Madam Camus and the art of red bedrooms

From an old journal

Madam Camus

In a little bit of time, I’ll have finished my undergraduate degree and with it, all of the expectations of schooling anyone has ever had for me. In essence, this means I will be free to do whatever I please without any pressure from family or friends. Of course, that isn’t completely accurate. I’m a smart guy, I’ve done well here, and so people do expect me to go to graduate school. It’s not like I don’t want to, either. I think graduate school could be really fun and give me a lot of time to do projects I would like to do. I have scripts I’d like to write. I’d like to work on publication in some academic journals. I’d like to do all those things that make you respectable in the academic community. All of that really intrigues me.

So why am I bitching about where I am going to be next. Why do I still feel the itch to move on if I’m happy here. Well, happy isn’t the best word. I’m satisfied here, certainly. I can breathe a bit. Life isn’t too fast like in other places. I am no overwhelmed by anything at the moment. In fact, I’m doing better than a lot of people. But satisfaction does not make me want to stay. I fear that even if I were incredibly satisfied by what I was doing I would still feel the urge to go.

I am a Gypsy. I have Romani blood coursing through my veins and I’ve given a lot of thought to what that means for me. I’m a very spiritual person and I take into consideration mystical meanings and consequences for nearly everything I come into touch with. Speaking along these terms for that blood I spoke of, I feel that it is inherent in me spiritually as well as genetically to desire a nomadic existence. We are creatures of tendency and routine. When we do something often, it becomes ingrained with us. If it is something important to our survival, that imprint is often passed to our children and to their children. It becomes part of the living spirit of a people to follow these methods. It could be theorized it may have some part in evolution as well, but the science of a thing is less important to me than the spirit of it. I can explain the spirit, justify it in my mind, without expensive equipment and years of research. So when I say that I am a Gypsy, I don’t mean that as a simple metaphor.

Josh has his theories on people, their paths and success in life. It’s not an uncommon view, that we each have a path we should be on, and if we work along that path, or near it, we will be happier/do better/be successful/be awesome. He thinks my path is a very random one, where I made odd decisions and move from place to place all the time. I’m inclined to agree. I am not happy “here”. I don’t mean Indiana. I’m just not happy where I am. I can be for a little while, but I need to move on. Can I justify graduate school to myself as moving on? Maybe for a few weeks I’ll be able to, but certainly not for the entire year and a half. So what after that? Will I fold and move to Alaska?

My friends have left me a lot of great responses on my last journal entry about this very topic. All of them seem to feel it’s most important to do what makes me happiest, which I can’t argue with. Does the adage apply to me, though? Does it apply to a life of constant change? It’s hard to justify throwing away good opportunities over and over again to jump off a cliff.

But that is me. That is what I do. I jump again and again, even when I try hard not to.

I remember years ago, I was in a club, Haven, or Asylum, or one of those Philly clubs that was around briefly that I used to hit pretty often. I ran into a friend there I hadn’t seen in a long time. She and I kept looking at each other all night from far away. We looked so familiar to each other, but when you haven’t seen someone in a long time, seeing them in a completely new setting makes it difficult to put together faces and names. Towards the end of the night, she came over to me. I was sitting on a red velvet couch in this heavily smokey red room trimmed by chrome, mirrors and hanging strips of black velvet. It was the inspiration, decor-wise, for my bedroom. She stood near me for a minute and then she sat down near me in a chair. She started fanning herself with this advertisement for a local DJ. Her dress was long, a style which I enjoyed that lasted only a month or so at the clubs. She looked away from me deliberately, perhaps waiting for me to recognize her. I didn’t, of course. My memory was terrible even then. She talked to me later that night as we were both leaving. She said she was scared to talk to me because she wasn’t sure I was there. In the red light at the club, she said I tended to fade into the light a bit too much. She was on drugs, of course, but it made me smile.

That moment we shared was enough for me to trigger a desire. I got a feeling in my head, an itch, an opportunity. We drove to New York that night. Her car. Her room was bathed in red too. That’s when I first discovered that a woman’s skin is most beautiful in red light.

It’s hard to know what the right thing is when the right thing for so many people is different than yours. My life is a string of random incidents, events strewn together haphazardly. I see each moment like an impressionists painting, more the feeling of the moment than the moment itself. It wears on me. “It wears, sir, as it grows.”