looked at Isis goddess of cats and sex, realized that I hadn't been dreaming, and cracked up laughing. Here I was, once again, with the woman who messed up hardcore rock musicians. And I thought it was funny. I laughed as I reflected on how my life was repeating yet once again. Two days ago I was watching T.V. and saw the breaking news report of a lost cat named Tabitha. I thought of my lost cat, Tabitha, Sarah's stage name . . . and gave my obsession personified a call. I was surprised that I actually reached her- all I had was frustration after trying to reach her for the couple of weeks since I got her message. So now I have more to write about in my life story that doesn't seem to want to pause. Sisyphus had nothing compared to the shit that happens in my life. It seems to be more of a movie script than anything else. The strange thing is that yesterday was so surreal, even for me, that I was sure it was a dream. Food fight in Tom's Restaurant, diplomacy at Kinko's copies, the Star Wars Trilogy with Lea and Princess Sarah, IRC, the transcendental photo shoot, wondering with Sarah how we would set up a menage et trois with Chewbaka??
I am still trying to figure out how by the end of the day we transcended to talking about wookies. But I have this memory of starting the day at 4 in the afternoon, going to Tom's Diner, and ordering French toast. I didn't finish my breakfast- I was too busy with the more urgent business of explaining to Sarah my theory of the New vs. Old Jew. She told me about her house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where all the Hasidim live. I am sure Isis fits right in that neighborhood. In fact, she seems to be pretty popular there; Hasidim often walk up to her and discreetly hand her their business cards, hoping to get laid. In a brainstorm, it hit me that my photo project comparing New York Jews and Israelis would be nicely complemented by a shot of Sarah walking naked passed a Synagogue in Williamsburg. When we somehow ended up throwing french fries at eachother, we knew it was time to go.
We still had to print her resume, so we went to Kinko's copies, where Sarah wanted to print out her resume, which was even longer than the dancer's plastic cock at that club we had been too last time we were together. But that was a month ago, and things had changed. Plastic cocks had been replaced by resumes, with claims like "proficient Macintosh Computer operator." The irony, is that it took us half an hour to print the damn thing. What with Isis's supposed computer expertise and all, I have to admit I was amused. The entertainment began when she began to lose her patience. She was soon balling out the two nearest employees, and it seemed like they were ready to start crying. One was a big body builder type- with tears in his eyes. Sarah has a way with words. But I bet the guy had a hard on.
I[ BEGIN TO READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH TO ISIS. SHE TELLS ME TO SHUT UP. "JUST WRITE IT THEN I'LL READ IT," HER WORSHIP TELLS ME. ]
I paid for the two laser printouts with my good old Fidelity Trust Gold Visa card, courtesy of Dad. "Darth Vader is here in spirit," I said, even though it's been a month since I was sure that my dad was the master of the dark side of the force. Like nearly everything in my life, things change quickly, and now three days don't go buy without a phone conversation with my father telling me how much he loves me. But why is he trying so hard to convince me? Guilty conscious or something? We left the store, and as I rambled to Sarah about my changing relationship with Darth Vader/Mr. Cleaver, we decided, appropriately to rent Star Wars. . . . the entire trilogy.
First we went back to my room, and Sarah said she was going to take a shower. I went to get the movies. When I got back, Sarah had made a new friend. Lea, the nieve and innocent girl from Italy who I had been flirting with was sitting on my bed with the Sarah, the woman who is preparing to buy a rubber bondage dress. It was funny as shit. Talk about interesting juxtaposition. I could not have picked a more ironic plot if I was writing fiction.
The Star Wars movies, as I knew, gave my mind instant images of my own internal battles against evil, against myself, and against the dark side of the force. The evil emperor was my grandfather I announced. I freaked Lea out, I think. Sort of like when I informed her I think I'm Jesus.
By the time Empire Strikes Back was over, Sarah was touching Leah's leg and telling her all about the affects of heroin on the brain. And hear I was sitting on my bed eating popcorn in between these two women- Sarah with her legs spread, and small white shorts barely covering her, and Leah, wide eyed and obviously frieked out. These people in the U.S. are pretty strange, she must have been thinking. I was just thinking about how much this was like Bitter Moon. Sarah was coming on to this girl to play some kind of mind game with me. . . this is nuts!
Sarah suggested we get something to eat.
"Come along!" Sarah said to Lea with a phony polite smile.
"No thanks, I think I'll go to sleep," said Leah.
"God Bless," said Sarah as she gave my floormate a kiss on the cheek.
