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the only emperor

Posted 02-07-2009 at 02:11 AM by sweetiepie
Updated 02-07-2009 at 06:51 PM by sweetiepie

I worked out, I think my work outs are working out, by the way, and went to the ice cream place, but nobody cared.

It started with katie, so long ago, flirting a little online, and then appearing at her door, and driving her to this house when it was still full of ghosts, then to a party, and a paint store. But I was in an antiromantic mood this summer, and she was young, so nothing happened. But when mom and I moved, we happened to move right next to the ice cream shop, and so i would go on runs, and occasionally drop by and invite her-- to something or other-- but she would always be busy. But she would also go out for a smoke, talk to me about her latest personal problems, make me ice cream, and give me a ride home, so who was I to complain.

But then things got more complicated. Because I don't have a job, I guess. And because I run often and cook rarely, I showed up enough to be a regular, and make friends with some of the other girls that worked there. I like being friends with people. In a sense, I don't know why everyone doesn't strive to be friends with the girls working at their local ice cream parlor. It's strange to me that we live in such a lonely world. It's not like our neighbors aren't just as lonely as we are, you know? But maybe they find other ways to deal with the insanity that sentience entails, I don't know.

Anyway, the girls who work in ice cream shops, especially during winter, are bored and lonely too. They have only each other. Unless it's busy. And so I started talking to some of them. And some of them started making me sandwiches for free. And some of them draw pictures with me, or paint on my face. And if it's late, maybe I'll give them a ride, or help them clean up a little. And then some of them, I suppose, identify me as the creepy bum who's got nothing to do but bug them. Well, actually, there's already a creepy bum there. His name is Michael and he makes things out of coat hangers. I'm the other creepy bum, I guess. And they don't have much to say to me, but then they're bored too, and they don't have a proper choice in the first place, since they are working, after all. So the social-contract is already in my favor, which is itself a cause for resentment. They at least have to make me sandwiches and ice cream, certainly not for free, but then that's awkward too, since not making me a free sandwich is just as much a statement as making me one is. Not that I come there for free sandwiches of course. Not that I could afford to come there, as often as I do, if I didn't get free sandwiches.

What I mean to say is this-- I don't know what to call it-- the capitalist social narrative-- is confusing. I suppose, in a sense, all social interaction is the result of artifice. All friends become friends because they share something that has nothing to do with friendship. Something that is not nearly as important. Maybe it's the weather, or a hate of the president, or a favorite baseball team, or an interest in sewing. It's usually something completely arbitrary. As much as form always is, relative to substance. So I guess ordered meals are as good as any excuse.

But then today I came in, and none of my buddies were there, and so I was pretty much ignored, and felt like less than a normal customer. Which I guess is how the coat-hanger guy must feel most of the time. Which is infuriating, because the nature of the acquaintances I do have there, being as they are built upon the service-narrative, require that I not be exclusive. And I want to be non-exclusive. I just want to show up-- and if my friends are there, good, we'll have a smoke. And if not, oh well, I'll buy my turkey club and sit in a corner like any other customer. But that's not how it works. Or how it appears. And instead I felt like an ass, until I was able to get some food, and then like a nobody.

I don't know why I'm writing this. It's so late. It's not especially frustrating. There have been a lot more significantly frustrating things in my life lately. It's just confusing, but still solvable. Which is unusual. Usually difficult social situations have no proper order... And I guess because I do want to know the story behind the story-- it is a story-- one I might write some day for real-- and writing it out helps a little.

I remember when I first heard the term "social psychology", I imagined it would be like this.. kind of.. humanist approach to explaining the world. And not a retarded simplification of things everybody already knows. The closest I can think of are ethnographies. But they don't explain in detail, they just describe, and their descriptions are biased. I hope someone develops a proper micro-social-science soon. One that includes the essential internal and external mechanisms that shape interactions between bored ice cream girls and their lonely customers.
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  1. Old Comment
    Marid Audran's Avatar
    I just thought I'd let you know I got at least one reference. Perhaps many others will pick up on that reference too, given that Stevens is associated with Hartford which is where many actuaries are---but perhaps not.

    That's not to say that I understand, either the poem (even after reading some critical interpretations) or the bulk of your post. They are both evocative though. Hoping matters improve for you...
    Posted 02-08-2009 at 12:02 AM by Marid Audran Marid Audran is offline
  2. Old Comment
    hey, thanks dude. i can't believe anyone would read so much...
    if it helps.. i basically interpreted the poem to be about being into ice cream when there's bigger grosser things to be worried about...
    Posted 02-10-2009 at 01:12 AM by sweetiepie sweetiepie is offline

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