Thursday, September 18, 2008

Connected, Un-

I was coming up in the elevator from the parking garage at work yesterday morning, and two hot guys got on the elevator at the lobby level. Only one of them reached out to push a button for a floor, and I assumed they were together. I didn't really make that assumption because they didn't push separate floors: I made it because they were both very attractive, and it's rare for any hot guys to get on the elevator in my office building.

One of the guys was probably in his late thirties or early forties. He was tall, perhaps 6'2, and muscular with a shaved head, a blue, embroidered shirt, and jeans. The other was likely in his mid-twenties, equally tall, but very slender, with short, carefully groomed hair, trendy glasses, a bright white t-shirt under a light gray cardigan with thin white stripes, thin jeans, and Keds. He looked a lot like the model. And he was wearing some sort of cologne with a smell that was pleasantly murky and that you would not have been able to detect unless he was standing right next to you in a crowded elevator, as he was standing next to me.

I got a much better look at the younger guy (who, I believe, would be considered more classically handsome than the man with the shaved head, but who would generally be -- and was -- less attractive to me) because he was on the elevator longer. As it happened, only one of them had pushed a button because the other was going to a floor that had already been selected. They weren't together after all, which is what you'd normally expect from two handsome strangers on an elevator.

I have long been aware of my own propensity to try to find a connection between any two things which seem out of place. I suspect this to be a natural tendency, but I have no data to back up that suspicion, and it may very well be another tendency (one that I'm sure is nearly universal): the tendency to assume that one's own experience is typical. Or what I sometimes call the unfortunate habit of extrapolating the universe from a single data point. I'd like to think that I'm somewhat less guilty of that particular bad habit, but here again, I have no evidence.

I think I first began thinking about false connections twenty or so years ago when I was standing on the platform at the Kendall Square T station in Cambridge. The platform was relatively full, and I remember looking towards the opening from which the train would approach and seeing a sort of illuminated golden mist, as if someone had sprayed finely ground gold into the air and then shone a light through it. I never did figure out exactly what it was, but it may very well have been a cloud of dust with a yellow-gold light shining into it.

In any case, I hadn't seen anything like it before, and it didn't seem to belong in a T station, and as I was thinking about it, I turned around and saw a man with an artificial arm. I realize that people who use artificial limbs are not all that uncommon, but this wasn't a man wearing an artificial arm. This was a man holding an artificial arm in his hand. He was turning away from me, and he was wearing a thick blue jacket of the sort that blue-collar workers often wear, so I couldn't see whether he had one regular arm or two. So I don't know whether he was carrying his own artificial arm, or that of someone else, but neither of those sights is something I'd seen before or since.

I was struck with the instant desire to find the connection between the golden glow and the man with two or three arms, and I was immediately afterward struck with the utter ridiculousness of my initial impulse. And then I laughed at myself and thought that it would make an interesting party game to come up with a plausible (or implausible) story to connect these two, or any other two, clearly unrelated phenomena. And then I realized that I very rarely went to parties in those days, so it just became something to think about occasionally.

Just now it occurs to me that linking unrelated phenomena into a plausible or implausible narrative is just what the brain does during dreams, so I suppose the tendency is universal after all, at least in the unconscious mind. Personally, I believe that dreams are merely the minds way of flushing out that which is no longer needed, so I think that it's folly to try to find meaning in them, but this is one of those areas where I'm perfectly to say YMMV, live and let live, and so on and so forth.

I hope you weren't expecting me to arrive at some sort of conclusion here. I just started with talking about two hot guys and let my mind wander and my fingers try to keep up. You might be surprised to find that my thoughts run from two hot guys to all that rather than to matters carnal, but that's yet another example of my unfortunate lack of visual orientation. My thoughts might have gotten more carnal if the slender young man had worn a different cologne, and they would much more likely have gone in that direction if the two men had spoken to each other, provided, of course, that I liked their voices. I imagine that they both had deep voices, one smooth, the other gravelly, but, of course, I have no way of knowing, any more than I know what the hell that guy was doing with that artificial arm.


Anonymous said...

Your strange moods and their elaborations are almost as fascinating as your lurid but enchanting tales of lust. My friend, after reading about the interpretation of dreams, is convinced they have meaning. I have always adhered to and prefer your view. Last night's dream had to do with telling people at a gethering that there was to be no smoking - this is California after all. No doubt that means I don't want a dog to raise his leg and piss on my shoe.

The Neighbors Will Hear said...

Anon, I don't really approve of involving animals in your fantasies, but I'm pretty sure that if you post an ad on craigslist, you can find a guy who'll pretend to be a dog and piss on your shoe. Enjoy!

Will said...

"and it's rare for any hot guys to get on the elevator in my office building."

Except, of course, when the door opens and you get on.