By three in the morning I was back in my dorm room with Isis. For some reason I still can't figure out, I decided to turn on my computer and her to IRC. I guess it was a way to escape the reality of having a woman in my room who both scared me and turned me on. Or else it was because I had just written a feature about Sex on the internet for the Spectator, and I had a feeling she would fit right in on #sex (or anywhere else sex was the name of the game). Within minutes she was talking to some guy calling himself Cloker who said he knew her from the record company (TVT records. She got a job there because of her connection with Trent Reznor). Reading their conversation, I was inspired by the idea of this anonymous unbiased communication, and grabbed the keyboard to introduce myself as Jesus with a burst f manic energy. Surprisingly, Cloaker seemed to be not so interested with my vision quest, and just wanted to talk to "his woman," Tabitha (Sarah). I decided to give the keyboard back to her. Actually it was more like a realization that based on the look she was giving me, if I didn't my testicles would be history. But I got bored a little bit later (I never said I have a long attention span) and tried to save their conversation, which I thought I could use for my life story. Instead I got disconnected. My testicles felt a lot safer when I got back to Clocker a few minutes later.
Somehow I knew I better stay away from the computer- Sarah was getting pissed. (I "have no etiquette," she said.) and I knew better than to mess with her. I may be a masochist, but I am not that stupid.
So I whipped out my camera and my tripod, and began photographing the goddess of cats. I set up my studio light and she looked heavenly. [But then again my Double Mirrors make a lot of things I see seam heavenly. . . .] As I photographed her I felt an intense rush. I was completely mesmerized and inspired by the muse sitting at my computer talking to that horny Cloaker guy. I felt each time I pressed the shutter button that I had captured true beauty on my Fuji Color HG film.
"Your having sex with me with your camera," Sarah said.
Maybe Isis should add goddess of wisdom to her resume. . . .
blood red Catwoman
Fluorescent red and ghost
NOW SHE ITS TUESDAY AND I AM DOING MORE SELF REFLECTION, BUT THIS TIME IN PRIVACY. . .
As I wrote all this that lazy Saturday morning, 10,000 Maniacs in the CD player, Sarah entertained herself by playing with my keyboard (like my camera, its probably a penis of mine too). When I finished she read it and said it was beautiful. She sure can be sweet sometimes. We were getting along great. We agreed had agreed would be "just friends" the day before in the park (on the ledge 60 feet above the highway, as I hoped she wouldn't push me off) and I was thoroughly enjoying her company. But then things got worse. A lot worse.
My self destruction soon took control again and I told Sarah I had written about the week we spent together a month ago. She insisted on reading it. I agreed like an idiot despite the fact that mentioning that I wrote about her was the main reason the fight that ended our little escapade a month ago.
I told her she had to read all 90 pages that I had written so far of my "story." She said O.K. and enjoyed reading the beginning, the stuff about Jasmin, and my yeshiva. . . . but when she got to the part about her. . . the shit hit the fan. She read the entire thing in silence. I fidgeted nervously on my bed behind her (my small dorm room was now so messy there was no room to sit on the floor).
The wait was excruciatingly painful. But in a very sick way I was getting a rush off this absurd situation- sitting in my room with somebody who I wasn't sure was really there- maybe she's just a character in my story. [A fiction writer would piss in his pants if one of his characters came to life and slapped him in the face. In my story, every character has already done that. My pants are pretty wet. I guess that's the price of living life for the sake of the "story."]
"I am disappointed. I really thought you knew me better," said Sarah bitterly when she finally finished. There was an awful moment of silence. The irony was unbearable. My life was repeating once again.
"I can't believe this. This is how I pissed you off last time. I swear I am Sisyphus," I said.
"No, don't give me that Sisyphus bullshit. You are not Sisyphus, you just make it that way for yourself," she said. "Its ridiculous to blame her for me my unprotected sex, or for the exctassy. Sometimes you just have to grow up and take responsibility for your actions," she said.
But I think the irony was even too much for her, and it was obvious that she did not want to start arguing with me. She just sat on my bed, and looked at me in frustration. In vain I tried to argue to her that my writing is art and does not necessarily reflect reality, but rather my perceptions, which are different than hers. Some might even call them distorted. Maybe I'm another Don Quixote. Maybe I'm insane- I have no problem admitting that. maybe we're all insane. But that was a bad argument. Maybe I should have just said that perhaps I was paranoid at the time and that she was right.
To appease her I changed her name in the story from Sarah to Phoebe. [Phoebe??]
"I have to go take a shower," she said. She went down the hall to the floor's bathroom.
