First real Hollywood club experience last night. I kind of wonder if conversations are affected by having to talk loudly right into the person’s ear; I wonder if the closeness of lips and face births a feeling of heat and intimacy that would not be there if the conversants were only sitting in a quiet restaurant and trying to keep their voices down so the people at the other tables don’t get uncomfortable.
Maybe you catch eyes a few feet away and hold them for just a couple beats past the line of just a glance. Maybe your friends are literally pushing you to dance with a pretty girl wearing a hat and for a split-second you want to just punch them all in their faces and say, “Stop pushing me! Let me be the kind of person I want to be tonight!” And then you understand that you do, in fact, want to dance with this girl, and your friends are only concerned about your physical, mental, and sexual well-being, if such a thing exists and can be given concern.
So then you start talking into this girl’s ear, ducking your hatted head under the brim of her hat so your mouth is next to her cheek as you wonder if you’re saying the right things and asking the right questions. Because someone who is a little shy, who went to a religious school, and who spends all his waking moments these days sitting at a desk in school, hasn’t done this much. But you keep talking, and later you go to specifically find her later after getting a refilled Makers-on-the-rocks, and there’s more questions and answers spoken into ears from millimeters away, and then she takes your hand and you follow her past another rope to a seat right in front of the band, because she knows people.
And she’s a writer, which brings to your mind strange swirling feelings about your own writing and how you never know if it’s any good. And she loves things like the black under the fingernails of the architecture students she used to know. And she, and she, and she. And you, and you, and you. And then you decide to make the move and do something you’ve, honestly, never done before. Ask for the number. And she says, “You don’t live here, what are you gonna do?” And you scramble and say, “Well, I’ll call you.” And she repeats that you don’t live here, and then complies with your request for her name so you can look up her writing, and then you say goodbye and this time the lips close the distance to the cheek instead of the ear, and she leaves.
And it’s true. You don’t live here. But you feel like maybe one day you could, with whatever sort of person you meet and family you have when you’re older. You feel like even though you don’t live here, and in fact you live on almost the exact opposite end of the country, the night was worthwhile and vibrant and life-giving.
Sometimes when you’re the designated driver and you’re taking a car full of drunk people back to the house, the lights get in your eyes and blind you a little and you forget that you don’t live here. And in that little moment of forgetfulness, in that little moment of thinking that this is your town, everything seems right even though the girl in the hat walked out.