Tuesday, January 18, 2011


An action or judgment that is misguided or wrong:
Kissing her was pure flubbery. | It was the worst kind of Flubbery to mix Margaritas with Xanax.
*Something such as a word, act, or belief that is patently wrong, but only realized in hindsight; an inaccuracy or mistaken belief of sometimes ginormous proportions with unforeseen consequences.
See also: Screw up, Jackass, Socially Stunted, or Bryan White

So yeah, the current theme of Bry’s world is flubbery. Despite my best intentions, efforts, and copious amounts of over thinking every little thing, there seems to be lot’s of flubbing things up going on lately. I’ve apparently been adept at flubbery my whole life, but never really sat down and looked at it. Never appreciated the sheer scope of ineptitude. I’ll start at the beginning. Well, towards the end of the beginning anyway.

In the first grade, a girl followed me all over the playground on the first day of school. I was still new to this whole girls are different than boys thing, and so I completely misread the situation. She wouldn’t leave me alone, and I was annoyed in the way that only an all knowing seven year old can be. I finally turned around and asked her to stop following me in what I thought of as a very adult manner. This promptly made her cry, which made me realize my mistake, and then I wanted to cry. In the end it just made me feel like a grade “A” idiot. She went on to be in my class for the next two years, and then again in my homeroom in high school. Nothing like a perpetual reminder of failure to brighten one's education.

In middle school, (maybe high school, not sure) I was caught in the center of the theater room when someone thought it would be funny to turn the lights out. In my stumbling search for a door, I got a handful of something soft. I thought it was the stage curtain, and thinking that it might be brighter back stage I tried to pull it aside and unintentionally got to second base for the first time. The girl in question squealed that I had her boob in hand, and out of startled reflex I squeezed a little before basically slapping it away in terror. I have no idea which boob I had a hold of, only that there was boobage and I wasn’t supposed to have it. I ran into the wall three times trying to claw my way out of there. When the lights came up I was tangled up in a few chairs and surrounded by kids laughing. I don’t like to think about it, but I’m pretty sure there was whimpering involved in my escape from humiliation. Also, I think this might be why I’ve always been more of a butt man. Just a theory.

Later in high school, I became aware through the wonders of the grapevine that there was a girl who had a thing for me. This was a new occurrence. Normally the grapevine had terribly bland things to say about me, and I didn’t know what to do with this new notoriety. I didn’t get much time to dwell on it, because that night I saw her at a volleyball game. Her friends steered her over towards me in that crowded way that they all seem so expert at, and then promptly abandoned her in a feat of choreography that still baffles me. Awkward silence ensued. After a few moments of rocking back and forth from toe to heel like a downhill racer, I finally get the nerve to ask her to go for a walk, and wonder of wonders she said yes. Giggles followed us down the aisle, and when we got to the stairs, I realized my confidence was riding high. I decided to ask her if she’d like a piggyback ride. She jumped on with a giggle and away we went. I took three stairs before I got cocky and tried to flirt. Now ask anyone I’ve ever dated, and you will find that this is just not my strong suit. It didn't occur to me that I had never flirted before, that I had no idea how to properly string together a playful conversation, and that I was woefully unprepared for any flirtation she might throw back at me. Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of this back then, so feeling like Don Juan I asked if she jumped on all the guys she took walks with. Yep, that little pearl was my first attempt at clever enuendo.

“What did you say?” I knew immediately by her tone I was in some serious trouble. “Nothing.” I replied. She got down off my back, something that I instantly hated, and asked me again: “What did you say?” I decided that I should be a man about it and face her. “What did you say to me Bryan?” So I repeated what I had said, still clueless how to extricate myself from those anger/hurt filled eyes. She turned a truly spectacular shade of red, and still unable to sort through the shame I was feeling, I braced myself for the inevitable impact of her backhand. When none came, I opened an eye and watched as she stomped back down the stairs enraged. When her friends later came to me demanding to know what I had done to her, I repeated myself in some sort of weird need for contrition. One of the girls took pity on me and explained that the entire volleyball team was now hissing at me and that I should avoid all attempts at flirting in the future. The grapevine got decidedly worse after that, and out of some sick retaliation the girl started dating one of my buddies later that week. There was nothing I could do or say to fix it, and that feeling of impotence is still one of my all time lows.

