"Assimilate My Purse," Maximumrocknroll, June 2007
Touching my face with my fingertips thinking it's okay, Mattilda it’s okay
Earlier on the train from Portland to Seattle, I had my first touring moment of complete and utter exhaustion leaning towards despair -- no, right in the middle of despair -- what am I talking about? I sat listening to music on my MP3 player and touching my face softly with my fingertips thinking it's okay then realizing it's not okay so instead I thought it'll be okay -- for some reason, this exhaustion made me look at the blank spaces in my tour and wonder about more events to fill them in which might seem counterintuitive except that the events are what give me energy. I ended up zoning out on the colors of the carpet, pink and green leading towards gray and then I felt a little better.
Now I'm at the wonderful collective King Street House where I'm staying in Seattle and emotionally I feel better -- physically the same -- sinus headache grinding, difficulty focusing but I like it here and maybe I should be getting ready for bed, everyone else is in bed and here I'm thinking about tomorrow's event -- I'm almost more stressed because they've all been so amazing so far and so I'm scared of the crash I mean I'm in the crash but I'm scared that the events won't keep up the same incredible momentum.
Thoughts on exhaustion and touring
So I'm thinking about exhaustion and touring, whether I'm more exhausted now or whether it's the same just that I have different obligations and I'm out of my routine, apartment, etc. I don't have the answer -- I'm certain that touring opens up this emotional soft hopeful space in my heart yet also wears me down and I don't know whether there's a balance, not just with touring but everything really through this fibromyalgia drama I always have to push in order to do anything, pushing gives me what I’m looking for I mean it allows me to create something but yes it also wears me down except if I'm not pushing that I'm still worn down and so I'm stuck in this place of rumination, looking out the window here in Seattle and the people I'm staying with said that from my window I could see this huge warehouse where Amazon.com stores their books, the only huge thing I see is what I remember to be a hospital, could that really be the Amazon.com warehouse?
For some reason I’m extra-nervous before the Seattle reading, or maybe not extra-nervous just nervous like I always am except then the audience is laughing and smiling and loud and present right away, all of the chairs filled and more brought out and then people sitting on the floor too. My intro is now at the point where it's pretty much memorized, and I can improvise different parts and it's always fun when the audience is loud, actually this is probably the loudest audience per-person that is -- I mean, Portland was much larger but quieter too -- of course, there are different ways of paying attention, but I always like the immediate feedback.
Jennifer Blowdryer joins me and reads part of Kirk Read’s essay about passing as a model sex worker, then I read part of Nico Dacumos’s essay, the part that's a scathing critique of academia and Smith College in particular – turns out there are a few Smith College graduates in the audience, so that’s fun. Then Jennifer reads her piece and the audience is bursting in laughter right away.
My friend Bruin who I'm staying with asks a good question about how to go from thinking and exchanging ideas to social change in the world instead of just knowing how to talk about everything correctly -- I don't have the answer to that one, unfortunately. One of the questions is about identity politics, and where can we go since it's so limiting but also comforting. My take on that is that identity is a great place to start, the problem is when it becomes an endpoint and that's where the horrors begin, the way that the dominant signs of straight conformity have become the ultimate signs of gay success (gay marriage, gay adoption, gays in the military, gay cops, etc.) -- of course, I've talked about that a lot. Much of the discussion is about the connections between passing and the violence of assimilation, and the intersectional politics that Nobody Passes invokes -- not just gender or just race or just class, etc., but the messy intersections and interrelations of all of these things in all of our lives.
After the reading, there are a lot of hugs -- I love hugs! Then later I’m driving around with a car full of Smith graduates looking for Basic Plumbing, the sex club in Seattle where I used to go when I lived here but it’s moved since then. I’ve decided that nothing could be worse than the sex clubs in San Francisco, so I’m pretty excited about finding Basic Plumbing, though we have to go to someone's apartment that fantastically looks like what I would imagine of a Smith College dorm -- a big old mansion, colonial style, subdivided --we look up Basic Plumbing on the internet. It’s pretty interesting to me that they’re open until 9 a.m., at first I’m thinking what a tweaker epidemic, though later I realize it's because they’re doing that discreet cheap hotel-stay-for-fags-too-drunk-to-go-home thing, since now they have rooms in the basement and I could hear someone snoring really loudly.
There’s almost no one there, but I like the public area and eventually I pursue this one guy long enough that eventually we get it on and it’s hot! I mean HOT! He’s really into me licking his belt buckle, which is pretty funny, that’s the thing that gets him the most turned on. I tell him I like it when he grabs my neck, and then that becomes a whole session and later we’re lying in his room just breathing and maybe exchanging a few words here and there. He doesn't want to take his baseball cap off which I think is strange -- I always assume guys are hiding their age or bald spots with those caps, but he looks so much cuter and younger with it off. Maybe it’s because he has a military haircut, I mean maybe he’s in the military? -- or maybe it’s a recognition type of thing, like he doesn't want me to see him. But it gets kind of romantic and he takes it off, I guess he’s trying to pass as straight because he asks me if I’m gay. While we’re having sex! I say yes, not wanting to get into a complicated conversation about identity since it’s clear that what he means is who I like to have sex with. Or maybe not.
Anyway, I like the part when he tells me he takes plain belt buckles and glues on old Soviet stars so that he can have something different than the guys around him in Butte, Montana; Spokane, Washington; Salt Lake City; somewhere else. Wyoming? What do you do in all of those places, I ask. Different things, he said.
Anyway, I let the come on my face dry there, a huge puddle on his chest too after so much teasing, that’s the fun of the whole encounter -- two hours I think, that's a long time. Definitely the first time I’ve had sex in weeks, I've been focusing pretty much everything on the tour and all. It’s amazing, really, even the recognition that so much beauty can arise between people without much else in common -- I'm so glad that I know that, although knowing that doesn't always make it easier.