"Dude. That was totally Ginger."
"That guy that just walked by, it was totally Ginger."
I furrow in her general direction.
Gyna sighs, speeding up excitedly. "Little bit of facial hair, shaved head - one of those guys you talked to at Blind Robin about movies - that was totally Ginger."
"Ohhhhh, that guy. Was his head shaved? I thought he had a hat."
"No, the other guy had a hat."
"That's right, Hat Guy and Ginger."
"Dude, it's fate! We have to go talk to him! You have to go talk to him!"
"Why would I talk to him? I don't even remember half the conversation we had. I don't even remember what he looks like." She could be sending me on some fucking chase after a stranger just for the hilarity. Besides, fate is bullshit, and really, I don't remember enough about the guy to care if I talk to him again.
"He looks like the guy that just passed us." She glares at me. "You're a wuss."
"Yes I am."
And then we walked around Wicker Park Fest for awhile, which is a very vogue and trendy thing to do, particularly in the summertime. We're laughing obviously while pointing at all of those little tents with their vogue and trendy jewelry and purses (as if setting up a tent at a street festival is going to make their goods seem more boutique-ish when all that shit comes from Urban Outfitters. I know, because I can see it in the store window right there) scoping the crowd and petting people's dogs. Like we're in a fucking tampon commercial or something.
Gyna points. "Dude, I think you need a hippy dress."
"I think you're right. I've always felt, you know, secretly, like inside, that I needed more flowy dresses."
Light laughter. We're not anti-hippy, it's just...could you see me in a flowy printed dress? No, you couldn't. I would embody awkward and angry and paranoid, challenging anyone who looked at me. No, no, no, I couldn't wear anything like that. I would be unreasonably defensive, I would get in fights, I would cry and feel weak and lash at people out of fear, then sink into an unworthy state of pathos. Because that's what I do every single time I wear a dress. No. I don't do dresses.
We wandered around some more, killing time before the Smoking Popes started. Damn, I loved that band in high school. Loved them. I remember listening to "Destination Failure" in my room and feeling sorry for myself. It was awesome.
No. No it wasn't awesome. It sucked. It really, really sucked. Damn, I did not like high school at all. I didn't like high school as much as I don't like dresses.
My brain jumps, mad and flailing, rampaged.
Fucking stupid high school, full of fucking stupid assholes. Fucking stupid dances where people wear fucking stupid dresses. Why do people do that? Wear dresses? Dresses aren't about feeling good about yourself, they're about feeling better than other people. Dresses are about being judged and scrutinized and compared and criticized. Why do we need that at all? I don't need it. I don't want it.
Why do I have such a loathing revulsion towards something as simple...no, that's not right, because the social implications of something so thin and fragile as clothing are...well, there's a labyrinth of flavor there, because it's not just about comfort and function, is it?
I hate dresses because they make me hate myself. I just don't know why.
It's a fucking stupid fear, irrationally conjured up by a fucking stupid girl. Stop it. Stop it, Ross. Snap out of it. Stop it. You're overreacting. You're being a dumbass. Seriously. You're better than this.
"You okay?" Gyna looks at me.
My arms are crossed and I'm fixed on the stage, but I'm a little dreamy and angry, and very, very sad. "I'm fine. I just...I just fucking hated high school." I did not go into my pointless, psychotic frenzy about dresses. Stop thinking about irrelevant things. Why am I so angry? Just don't be angry. Stop it. Breathe. Exhale it away.
Gyna smiles a little somberly. "Yeah...I get that. Think of it as, instead of being all hating high school, think about how happy and grateful you are to be out of there and that bullshit and now you're with people who are way cooler than high school." She grins and does a little dance to prove her coolness.
"Yeah, I know. I should. I just suck at that."
(Why is my automatic response "I know" when half the time, I don't know?)
"You wanna move up here, so I'm not standing alone?" she gestures to her side, facial expression subtext: please stop feeling sorry for yourself and have fun. Gyna is right (she's frequently right). I take a hesitant step forward, because stepping forward means accepting that I cannot change the fact that I'm still an emotional trainwreck and a crazy over-reacter person who needs to keep her silly little thoughts to her silly self.
I relax. I'm still sad. But relaxed. People are hanging out of their apartment windows, cheering wildly, singing along with the band, waving their arms like the assholes they are, and I'm in pleasant awe of the social diversity of the crowd. Crazy. I like it when bands like the Popes get bigger, after being around for fifteen years. Jesus, fifteen years.
The show ends, and immediately Gyna scans the crowd again. "There he is! Ginger! Go talk to him!"
"I'm not going to talk to him."
"You have to. You just have to. Come on!"
"No, I don't have to. I don't even remember what he looks like. Why do I have to talk to some dude I don't know?"
"Because, he was totally...whatever, look, he's right over there. And there's the other guy! The guy with the hat! But he's not wearing one right now! Come on, you sally, talk to them."
"What would I say? Oh, hello, remember me, I'm the drunk girl that forced you into a conversation about movies?" I am deeply embarrassed that I even exist right now, after being so foolishly temperamental just ten minutes earlier. I look at the ground and shake my head. "I'm not going over there."
"Come on! What the fuck? Just go over there."
"What's the point? You think we're going to like, make friends with them or something?"
"Who cares? What's the big deal?"
"I'm embarrassed. I don't want to. I was a drunken fuck, and I really don't recognize them." Which is half true. They looked familiar when I glanced over there, and I panicked.They wouldn't want to talk to me anyway. If they wanted to, they would. They probably went home and made fun of me, and talked about the ridiculous, annoying girl that talked to them at the bar that one time. Whatever. Pout about, why doncha?
"You're a wuss."
"Yes, I am."
"You're either going to go talk to them, or you're buying a hippy dress."
"I'm not doing fucking either of them," I snap, and regret it. "Sorry. I'm just not."
Gyna is resigned. "Fine." I know she's just trying to be helpful and fun and spontaneous, but I'm not in the mood for it. As we weave through the crowd down the street, out of the festival, I can't look up. I'm afraid I'll cry. I don't know why. Like I said before: It's a fucking stupid fear, irrationally conjured up by a fucking stupid girl.