That was pretty good. I'm being metaphorical, of course, as always. I am lucky in that way. I can talk about things indirectly using metaphor and symbol--figurative language that lets you speak two ways at once. I am bilingual that way.
Last night, I had dinner with a woman who had been literally raped in her freshman year of college. It is like everything you read about. She was in a sorority. Sororities are not allowed to have parties. Only fraternities can do that. It is impossible to imagine, no? Impossible to think that in an academic setting where every course includes some recognition large or small of gender equality, that outside the classroom, it is still the 1950s. But it is true. Universities, it seems, are unable to perform the theory. So. . . she went to a fraternity party. She says she doesn't remember anything, but a while later, she was pregnant. She said something to the fellow she was with at the party, and without saying anything to her, he gave her a couple hundred dollars. She had an abortion and left the college, one of those private $50,000 a year schools to which she had a scholarship. She talked about the whole thing matter-of-fact-ly.
She spoke of other atrocities in her life as well. Some, I must concede, I could not see as atrocities but just the sorts of things that happen to people growing up. There is one thing, though, that people should admit--men are horribly driven by sexual urges. Given the right circumstances, they will do just about anything. I think women will as well, but testosterone makes the act more aggressive.
After dinner, I went to a party for a friend who is leaving the country for three years to work in China. There I met his neighbor, an exotic and very visual woman wearing something very sexually provocative. I wanted to photograph her. My friend, however, said we were all going somewhere else without telling her, acting like the party was over. Why? I asked. She is crazy, he said. I looked at him cockeyed. So? My friend is gay, so I thought he would enjoy this overblown sense of femininity. I mean drag queens. . . whatever. The woman didn't look her age because of plastic surgeries, but he said she was in her late forties. She's screwing a nineteen year old, he said with disdain. I looked at him, he who liked my saying that everyone loves a puppy. She must have done something awful, I guessed. I thought maybe I would go to her house the next day and see if she wouldn't like coming to the studio. I thought her lovely.
All of this is to say (in a confused and inarticulate way) that the incredible varieties of experience in life can just wear you out. The woman I had dinner with now prefers quiet nights at home or small dinners with friends. I couldn't agree with her more. She reads, she says, and doesn't have a t.v. She is well versed in the arts though she is a finance major who loves reading works of science. I have piles of books that need reading, too. And a few that need writing. Public life is good for one thing, or maybe two, but in the end it is the private life that matters, if any of it matters at all. At least for now. I will take a vow of silence. I have to quit drinking. Even the Franciscans don't do that.