Saturday, November 21, 2009

Baby Boy: Turn Me On With Your Electric Feel

It's safe to say that there are relatively few things in life that are "safe." This has become, for me at least, something of a guiding principle. Still, it's hard to affirm the radical contingency of life itself without at the same time, and through the same gesture, condemning oneself to a nihilistic cynicism or a destructive despair. To affirm danger is also to acknowledge the danger of such an affirmation. A double affirmation, one which tempers the other.

I've recently started to seriously thinking about thinking outside linear or teleological schemas of development or progress. In this effort, I've taken-up the (dangerous) task of thinking things in terms of turns, or tropes. It is an emphasis on the revolutionary possibilities of affirming radical contingency. If theories of development tell us that "we are making progress" or "from x, to y" such thinking presupposes a stable logic of inference and causality, but ultimately a logic of presence: if x, then y will be present.

Thinking outside the "if, then" conceptual schemata is difficult, mostly because it is the very structuring grammar of our lives. But also, because such grammar affords a comfort, a safety: If I work hard, then I will be provided for in retirement (the American Dream as a paradigmatic example of the way this thinking operates, and, as the recent debates around Healthcare Reform have demonstrated, how ideological such thinking is). If, then thinking is a logic that seeks to master the unpredictability of the world, as if the cosmos itself were governed by this grammatical contract (as if, for instance, pension plans were a "natural" and necessary fact of employment, and not the result of a historical struggle for workers rights).

Politically, such thinking is disastrous. But this thinking isn't just political. It dominates our thinking about just about everything--so much so that even the religious sphere, where resistance to such contrived grammatical edifices (idols) would presumably be most at home: even the miracle, the event that defies the causal order of nature itself, is assimilated into this grammar such that it reads: if you have faith, then you can move mountains (not, as it Biblically reads, that faith and its acts are simultaneous events).

I should start again, perhaps, to say that the event of this entry is also the event of the joys of thinking in terms of turns. J. and I spent a wonderful few days together, re-turning (to) a sort of care-free laziness that we enjoyed so very much in the summer. Lots of time was spent lounging in bed, alternating, in turns, between childish giddiness, intimate conversation, and life-defying sex.

In his turn(ing) I've learned so much about J. and about myself in the process of learning the angels that cut and refract him/me. Tomorrow we buy tickets to NY--or, rather, we talk to my Momma who will buy us tickets to NY (the best x-mas present ever!). A week in NY, a city he's never been to, where my family and friends are. Where the whole ideal of a world I wish for was born for me. And to meet my parents, to eat some home-cooking, drink some expensive wine, and smoke some killer pot. To get to know my family--I think, reader that he is, that he'll notice immediately how much of my father's son I truly am. But, also to see that though it isn't always easy, it's possible for one's family to be supportive of their gay son, to welcome him and his boyfriend with the same generosity of spirit that has always marked my parents.

I was somewhat upset that I wasn't invited to Thanksgiving with his family--and just generally hurt that his family seems to view me as a big, bad bogey monster. Being the sort of person that I am, I want so desperately to prove them wrong, to show them that I'm a good guy who loves their son, that I've got a good future, a supportive family, and that I'm good for their son. Maybe it's the Christian (still) in me, that desires the chance to convert them. And maybe it isn't even a matter of conversion (as if from a "pro" to a "con") as it is a matter of re-position the notion of homosexuality, of turning on its head the notion of what it is to be a homo. And if that is the case, then it is the revolutionary in me that desires the chance to meet them.

Upset, but (as has been the case) not incapable of talking it out with J. Indeed, that is the joy of our relationship: we seem to have the brilliant ability to talk, to listen and respond (dare I say, our response-ability?). I said to him last night, when he asked about my time with my ex, that in fact it wasn't a relationship: we tried to obliterate our differences, I said, as if we could become one person, so that there wasn't a "we" so much as a "super I". This is the first relationship I've attempted, I continued, because we actually respect our differences, and rather than try to cover them over, we make space for them, we negotiate them, we actually _relate_ to one another. It was hard to stay upset. I can see things from his perspective, and he can see things from mine, and though they may not always overlap, we are able to figure out a manner of positioning ourselves such that these differences aren't crippling but rather constitute our interests (our inter-esse, the things we have in common, that are between us as the Latin suggests).

When we spoke of the possibility of living together, we actually articulated our fears, the chief two being a) loss of personal time and space, and b) that if living together didn't suit us that this would be a "referendum" on our relationship. The first isn't so much a concern to the extent that we will both be keen to acknowledge the others need for time and space. The second, however, is somewhat frightening. Often, I think, living together is seen as "the next step," a "step" in the development of a relationship: if we're in love, and if we spend time at the others place, then living together is the "natural" next step.

When talking this out I suggested that it isn't the only way of thinking about things: that in the first place, the concern isn't over living together so much as it is "is our relationship strong enough/ready/et cetera" for this increased degree of intimacy (qua proximity and, well, sharing a bathroom is a rather intimate sort of thing). It would be a mistake to over-freight the change; rather, we should look at it like we did all the other changes that we navigated. It simply takes some of the pressure off. Indeed, it would be the Christian in me to look for the big moment, the conversion point that definitively tells the "truth" of a thing. And supposing that living together wasn't our cup of tea? Certainly this doesn't mean that our lives together are some invalidated, over-ruled by this.

But all of this is to get ahead of myself: I haven't even decided whether or not I want to leave my place, curb my excess furniture, et cetera. I haven't decided whether or not I actually _do_ want to live with J., though I am rather confident that I could live with him.

We will see how all of this turns out. But then, that's the challenge, to attend to the turns and re-turns--to dance, dance, dance--and love the pleasure of the movement itself.