3, 2, 1 action!
Get your front plan up, your back plan is now secondary. Smile, shake hand, don’t look at inappropriate places, don’t eat with your mouth open, …
If you practice long enough you’ll be able to fit in. They won’t even notice that you’re acting, just like they forgot about their own drama. It’ll seem that this is who you are and if you’re fortunate enough you’ll find a group of individuals that resemble your performance.
Is this not what you’re after? To belong among others longing to be.
One day when you’re alone and you ponder on the limits of your being – when you feel yourself liminoid – you can ask yourself: did I act or re-act?
He’s sitting in a coffee shop in the Mile End area of Montreal. It’s the kind of place where the coffee is absurdly overpriced and where so-called hipsters assemble to profess their alternative lifestyle. He wonders what’s so alternative about them when everywhere he looks he sees similarities: beanies that don’t cover the whole head, thrift-shop scavenged oversized clothes, sarcasm as a mode-of-being. Aren’t they just a different kind of mainstream? Maybe hipster would be more accurate of a word if most shared the experience of a hip replacement.
He can’t hide his uncanny feeling around them. How can he trust the screams for revolution out of the mouths of bourgeoisie children whose most profound experience of distress is choosing a place to drink a coffee and talk about how important Simone de Beauvoir or Michel Foucault are. And still, he’s sitting in this coffee shop worrying that they are not so far from him as imagined.
The bowl of coffee is empty and the residues have formed paths on the side as if they are showing different lines of flight that come together in this place. In front of him is Kathleen Stewart’s book ‘Ordinary Affects’. The whitish cover collides with the run down brownish table. Is he reading it or is it there as part of a self-presentation to portray a belonging to the educated class?
It’s tiring living this life, often caught in ‘stereotypes so strong they thicken the air like stench’ (Stewart 2007: 13). He tries to keep his mind at place but repeatedly slips away to recite random poems in his head pretending he was an accomplished lyricist. His ‘attention is distracted, pulled away from itself. But the constant pulling also makes it wakeful, “at attention.” Confused but attuned’ (ibid.: 10).
Distracted is a good way to typecast him. Imagining so many things he could do only to fall back behind his laptop looking at the screen flashing images that fulfill the short term hedonistic urge for pleasure. This post was supposed to be a vignette of a scene experienced in Sarajevo but for now that has not solidified. That doesn’t mean we won’t get there.
It starts of as a small piece of potential residing in all of us. Not sure how it will unfold it starts moving in all directions at the same time, and, as it expands, it opens up possible life trajectories on which we can build an essence – you know, that presumed to be Real us. Throughout our lives these lines have different impact points that can reveal themselves in the most unexpected ways. They may surface as an unsuccessful love story, where we invested a major part of our time, but nevertheless it ended without the house, garden and dog. It can be the realization that no matter how much you try, you’ll never be able to understand the meanings of life. Or, it may be that one day you’re sitting at a bar with some friends and you notice that it all feels surreal, maybe even unreal.
The body can only take so much, until it starts to externalize its internal struggles. Anxious thoughts that you managed to hide so eloquently from the rest for so long, can one day become a tick whereby you make a small noise when you breath just to remind yourself that you’re still alive. It can be that you stare at your body in the mirror for extended periods of times, and question why it is not perfect. Even though, you are aware that perfection is an ideal non can have, this notion ads to your drive to be.