Q: This must be a lonely time for you.
A: I have been noticing couples on the street, yes.
A: And not just couples, but friends. People just enjoying each others’ company.
Q: How can you tell which are which?
A: Numbers, often. Body language. Probably some heteronormative pre-conceptions, admittedly. But even man and lady friends– I’ll assume that.
Q: That’s very progressive of you.
A: Yeah, yeah. I know. Better to over-compensate than the opposite, ultimately.
Q: And what would the opposite of progressive self-over-correction?
A: Hm. I guess, regressive others-under-…not correction.
Q: You just reversed the words I said.
Q: So let’s play out what this would entail
A: Do we have to? I thought this was going to be about how lonely I am.
Q: We can get back to that
A: We don’t actually have to– I spend enough time
Q: No, no. I am still interested in your lonely times, however, we have this opportunity to digress
A: What an opportunity!
Q: Genuine digressions have more value than people think. At this point, ours is no longer one, but it still has value nonetheless.
A: Well, digress away.
Q: It does, however, take two…
A: …well, regressive would be the opposite of progressive, so instead of combing through all my thoughts and words for unjust and discriminatory and bigoted notions I would actively try to inject those things into what I was saying or, I guess, observing.
Q: How would that work, observation-wise?
A: Well, if I walked by someone different than me and, because I wasn’t enough of a shitface, didn’t think something terrible about them I would have to make up for it by clutching my purse, or making a fartsmell face, or just watching them ‘to make sure.’
Q: But because it was others instead of self you would be directing these comments at others instead of yourself
A: Yeah. I guess, I would have to walk up to people and say “Why didn’t you clutch your purse when that African-American gentleman walked by. Puttin’ on airs??”
Q: African-American gentleman?
A: Hm. Do you think this person would be more overtly racist than that? Besides the wallet stuff?
Q: I mean, maybe not throwing slurs around, but I’m not sure how regressive that phrasing is.
A: I don’t know. The whole gentleman thing always strikes me as sort of the worst thing you could say short of the n-word.
Q: What is this gentleman thing? I can’t say that I’m familiar with it
A: Well, like when someone will not want to refer to someone else as being “black” or “gay” when describing them, so they say “the African-American gentleman” or “Gay gentleman”– well, I guess they’re still saying gay there– but, basically just thinking “Here’s how I’ll hide my discomfort– by going so far the other way that I give them a fucking top hat and tails”
Q: And you believe they do this because they are comfortable with gay and/or black people?
A: Oh, definitely.
Q: Could it be that they’re more uncomfortable with the terms themselves, and the culture’s lack of a clear policy on
A: Yeah, I mean, there’s probably some of that. But, it’s really not that big a deal.
Q: To you.
A: To most people I’m pretty sure. And, worst case scenario, someone objects to the term you used and then you have to use what ever terminology they want you to use– or don’t–
Q: It could be embarrassing to get called out that way.
A: Hold on– weren’t we talking about how lonely my time is?
Q: We can return to that topic.
A: Yeah, I don’t think this is really going anywhere else past where we got to
Q: But do you see what I mean?
A: See what what means?
Q: Genuine digressions– that one eventually ran out of steam, but before it did we got to see a side of you that would probably never come up otherwise.
A: Yeah, I guess. Th
Q: Now did
Q: I’m sorry, what were you going to say?
A: Nah. Forget it.
Q: So forgotten. And, speaking of forgetting, we still have -under-notcorrection left.
A: Eh. I’m pretty sure the whole thing falls apart at that point.
Q: Still, all we have to lose is effort…
A: Ok, well. Under completely undermines the previous part since I would hold back on acting instead of acting. And then notcorrection means that I would be holding back on doing absolutely nothing and zero times zero is, yep, still zero.
Q: There are certainly more productive interpretations of those terms, though…
Q: Well, notcorrection– I would say that that’s what you were doing by giving them such bad advice.
A: Yeah, yeah… I can accept that. And, under?
A:… oh, doy. Because I do so after having popped up from tunneling beneath them.
Q: Like a mole
A: Or that gopher character from Winnie the Pooh.
Q: Hm. Would you do so with a whistled s?
A: I sort of already do… but definitely. More so.
Q: Isn’t effort beautiful? Before you were an introverted, self-obsessed, anxiety-ridden, hyper-sensitive wimp. Now you have a roadmap to becoming the bigoted, loudmouth, magic tunnel-digging sub-human buttinski you were always meant to be.
A: My life starts today.
Q: Do you think you would be less lonely if you were at least more of a loudmouth or sub-human?
A: Yeah. I probably would.
Q: Why not start?
A: Well, I don’t want to be a ‘sub-human’
Q: Or just a loudmouth.
A: I can get loud.
Q: There’s a difference.
A: What would I do, just start yelling at people?
Q: Or initiating conversations.
A: I don’t really see how that’s bein
Q: How about it, though?
A: … Yeah. That probably would be better.
Q: So, why not?
A: There is probably no reason why not.
Q: But you won’t.
A: Not probably.
Q: Well. Good luck with that.
A: … do you have any more questions for me?
Q: I’m trying to think of which way to take this. Usually it takes a long time to get to this point and I get more resistance after which there is growth.
A: I resisted.
A: What, because I didn’t see the point in bickering denials over an accurate assessment of what my case is I’m a bad interview?
Q: Sort of.
A: Well, then I guess there’s no reason to keep interviewing me if I’m so bad at it.
Q: Yeah. I’m really racking my brains trying to come up with one.
Q: Is there anything you have any strong feelings about?
Q: …anything at all?
A: Yeah. Probably.
Q: Probably? That, I can’t imagine a worse answer to that question.
A: I know.
Q: So, do you have anything or not?
Q: … we don’t have to do this. We can just call it an interview and split
Q: There’s even a virtue in having some bad ones in a collection. Makes the whole thing seem more real, lends authenticity.
Q: Not every interview can b
A: I guess I just feel like life is ganging up on me.
Q: And that’s what you feel strongly about?
A: No. It’s just
Q: How about this– this is my first interview in this series. Once I’ve completed the other 18, I’ll come back and see how you’re doing. Ok?
A: Nehh. You don’t need to–
Q: Well, I’ve got to redeem this piece somehow.
A: if it’s not good you can just cut it, I won’t mind. I don’t nee
Q: I think the return thing will give it a cute conceit, right?
A: Yeah. I can see that.
Q: Ok. So. In the mean time, if you could — you know — get your act together, try, care, and so on
Q: I know. But it’ll be a more interesting story if it has anything resembling an arc. And in order for that to happen you will need to change. Significantly. Hopefully for the better.
A: Because it’s hard to imagine worse.
A: Ok. Ok. I think, ok. Yeah.
A: … how much time do I have?
Q: Well, it’s hard to tell. Lonesome fucks such as yourself don’t just pop up out of nowhere, it takes work just to find you
A: Yeah, sure. But if I had a hard limit– a timeline– it would make it easier, well, more pressureful to do something.
Q: How about 6 months?
A: 6 months?
Q: Yes. Long enough not only to act and to change, but to be required to sustain that change through continued action.
A: Well. Ok.
Q: Don’t worry. If you succeed, you’ll thank me for it, you sub-human gopher.
A: And if not?
Q: 60 more years of seeing your shadow, you cowardly groundhog.
A: Sounds like a plan.
Q: Wait… 50 more years.
Q: Don’t mention it– just another ticking clock you have to run from with no chance to escape. But, now, less so.
Q: See you in March!