While she was in the bathroom my mind was racing on overload. Anger, sadness, frustration. . . . And the knowledge of my self destruction. I looked above my computer at my camera bag, and once again felt the instinctual need to converted my internal mess into creativity. [This is probably a defense mechanism I use to give myself an emergency injection of life in moments like these.] I had shot two rolls of film the night before, but I wanted to shoot Isis some more. My emotions were so intense that it was as if I was drunk, and I don't remember all the details of that night. But I'll write about those I do.
When Sarah got back I had my camera loaded with Ektapress 400, cocked and ready to shoot. As if in a rage, I swept my blanket, the stuff on my bed, and the all the shit on the floor into one huge pile in the corner. I mounted my photographic flood light, directed Sarah to my bed and began photographing her like I was madly having sex with her. I turned on my stereo and loudly blasted the newest Nine Inch Nails album.
Sarah and saran wrap in corner
"Wait," she said and put on her makeup. Then she noticed a box of saran wrap on my desk, and smiled. She wrapped a couple of yards around into the shape of a dress. The 150 Watts of lighting was coming form below, and Sarah looked godly. I was now in an obsessive/manic furry. I jumped around the small room with my camera like a mad warrior attacking the demon in my sights with clicks of my shutter button. As I knelt on the far left side of the room, near the window, a large fan came crashing down on my face. BAM. Sarah jumped. There was blood. The first thing I did was move my camera away so it wouldn't get stained.
"Are you O.K.?" she said as she looked at me in horror. I had blood streaming out of a deep cut on the top of my nose. I looked in the mirror, and smiled. I began to shout. "YES. . . . YES."
"Hey, now your scaring me, said Sarah. Are you all right??"
"I don't even feel it," I said with a laugh that even scared myself, "can I spread my blood on your body?"
"You completely nuts she said. I was looking intensely in her eyes like a madman. She was looking at me like she was horny. She softly put a tissue newer my face, and moved real close. I looked at her and her beautiful red lipstick lips. The small "normal" part of me wanted to kiss her, but my insanity was climaxing and all I could really think about was my rush of self destruction that was more potent than sex. In fact, I think it was sex. Unfortunately it was with myself. Damn. I was still trapped in my own head. Here I am with Isis, Goddess of Cats, and all I can do is jerk off with my camera and come blood. [With the help of god someday I will transcend out of this hell, and my climax of blood will be replaced by a climax of love with an Ethiopian Woman of Waves. ] But meanwhile I was in a dorm room in Manhattan, dripping deadness out of my face. We made a bandage out if tape and tissues, stuck it on my face so I looked like Frankenstein. I finished my roll of film with the momentum from my sick manic blood rush, and prayed that I wasn't becoming another Trent Reznor, Jedi of the Dark Side..
I had her pose with a sheet like Jesus. "I'm Jesus," I said. "But your prettier."
Sarah. sheet, Jesus pose
After I shot six rolls of film and we were both completely exhausted, Sarah said she had to go. She wanted to meet "Paul," the guy she met on the internet- on channel #sex- the night before.
"Whatever," I said.
"Oh don;t get all pissy," she said in her harsh British accent. "I've been with you for the last two days straight. Don't get jealous on me."
She certainly can be cruel. It was just like a month ago, and despite the fact that I wasn't telling her anymore, (what with just being friends and all) I was still obsessed with Isis.
"But I want you to come with me," she said. Sarah felt Paul was a nice guy (translation- he had told her that he produces videos, and has an apartment in Soho. $ MONEY $ ), yet she was still worried that he might be a psycho, and wanted me to go with her. Jesus was now a body guard.
"He is probably a horny nut," I said. I had already shown her my Spectator story on IRC where I had interviewed the two messed up guys on #sex.
But like usual, Isis had her way, I was soon seated in her car and she dodged through traffic towards the Soho bar where we were going to meet "Paul." Why me?
Paul was a pretty big guy with a pony tail, wearing shorts and a backwards baseball cap, and was drinking a Heineken beer. He had a Long Island Jewish accent and went to Cornell. Now he films rap videos. Great just great.
Sarah was wearing a flimsy black dress that was practically falling off, and was soon flirting heavily. She was probably just trying to get me jealous. I frieking hate her mind games.
Sarah's dress was coming undone around her chest, and she looked down to fix it.
"Are you O.K.?" asked Paul.
"Yeah I am just falling out of my dress," said Sarah.
"Well feel free to fall out of your dress," said Paul with a grin.
Paul wanted to show us his record collection. Wonderful.
