Sunday, August 16, 2009

As I lay convalescing, single, and stony broke, my attentions are forced wincingly outward, and to the world beyond the walls of my flat.

Life in New York City comes with a free subscription to the nagging sensation that, somehow, you're constantly missing out. (I'll grant that the feeling is probably not unique to Ewe Nork.) Clearly, there's always some event on somewhere, or some social engagement that will be the answer to your plaintive mutterings for a better scene than the one you're at. Friends you haven't seen in a while or people you'd like to meet are all there, gathered around your framed, sepia tone portrait perched wistfully atop a bedoilied brandy stand. Remarks are passed about your supposed whereabouts, and, shrugging their perfect bare shoulders, elegant beauties in backless formalwear pour out your portion of potent potables onto the parquet.

Of course, this is a janked, grass-is-always-greener, knee-jerk reaction to the apparently ceaseless hustle and bustle. Yet, even those of us not prone to acute egomania will, invariably, hear that they've missed a favorite band playing the nearby venue enough times to begin perceiving the raw tonnage of cultural opportunities slipping through their fingers.

With practice, you can dismiss the notion handily-- even to the point of feigning disdain for the social trappings of a city to whom you pay through the nose for rent. For me, it's gotten to the point where I can luxuriate in my gotham-given freedom-not-to-attend with a certain literary flourish and a mantra lifted from the immortal Ford Prefect: "Fuck (the geese), you can't care about every damn thing."

However, when you are truly stuck at home, or bedridden, or trapped under a file cabinet, the notion that you're a non-participant is no longer a quaint and irrational inkling, it's an inescapable fact. The city is going on out there you're missing it. The end.

To my rescue comes a host of social appliances. (Not the kind you're thinking of, you deviant. Come see me after class.) For better or worse, I can keep tabs on my compatriots by incessantly perusing their profile pages on social networking sites. Anyone will tell you that this is a crap way to make anyone feel better about anything. At the very least, it's an iron-clad confirmation that everyone else is having a better time. I had might as well stare listlessly out of a ground-floor window, pressing the fingers of one hand lightly against the glass. Certainly, I'd disturb some flâneurs and a postal worker or two and come away with a sense of accomplishment for the day.

A conversation with the immortal Bev (she's a highlander) prompted me to consider meetup sites. Sure, I'd have to wait until I was healed up enough to go meet anybody anywhere, but to pass the time I could sign up and start making plans with what like-minded and similarly-interested folks I might encounter. She even told me about a prospective meetup she had in the works with someone who was nearly her equal in terms of cultural composition. "How nice," I thought. The thought lasted for all of ten seconds. "Actually, be careful," is what I said. But, I wasn't attempting to warn Bev against all the classic dangers of meeting someone from the æther in person.

There is, of course, the nigh-obvious peril that any two persons with similar interests, leanings, quirks, etc., will, despite their commonalities, make BITTER ADVERSARIES. Who hasn't witnessed a pair of workplace rivals tearing each others' throats out and wondered at their staggering congruencies? The observation is usually followed with the whispered benediction, "Why don't they just fuck and get it over with?" My memory is pockmarked with instances of personalities that should've gotten along and utterly didn't. Surely, the meetup sites must conceal hotbeds of noxious hepatic air-- in the form of potential interpersonal rancor, that is-- lurking tantalizingly underfoot.

Why not encourage this?

If dynamics such as these are the ineluctable conditions of congregation, why not afford them a venue for their further development and study? I propose The site would mirror other meetup sites in so much as groups would be allowed to coalesce based on mutual interests, shared passions, political inclinations, etc. However, participation would be predicated on the acknowledgment of a baseline likelihood for encountering acrimony, and quite possibly, violence. This is where the character of the sites would diverge sharply, because I foresee no direct corollary between the implied dynamism of the unifying hobby or interest, and the level of vitriol to which it's members may aspire. For example: I could easily envision a klatsch of monster truck enthusiasts having a tough time working themselves into a lather over anything. The associated activities are largely spectator-driven, and inherently cathartic. Meanwhile, it does not take much effort for me conjure up the image of a parliament of postgraduate-degree-seeking fibers majors overcome with bloodlust, and putting each others' eyes out with finest rosewood knitting needles.

Some might mistake the premise of beatup for that of any fight club, or otherwise pugilistic social entity. This is a misconception to be avoided. While the fight club might emphasize actualization through combat and confrontation, it gives a short shrift to the notion of loathing-- or as I like to call it: the sweet science. And, rather than emphasizing technique garnered over extended tutelage, would, by reflecting a larger, if not universal social dynamic, encourage its denizens to let slip into guano loco nearly immediately. In so doing, might foster an environment of improvisation and innovation unhindered by the fetters of "traditional" combat.

Thankfully, I have neither the inclination nor the wherewithal to play founder to this seedling invention. Several seconds of investigation have revealed that the domain is probably available, for a price, as there seems to be some kind of placeholder site hanging out at, not doing anybody any favors. Furthermore, I won’t be up for a throwdown for at least a few weeks yet. Perhaps I’ll troll the comparatively namby-pamby meetup sites looking for easy prey, an arch-nemesis, or someone with whom I may simply fuck and get it over with.

1 comment:

Bev said...

Brilliant! A blog de force.