The Future one night in Bristol a couple of months ago…

I will say “I will feel alone and scared and temporary and glad to be here”  Once I say this, you will clap.  Even those of you who were a bit bored will clap because it’s a comforting way to signal an ending.  You will clap as though shrugging your shoulders.  Those ten minutes are gone, now you can move on with the rest of your lives.  I will close the cover of the ipad that you have watched me scroll through.  I will walk off stage stepping over those mic cords over there.  After I leave, the stage will remain empty for a split second that you would not have noticed otherwise.  That split second will stand alone, and will seem long, and you will be relieved when Ryan will come onto the stage and be holding a glass of wine. He will introduce Robin, the next act, saying, “The next act is a good man and a good musician.”  A man with a kind face and a guitar will come onto the stage.   I will be standing in that corner over there, trying to blend in.  Many of you will remember how at the beginning I had described me trying to blend in, after I finished speaking, and you will avoid eye contact because it will be a bit awkward, or smile at me reassuringly.  Robin’s band will begin playing music and quietly my performance will disappear.  During his last song one of you will come up to me and tell me that you are a psychic. You will have an intense energy, and a rat tail with a bead on it, and be someone who I would not normally speak to. During the song you will nudge me and whisper, “I am that psychic you talked about.”  And I will be amazed that my prediction came true.  I will even briefly become superstitious and wonder if you are someone very important for me.  The music will end, Ryan will come up on stage, and you and I will begin chatting. You will ask me about theatre, and then you will begin quoting to me from Shakespeare, while eating a yoghurt.  I will say I am going to the washroom and I will be relieved to lose you.  I will walk into the washroom to look in the mirror.  I will check my smile, ruffle my hair, and wonder if and how I am getting older.  When I exit the washroom I will look around for someone I know, and I will take a seat with Ryan.  I will then no longer want to talk about my performance, and I will only want to talk about my performance, but I will get a beer and the beer will dull this narcicism.  The dancers will begin to dance and I will wonder if I could do any of the moves they are doing, and if I should try some of them later, when I am alone.  I will run into a girl I know from theatre in Bristol, but I will not be sure if she works for Mayfest or Arnolfini.   The gig will end and we will all applaud.  From my seat in the dark, I will feel tired, and begin wondering whether there is a television set in my hotel rooms, and which programmes I will watch. I will watch the musicians pack up and mentally reference all the other times I have stayed in a hotel with a television set, and decide the time I had made most productive use of this resource was when I watched “Jolie Femme”, which was Pretty Woman dubbed into French.  I will take a sip of beer, which will be luke warm, and I will decide that once I do get to the hotel I will make myself a cup of tea and will continue to read the theory book I am avoiding. As I make this plan I will doubt that I will follow it through.   I will worry that I will just watch a reality programme and continue to lose trust in myself, increment by increment, and I will be annoyed at myself for both the fact that I set rules for myself and that I break them.  These thoughts will happen quickly, during the time it will take Robin and Ryan to pack up Robin’s guitar, and they will not be quite complete, but the thought loop will be predictable, when Ryan interrupts me to tell me that one of the musicians knows about a place that is open late and we are all going there for a drink.  I will look around the bar and there will be about four people who I will recommend as audience members from before. The performance will crawl back into my mind like an insect and I will also be a little drunk and feel like I did something embarassing, like standing up on stage in front of people is embarassing.  I will tell Ryan that I am still feeling a little sick, and I will wonder whether or not this is techincally a lie.  I will ask him for the key to my hotel room.  Ryan will tell me he’s disappointed in me as he hands me a plastic card with the hotel insignia on it and a swipe strip.  I will consider changing my mind and I will remember that all of the most fun nights I have had are generally nights when I felt like going home. I will wave goodbye to everyone and walk out alone.  I will suddenly be very aware of being alone in this city.  It will be snowing.  I will walk in the snow next to the water and notice a yellow house boat with a light on inside. The night will be still in the slow motion of a snowflake falling to the ground. I will walk past someone who is begging in the square and time will become fast again. I will briefly consider inviting them to use my room in the hotel.  And then I will wonder where I would sleep, and I will realise that I need to quiet irrationally charitable impulses as often as I need to quiet irrationally destructive ones.  I will walk across the square into the warmly lit lobby and smile at the female desk clerk who will be wearing a blue polyester suit and an orange kerchief.  She will tell me to walk to the wood panelled elevator and press 12.  A man in a grey suit and shiny shoes will enter the elevator with me.  I will wonder what my life would be if I asked this man to stay the night.  I will think through the possible repercussions – a stain on my new marriage, immediate regret, possibly getting murdered.  Or even falling in love.  I will look at this man’s shiny shoes and wonder if he and I could ever fall in love.  The man will notice me staring and I will think, who knows if he would even come to my hotel room?  Which will seem exciting.  The elevator will stop at floor 8 and he will politely nod at me and exit. I will focus on the lit up numbers that will remind me of the elevator at my grandmother’s place, my most consistent and longest relationship with the lit up numbers of an elevator.  I will get out, walk down the blindingly lit hall, and look for my room number.  1246.  I will swipe the card and walk in.  The room will be smaller than I’d expected.  I will walk to the corner and look for a herbal teabag. I will try to follow the instructions next to the teabag to put the wireless network number into my computer.  I will be successful and then appalled that I have to pay £15 for wireless access. I will go to the washroom and force myself to brush my teeth with the little toothbrush in a bag.  I will turn off the light of the washroom and I will look at the bed. I will grab the remote control from the side table facing the bed.  I will take off my clothes and I will get underneath three layers of blankets. I will fit myself into a very tightly made bed, like a letter in an envelope, I will think. I will turn on the television and a panel show will be on. I will turn off the television.  I will look around the room, take note of the door, the closet, the television, the window and the vertical drapes.  I will turn off the lights.  I will lay in the dark.  I will wonder if anyone could ever feel at home in this room.  After a moment I will turn towards the door and say a prayer, and then I will cross myself as I always do, even though I’m not Christian or Catholic or anything else.  In the warm quiet dark I will think about this temporary bed and I will feel relieved to be here. I will feel alone and scared and temporary and glad to be here.

 From the Gorilla Perfumes Golden Hour Tour, October 25th, 2012, at Café Kino

 

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