Wednesday, January 30, 2008

yet more

Names. [Him / Her / Him]

Gin and tonic on the table, leaving condensation rings, building card houses out of the coasters. Single women of thirty, united in pursuit of that elusive goal, unity through partnership, one woman chasing the Bachelor of Putney, the other acting as side-kick and encouragement for this particular round of the hunting of the Snark. Having an operational report on the successful seeding of a phone number, followed by hours of deep and meaningful speculation on that most incomprehensible of life mysteries, the great question: "Will He Call?"

Well, will he or won't he? Will cocktails with a single friend be replaced by romantic dinners a deux? Will future phone calls be of domestic bliss? Will the Vermonter, well-educated, installer of composting toilets, curly haired, succumb to the charms and talons of the professor who chases him?

In between discussions of the great mystery of Will He Call fall divergent episodes of previous men, how they were acquired, procured, hooked, and then released back into the ocean of humanity, some to flounder and others to predatorily hunt for more fisher-women to land. In these discussions, which loves are chosen for their anecdotal properties, and which are never alluded to or discussed? Have names and characters traits been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent?

Two girls drinking gin and calculating their statistical chances of finding that particular improbability: the ideal male who can cope with cranky, perfectionistic, driven women. And cook. Think of all the hours spent discussing the man that never was, or the one who shouldn't have been.

But did he have a name? Did he have a factual assemblage of parents, siblings, employers, quirks, charms? Did he exist as an actual person, or as a projection? Do you name him, the names his parents provided, the nickname from his pals, the pseudonym he adopted for nefarious purposes? Do you give him a nickname, an allusion, a play on words, a foreign translation? Is he a city, a job, an age, a musician, a gentleman?

Names are powerful. The power to summon, the power to destroy. Using a name can turn into a call, can bring the dead back to life, can force the past into a new focus. Did you call his name, beseeching the night through gin-hazed vision? Or do you only refer to Him: perhaps a city, a job, an age, or a physical metaphor, but never playing with the power of who he really was.

Or maybe you can't actually remember the names any more, so many years, a blessing, a curse.

-----------------------------
Typing with cat on arm. Not recommended.
reading the unreceived email
weather unpredictable