And, then as I am looking at the clock I rushed out, and forgot AGAIN to send it to myself! Oy, the wandering mind on a mindless writer sometimes! I stopped by the office again on my way home and finally remembered to send it to myself. It is an important chapter because it sets the tone for one of the dimensions involving two of the primary characters, Livvy and Cuddyback. While I am not going to put the who chapter here (it is over 3000 words), there are some parts that I really liked.
First, I liked the name "The days of tattoo dreams." It is called that because the beginning ruminates somewhat omniscient, on the changing nature of tattoos... where they were once considered the province of a certain subset of people, like sailors, drunk fools and bikers (among other subcultures), they have now become commonplace and the two characters discuss that a bit with this dialogue:
An interesting take, and not necessarily my personal opinion, but this comes froma girl named Livvy... her dad is a Philosophy professor and her mom is an economics professor... and I use this a bit to make her anti-popular by not getting tattoos... where once tattoos were counter culture, now a lack of them was counter culture.
I think sometimes those things people put on their bodies as a remembrance, or so they say, is really an admission of guilt. It’s like saying ‘hey, I probably did not tell you enough when you were alive that I love you and appreciate you. I feel horrible, but this little indelible ink blot blasted into my back is my penance. It proves that I really did feel that way and consequently absolves me from the guilt I feel at having neglected you while alive.’
This is in a somewhat dystopian, pre-apocalyptic Portland... and the male, named Cuddyback is from Green River, Utah and has never even considered a tattoo, he has just moved to Portland and is a little bit shocked by the cultural difference.
Some time ago, there was a little debate about using cliches. One of my main points is that all love is cliche. There is no unique love story. Love follows a similar path for most people, and if not similar to one path, then similar to an already existing path. So, I let them recognize that there are so many cliches that all existence is really a cliche. Here is an example conversation:
‘Cool. I don’t mind it really. Watching as the water pools in the leaves of the trees, and people just move on as if nothing has changed, it’s metaphorical, really.’‘Life goes on.’‘So it does as it always has.’‘And into each life…’Knowing the clichéd line about to follow, both burst into laughter. As the waitress returned to their now soaking wet table, dressed in a black crew neck with the name of the bar O’Dowd’s in the left side above the chest area and a witty little reference to the bar’s origin on the back which read ‘Where Others Slip, O’Dowd’s Grip,’ she asked them ‘you guys want another?’
As the setup there... the couple are having beer together sitting outside at a table in Portland in late spring and though sunny, it also begins to rain, as often happens in Portland. And I could have used that drearily old and cliched line about 'a little rain must fall' but thought let's point out the ridiculousness of the line, yet make it somewhat apropos at the same time... let the young couple laugh at the stupidity of it all!
I use that same concept to kind of take a satirical poke at an obvious target: chain restaurants: with this convo:
The bar was actually called O’Dowd’s Red Sun Café, part of a group of well-known restaurants, this establishment on twenty fifth street was the only one on the long list of O’Dowd’s which Livvy had ever stepped into – she thought it lacked originality to suffuse her mind with the tedium of redundancy which accompanied every restaurant having the same menu.‘Where is the creativeness in such a dull experience as to repeat the order time and time again?’ she wondered to herself and aloud at various times. ‘It is one thing to order the same beer more than once, but to have the exact same choices at over a hundred different theme bars? I’d rather be eaten alive by toothless sharks than become that unoriginal as to succumb to the numbness of perpetual similarity.’‘Well, that’d be a gruesome way to die, now wouldn’t it?’
‘Exactly my point! Sometimes the way we live is a gruesome way to die.’‘Well, since we all gotta go sometimes, live, eat, drink and love, I suppose that’s about all we can do.”He was a little confused by the attitude; he had never known someone so frank about the realities of death and the realities of life. To think that she could be so reverential about something as simple as varietal eateries, yet so inconsequential about the thought of death was both appalling and appealing in one circuitous moment of existential nihilistic utilitarianism. Quite the complex package, this seemingly incongruous conversation would, at the very least, invite a follow-up.
Maybe this is an epic fail in my attempt to take the cliched concept of a date, be it a first date, second date or thirty years into a relationship and take those things people talk about and make the cliched conversation unique, yet still on point with what happens early in relationships... learning about the person on the other side of the table.