when i see people equating ‘boredom’ with ‘getting lost’ when talking about writing i think HAVE YOU NEVER ACTUALLY BEEN LOST?!?
Olympic gold and silver medalist, Diane Dixon.
Wearing creations by Dapper Dan of Harlem
we have this new intern at work that i liked immediately but couldn’t tell why exactly. something to do with her expression when she asks me where something is in the office and i try and figure out what the item is — less a language barrier thing and more me refusing to believe what she’s asking for is actually what she’s asking for based on the context. “Kayla do we have a mirror?” “A labelmaker?” “No a mirror.” “A labelmaker?” “A MIR-ROR.” “Oh, a mirror? No we don’t have a mirror.”
today she came into the kitchen and say, “Kayla, I’m sad.”
she was sad about the ferry in south korea, all those missing school kids. “300” she said. i know, i said, it’s awful, and she kept standing there, sort of sniffling, saying, “It’s just so sad.” i didn’t know what to say, was really overwhelmed by someone showing emotion in an office — showing compassion. literally nobody in the office where i work has ever expressed an iota of concern for someone else. not someone in the office, not other people in new york, not strangers in korea, not anyone. they’re stressed or unhappy but they’re never sad. offices don’t deserve your private grief. two days after spencer died my boss at the fader stopped by me on her way out and said, “hey, how’re you doing?” and i said, “great!” and then 5 minutes after she left i realized she was probably asking because maud had told her that our friend died. but what do you do at a desk? “GRIEF IS HELL. GRIEF IS THE BODY MOVING FORWARD AS THE BRAIN BENDS BACK. THIS PLACE IS STUPID AND BULLSHIT AND NONE OF YOU MATTER AND I CAN PROMISE YOU ANIMAL COLLECTIVE TRULY, TRULY DOES NOT MATTER.” offices, like galleries, can’t handle private grief. when you grieve inside them they retract and bounce it back at you until your grief doubles and quadruples and octuples. your grief is like the sun on the snow of their white walls, burns through them as it makes them brighter. subways, stairwells and dark bar booths are solid places to cry. all the dirty yellow in new york absorbs grief and surrounds you with it, and it’s comforting to relate to the carved up table your drink is on, and the floor. some office bathrooms are dirty enough to suffice but not mine — it’s very white and square and when I was trying not to cry in there after talking to the intern, i thought about how i wanted to read a book by her, and also now i think of that movie that i still haven’t seen — i’m a cyborg and it’s okay— anytime anyone divulges their compassion, like A telling the room how she’d been dry-heaving about Syria all week — except then i thought, why are you telling us this? all of us. why are you making your grief public, when dry-heaving for people living in a warzone feels so private. what is it in me that sees people sharing that kind of anguish and immediately thinks, you’re just showing off. i wonder what that is. a jealousy for people who feel comfortable revealing how meted in the world they are. and i know it’s contentious, and the current mode of thinking is that telling people to keep pain private is a gendered method of oppression, but also on the other hand i think about dodie’s line “the density of secrets” — and i know there’s power in the private and keeping some things to yourself only allows you to channel them more forcefully at whatever needs puncturing, lasering, destroying. it does not necessarily mean hiding it away in a music box forever. it can simply mean harnessing your grief to blow something up.
which is what the intern did, i guess. i felt blown up. her standing there and me so clueless as to what to say, i actually said ‘yeesh’ when she said 300, ugh, her saying they’re 17 years old, and now it’s 3am there, hard to… and i told her if she wanted to get out of the office for a bit she should, just get out of here and walk around, but that felt lame, too, and then she started to walk away and stopped and said, “That’s too young to die.” and then someone put her to work taping up foam core for a mock-up.
i feel crazy when i think about her saying that. not the fact of what she said but the fact of her saying it in that space. when i was walking to the office this morning i was worried something terrible was going to happen because everything felt so charged - thinking maybe all the computers would collectively malfunction. i like this intern because i know somewhere in her hyper-feeling heart she’s like, fuck all this noise, or however you say fuck all this noise in korean, and the part of my daily-souring heart that’s like, seriously, fuck ALL this noise, can hear it. sounds like crying in an office bathroom in both languages, probably.
Max Steele: look out for his zine scorcher coming out may 17.