by Alexandru Ciobanu
My life is in a whirl, all kinds of stuff and I don’t know if I could offer anything to you (I don’t want to not offer anything). Why can’t you just show up on the bus, sit next to me and dazzle me with your sophisticated English? If it starts on the bus, it can be just a good memory, a cute encounter on the bus. It doesn’t have to be a disappointment in the end, while the internet thing always is.
I met him about a week after we started talking. Before the actual encounter, there was a disconnect in our exchange of thoughts and remarks, partly because the conversations were carried out by email, but also because he was one of those people who avoided answering certain things for God knows what reason and there was a sense of mystery that went along with it. He was interesting. Irritating at times, but he piqued my curiosity and excited me. Even this paragraph at the beginning, which he wrote to me in a fragmented way in a few emails, seems rather sweet, if dubious. But why the fuck would I want a memory of a cute encounter on the bus that would never lead to anything anyway? Such an outdated view of modern communication and romance. And the way he mentioned to me that he’s ‘the only human being without Facebook’ because he loathes it, should have set off some real hipster alarm bells for me. No one cares about Facebook anymore, really. It’s simply a way to keep up with the people you know. To which he replied: ‘certainly while slyly fucking up, blemishing, destroying your relations, connections that spring from the colorfulness of human nature.’ Because a cute encounter on the bus will certainly be more powerful than maintaining a friendship on Facebook after perhaps moving away. Such logic.
My preconceived idea of him prior to meeting reminds of David Shields’ post-structuralist idea that ‘the perceiver by his very presence changes what’s perceived’. I wanted him to be interesting, so I linked my perception of him with ideas that create excitement in me. Then I met him. And from the instant I laid eyes on him from across the street, the excitement vanished. I had gone on one or two dates in the weeks leading up to this, but they never amounted to much. I didn’t think much of them before, it became worse once I saw them, and I tolerated their presence for the duration of consuming one beverage. But with him it was a disappointment, because I did think something of him. And I saw this scrawny guy, just a bit shorter than me, with ears sticking out and blue pants with a rope belt. That last detail was quite a lot to handle. Physical appearance aside, he had no presence. There was no complexity that I felt in his struggle to make sense of where he was in his life. Plus, he was a vegetarian. He was right, he was a disappointment, but I doubt the internet had much to do with it.
Very often I find myself comparing the connection I expect to have with someone, romantically, with how I felt in the moments spent with the person I talked about in an earlier post. I think about him sometimes. There was something magnetic that drew me to him, and it was the combination of a seemingly troubled soul, aloofness and beauty. Nothing before or ever since made me feel that way. Not even my ex-boyfriend of a year and a half sparked such overwhelming emotion. His kiss, his embrace, they meant the world. Now I am constantly pretentiously callous and in a state of disinterest that ‘sometimes I think I’ve felt everything I’m ever gonna feel’ (Spike Jonze, Her).