Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Epiphany/Antiphany II. - What Started It All

NOTE: Read Epiphany/Antiphany I. Before Reading This

Saturday the 16th: The day the semester came to an end at Purdue. The day of Enduring Freedom, so to speak. Jasper and Bert, two exchange students who'd landed at Purdue for a semester long holiday, were leaving on Monday. So was Mario, headed to the tropics/semitropics of Sydney. I, in turn, missed celebrating my birthday the previous Sunday. And the exams got over. All a cause for a party Saturday night.

The thing began pretty low-key. There was the Chinese guy, Mario and Bert and Jas, and somebody else. We drank a bit, and wondered where S was. Jas mentioned S as having been with C for a while, since like Thanksgiving. Ears pricked up a bit. S was my neighbour and I'd met C at a common statistics class. I'd seen 'em dance at a party together, and they seemed to hit it off pretty well......

More rum. Jasper mentioned the Bloody Mary, and I explained the Patiala Peg, and how Punjabis and Haryanvis were the toughest drinkers in the country. Jasper mixed up one, using Tomato juice, vodka ad Tabasco sauce. Too much Tabasco. Way too much Tabasco.

Phone rings "Jasper's room, party in progress. If you're a really hot girl, come right along..." Jasper snatched the thing before I could really step on it. It's S. He's with a group of Germans... at C's place. They're coming over in a bit. The mention of C raises a couple of eyebrows. Jasper gives the knowing smile. At times like this, I often feel like a dick, sitting around with a set of guys winking and tapping the sides of their noses at each other, like the character roster of 'Desperate Housewives' in their 70s or 80s, in connection with some dude's dalliances. The right thing to do is to carry out dalliances of one's own (I'm not sure that's grammatically correct), or shut the fuck up.

But still, something niggles at me about this. I haven't put my finger on it. It could be I'd like a shot at C (if I knew how to take one) and resent S's aim, and probably is. But no, something else in addition......

Vodka. Somebody named Olivia (girl, but of no real or imagined consequence). Green Apple vodka and 7Up. Citrus Rum and Sprite. Bottles of wine poured out in small quantities. I hate wine. Belgian beer - truly the foulest tasting drink in the world, probably what the writers of the Koran drank when deciding whether or not to forbid alcohol. Basement Jaxx and Nirvana. Jasper's computer has Windows in Belgian.

Germans arrive. S and C take the lead. Arm in arm, smiling in that way that looks great in sitcoms and silly in movies. S is a somewhat short, muscular chap with frizzled spiky hair that stands up on a permanent basis. He's got a long rectangular face, and teeth that look like they should be sharp and pointy, but aren't. Sort of a snazzy soccer Brit meets R. L. Stevenson pirate. He talks English with this weird colonial accent, like Australian or South African commentators on ESPN/Star Sports and Tamil - believe it or not, he's a colony-bred TamBram - slowly and with great care.

C however, is who I really focus on, even through the slight glaze of ol' C2H5OH coursing through the system. She's the right height - can't call it anything else. Semi-silvery blonde hair. She's got a sharp nose and a set of sparkling teeth, the kind that you'd use a Colgate/Henko mixture on. Full lips that make a really wide and pretty smile. Most significantly, very impressive, very full and very German cleavage. Her sweater right now kind of emphasizes 'em. Wolfenstein ramparts with loaded artillery (As with my California posts, absolute deference to any girls who may read this). I wonder for a bit, what if she notices me letching?

The rest of the party is now kind of a drunken haze, the kind Hunter S. Thompson wrote about when discussing the Kentucky derby. I end up setting next to C (Woohoo!!) and S (D'oh!!). Small talk.

"Haven't seen you in a hell of a while" I say, smiling through the alcohol blear.

"Been at her place for like a month or so" S says

The rest of the conversation follows suit with the rest of the party. Haze all the way, or at least, I fail to remember it at this point.

I'm still observing the two though. The introductions are over, and everyone's talking his/her neighbour, so this is when the two can withdraw from the general conversation. They're making out, like the Foresters from the "B and the B". There's a bit of that squeaky-clicky noise from annoying won't-cut-to-the-chase-read-"do it"-romance scenes, drowned out greatly by Jasper's yell at seeing his goodbye card.

It's when I see C on S's lap, and his kissing his way up and down her neck (very "Sun TV"ish, yet the mouse is squiggling about the house, to paraphrase Gunther's season 2/3 quip), and further down, that I remember what's been niggling me. The conversation I interrupted in S's room. With another girl. By Videomail/Skype from London. Who, I remember his mentioning now, was his fiancee (sans the French caps, you can't put 'em in this word processor). Whom he was supposed to tie the knot with in May.

With many emotions and points of view in mind "Jumping Jesus on a Pogo Stick!!!"

I am being a grade A fuckwad, sitting around reporting this stuff to your burning ears, instead of sowing about my own wild oats. Yet I cannot avoid being fascinated by this situation. As I said, I do feel a certain pique in that it's S and not self that's leaving the party right now with C (keeping the party and this post PG-13 while the real A/R/X stuff continues elsewhere, no doubt). At the same time, the complications that must inevitably arise from this boggle me.

S is somebody I respect to a certain extent. A fiancee across the ocean and a hot German this side - kind of a very successful anti-Eurotrip or something. But what does the fiancee thing mean now? If it takes a semester to cheat on/break engagements, what the fuck do they mean anyway? And I despise the guy a bit - I mean, transgressing is a pig's job, however fun it sounds or feels like. Or should I follow Hunter S's maxim of non-judgement "Never fuck with a friend's head. Who are you to tell a friend he shouldn't change his name, desert his family and join a Satanist cult in New Orleans?" Or forget his engagement, developing tunnel vision for a set of well-formed bazoombas?

I wonder what C knows? What she's thinking? What will be conclusion of this - I can see people's fascination with reality TV in a new light now - entanglement. Are the two in one of those open-thingies which will end next sem? Are they permanent? If no, does C know what's gonna happen eventually? How's she going to take it? Will I get to assault the ramparts eventually?

I am in a world I see but don't touch. Damnation.............

There are many things I don't understand about life in general. The foremost of these things I don't understand is love - to be specific, the romantic stuff that one would associate with Tom Hanks, "boy meets girl", Bryan Adams music, chocolate in heart shaped boxes, proms and credit-roll music at the end of college movies.

What don' t I understand? What does the damn thing entail and what does it not? What elements constitute it, in what balance, and what would constitute an overdose? And the foremost of these 'tattva's that I find complicated is sexuality.

What precise role does sex play in the relationship that develops out of romantic love? Is it something you ought to permanently seek? The strongest glue between people, as Tarun Tejpal likes to put it? Or is it something that sets in after the touchy feely stuff has taken a good strong hold, the way people who never get any in the sitcoms religiously believe?

Concordantly, how strong is the emotion of love or whatever? Is it a superstructure built on a Hegelian base of transience and inconsistency? My next post is the basis for this - it is the source of my epiphany/antiphany (I know, there's no such word yet), but I use it with a semantic purpose) . But in the meantime, think about it and let me know.