Once at a party in college, I announced to a room full of black people that I was so drunk I felt like Kunta Kinte. Now in my defense, I had no idea who he was, but I thought feeling like him must be a good thing because I was beyond tipsy and I liked his name. My drunken logic told me that no one with a name that cool could ever be sad. Reality, (and a whole truckload of verbal abuse) hit me pretty hard about then, and I will say that I have never been more insanely terrified, and yet thoroughly ashamed at the same time. I may be wrong, but after “Roots” was explained to me in horrifying detail, I’m pretty sure I told a group of guys to go ahead and jump up and down on my dumb ass for a while.

Now here I sit 20 odd years of random awkwardness later, and I’m sad to say that the streak continues. It was avoided for a while, simply by not having a life to make awkward, but here we go again. I would tell you about the latest and greatest of my never ending flub reel, but I try not to kiss and tell. At least not when I have hopes in terms of maybe kissing again someday. Sorry.

In a lot of ways this whole dating thing reminds me of high school. I know this isn’t a new comparison by any stretch, but it IS a comparison that I haven’t lived through before. For the most part I’m enjoying it, but man those social blunders and awkward moments can really come out of nowhere sometimes. So far in all of these endeavors I’m relentlessly putting myself through, I’ve learned exactly one thing of substance:

Too much thought is not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes, the only way to get through the darkness is to just feel your way.

As it happens, I have some practice with that. This time though, I think I’m gonna try the whole instinct side of feeling, and not so much with the felony kind. Jail scares the beejeebus out of me.

I’m still sticking with the whole “A Better Bryan is a Loving Bryan” theory, I’m just gonna leave more room in all of that work for actually letting myself have some fun too. That IS what dating is supposed to be isn’t it?

Still, as I sit here and contemplate going to a play this weekend, my mouth feels decidedly dry...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So I just got a book that I've been hunting for over ten years now. I first heard about it at an obscure art gallery in LA. The artist of the hour was giving a talk about his influences, and threw up some examples. I was struck dumb with sheer wonder at what I saw. It made me feel like a kid again, imagining what might be out there in the wide world for the first time. I needed more of it, and the next day set out to find it. I failed. Apparently the artist was not what you would call a capitalist. He had done a short printing run on all his books, and wasn't interested in doing a reprint. As a result, collectors hoarded their copies, and due to some weird loyalty to the work and the wishes of the artist, no one put his stuff up on the internet. Here I was with just three examples of his work, completely mesmerized, and no way to get more. I imagine that this is a bit of how junkies feel.

I decided not to give up. For the last ten years I've treated every used book store I come across as an opportunity for a treasure hunt. I search the disorganized stacks and feel like an explorer of old. Sometimes I'm a prospector trudging around in California, and others I feel like Nemo gliding through the deeps. Then, three weeks ago I found it. I found the book and delightedly took it home to learn it's secrets, to gaze upon art that hasn't been seen (at least not by me) before. I broke half a dozen traffic laws on the way home, ran inside, opened up the first page...

And went numb. The book is everything I hoped. It's filled with some of the most exacting freehand artwork I've ever come across, and the stories are wonderfully pulpy in that age of wonder kind of way. Sure there are shortcomings, but they are the kind of flaws that quickly become endearing. They are a part of the charm of the book, and as I turned past page one, I found myself searching for more. I realized that this book was one of those wondrous tomes that does what only a great book can, it was food for some small malnourished part of my soul. Something that I hadn't even realized was hungry.

I've had it for two weeks now, and I still haven't gotten past page four.

It's too good. I find that I want to savor the feast, make each moment of discovery last as long as possible. With each new revelation, I find new insight into what has come before, which leads to new anticipations. Every night as I get into bed I look at that book sitting on my nightstand and debate whether it's time to move on. To turn a page. I know that there will be nights where turning a page will take but a moment, but I know that turning others might take me a week. I'm okay with that. I looked for ten years, I can read for another ten if that's what feels right.

I say all of this to describe another process of discovery that I'm currently going through. With each new facet, with each new kernel of truth I glean, I'm finding myself pulled deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. I like this plunge, I love the feeling of anticipation as I stand on a precipice, I love the imagination that runs roughshod over my sensibilities. This is what life is supposed to be, and I've never been more excited about simply being awake.

In fact, it just might be time to turn another page...