Paul's apartment was really small and really messy. Sort of like my room. Except a bunch of levels up- he doesn't have to share a bathroom with floormates, and he lives in Soho. Sarah told me the apartments there are worth a fortune. I guess Paul's situation is not very different from my own. He said his dad is a lawyer. he went to Cornell, and now is trying to make it in the video production market and producing rap videos- not very different from majoring in photography at Columbia, and taking advantage of my dad's Visa card. He had a huge T.V. with a nintendo, cable, and a V.C.R. But he spends a couple of hours a day on the internet- he is obviously bored. The epitome of the new generation of New York Old Jews- Generation X. The mentality of the Diaspora Jew has survived and with assimilation, it is stronger than ever. Self Hatred. Sarah is a blonde haired blue eyed Shiksa. Just what Paul needs to get him off his IRC addiction and, undoubtedly, his deep down self hatred. Maybe I am reading too much into this guy who I don't even know. But I doubt it. I should know his type- I am hardly different.
We ended up smoking his pot and hash. The hash was from Jerusalem, said Paul with his annoying accent. "Holy hash," I said and smoked it religiously. Sarah got really stormed and fell asleep on Paul's couch. It was five in the morning.
What the heck do I do now? I wondered. I did not want to leave Sarah with this creep and take the subway back. Paul gazed at Sarah sleeping on the couch, looked at me, back at Sarah, and told me he had to go to sleep. I was feeling more than a little stupid. What the heck was I doing here? Just then Sarah woke up.
"I think I am going to go home," I said.
"Just lay down and go to sleep," she said.
We woke up at around 3:00 on Sunday, and watched the finals of the world cup. Anne, Paul's friend from France sat next to me on the couch, as Sarah and Paul curled on opposite sides of his bed.
Sarah and Paul were soon smoking some more hash. I declined. I am messed up enough naturally, I thought.
After the game, Sarah and I left. She had to see Rolie, and I had to get away from Paul. I was getting nautios. And I had to go home and recuperate. Sarah said she would drive me home. We got into Sarah's car.
"So what did you think of him?" I asked.
"He's very Jewish. I don't know. he would be nice to hang out with as a friend."
"Well at least your picking your guys consistently. Jewish guys sure seem to be attracted to you," I said. Sarah's last four boyfriends were Jewish.
"Yeah, like bees to honey. . . Do you think he was hot for me?" asked Sarah.
"I don't know," I said.
She turned on the radio, and on came Trent Reznor singing "I want to fuck you like an animal. . . ."
"Don't you feel that your life sometimes has background music," I said. "All the time shit like that happens to me- turning on the radio and the appropriate song coming on-"
"Yeah, me too," she said.
Driving through the East Village we passed what looked like a street fair. "lets go," said Sarah. It was a gay lesbian fair with drag queens and topless men everywhere. Calling this weekend surreal is an understatement. We walked to where a crowd had gathered around a juggler. I moved aside as two men in on stilts walked by. "I wouldn't want one of those guys to stand on my toe," I said to Sarah she laughed.
"This sure has been a messed up weekend, even for us," I said. "I should write another piece for the Spectator. On Paul, and the goddess of Cats. . . Samantha-"
"You called me Samantha?" Oops.
"Yeah- Samantha was the name we used in the last news story for my friend Christine when she went on IRC and got all those guys to call us. That's how I got my interviews," I said. That was the truth. And the name I picked for our fictional IRC slut sure was fitting. But I couldn't believe I just called her Samantha. I had suspected that my obsession over Sarah was a subconscious replay of my obsession over Samantha, my phone friend. Now I was sure of it. Beyond the shadow of Sarah the stripper is the idea she represents (I perceive most things this way). On this level of reality, the Samantha/beautiful bitch blonde obsession was no different than what I have with Sarah- pure self destruction.
When we got uptown she dropped me off at the video store- the Star Wars movies were already a day overdue. Oh well. A busted nose and overdue videos. The damage was actually relatively light after a weekend with Sarah.
- IRC Version:
-  03:18 Dolphin [Query: bear] on #nyc (+nt) * type /help for help
- -> *bear* so should I tell yuou what happened when i introduced my stripper
- +pal to irc #sex?
- *Bear* yeah
- <jacko> i can see your ass right now
- <Boing-O> ESHA!!!
- <Bear> oh can you? how?
- <gekko> What?
- -> *bear* this is the last weekend i was seeing her...
- *Bear* uh huh....
- -> *bear* took all these really cool shots of her...
- -> *bear* it was in shapiro actually..
- and on. . .
©Dylan Tauber 1994-2018. All rights reserved.
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