Sean and I used to joke about the two or three steps of separation from anyone in Portland. sometimes it's the separation of "that guy", as in, "oh, you know that guy, too?" Usually, Sean is that guy. (Once I was that guy when a co-worker of an ex-girlfriend figured out I was the guy she'd been hearing about. Not fun.)
So I'm reading along, wondering why I’ve never bumped into this director; not that I would have anything to say, but he seems like pleasant company.
One afternoon last summer I sat with Sean, a writer/critic friend (also mentioned in the book) and a cinematographer who had just finished shooting the Britney Spears movie. I had met the DP (Director of Photography) a couple of times before, first at the Post House. I assumed he was on the level of most other clients, shooting commercials for Sports Shoes and other local corporations and car dealerships. The last time I had seen him he was either just leaving or just returning from film shoot in Ireland. I had no idea he is the Director's high school/college pal and sometimes cinematographer for some star-powered Hollywood-type flicks.
Now that I think about it, I'm glad I didn't know. I might have asked him questions about filmmaking that I wasn't ready to.
Last Wednesday I dropped in on Sean at his office. We bullshitted for a while, made plans to look at my reel that night after dinner with Erin. Sean was in the middle of telling me about English Bob's suicide attempt in the middle of The Space Room when the DP called. (I've been having this weird thing happening lately where someone will pop up in front of my face - or in conversation - if I've been thinking about them more than usual. It usually happens with girls on campus. Sometimes it happens with DPs, I guess.) So Sean is hooking up his DP pal with posters of the Britney Spears movie he just shot. Strange, that he wouldn't have better contacts to get a poster. But Sean does know how to get things.
Driving back from Portland the next morning, I began to fantasize.
Kristie and I were talking about Robin last week. I said I'd write a psychoanalysis of Robin when I felt like it, and Kristie helped me look at it more objectively. In a nutshell, Robin is an overweight, insecure, vindictive Scorpio who lives vicariously through people she wishes she could be like. (PunkGoth girl is her Tyler Durden). And she's fiercely defensive of the people she chooses as friends. Kristie was (maybe still is) one of those friends while having girl trouble. Robin is the type of girl who gets into other people's ears and talks shit about the ones she decides to hate. (I’m sure she's talked plenty of shit about me; I'm also sure I’ve proven her wrong.) When kristie's girl trouble cleared up, Robin may have felt betrayed: she'd gone to such emotional effort to set herself against the object of kristie's troubles, and here was Kristie paling around with her former trouble. She and robin don't talk so much anymore.
lately I've felt more and more comfortable around Robin, even though she doesn't acknowledge my presence. We stood next to each other waiting to get on a bus. Not a word. She can't even look at me. I would laugh if it weren't so sad. I can see things in her that I really like. I've watched her let her guard down and become the most beautiful person in the room. But I am her sworn enemy; she has an investment in hating me that she'd lose by affording me more public recognition than a flippant insult.
I was thinking about all this on I-5 between here and Portland, reflecting on how her character affected the way I feel about her and about myself. She's not a complete bitch; she's just ridiculously defensive and doesn't know how else to deal with her insecurities other than shoveling calories in her face. She really is a sweet girl. I began to think about ways of interacting with her so that I could enjoy her company among our mutual friends. I could do something nice for her. But what could I possibly do that would break the wall of ice between us? it would have to be huge. It would have to be overwhelming. it would have to be ... britney.
robin is obsessed with the glamour, beauty, sex appeal, and popularity that is Britney Spears. Britney isn't even a real person, she's an icon for everything that is unattainable and desirable for women and men - but mostly for girls like Robin. Of course I hadn't thought of that while imagining I could somehow take those few steps of separation through Sean, through the DP to get Britney to stop off at Robin's house party between concerts in Portland and Seattle. I imagined the storyboards of the little house jumpin' and rockin' with gangs of people inside; a small crowd of smokers huddles on the tiny porch avoiding the Pacific North West downpour. A car drives up and bodyguards flank the passenger door as a figure emerges, cloaked in a rain slicker. The entourage squeezes through the smokers and into the little house. As the rain slicker comes off, the needle skips across the record and everyone freezes. Standing there in the middle of Robin's living room is her glamour idol Britney Spears.
Would I even bother taking credit for the surprise? Or just watch from a distance, listen to her tell the story, reveling in her sudden (vicarious) popularity? What would I do? Wait a minute.... why would I do anything like that for someone who shits on me every chance she gets? Where was that feeling of satisfaction really coming from?
I was imagining a power I would hold over people like Robin; something so overwhelmingly passive-aggressive as to crush that venomous spirit that fuels their deepest insecurities. I was imagining the fits she would go through when she found out it was me who brought her wildest dreams to her doorstep. I was imagining the enjoyment of torturing her.
Then I thought, She wouldn't give a rats ass what I’d done. Britney Spears was in her goddamn living room! I would remain nonexistent. And the fantasy went poof.
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