Review: House Party Oregon Street
A House Party, Oregon Street.
By Ryan Perry
When suicidal, there is an inability to distinguish between Whataburger and body odor, a color blindness that makes Kurt Kobain singing “Dumb” a message from the ether. Kurt was a clever man, who left a world much different then the one I was leaving. I was leaving a house party, one where I was, as usual, uninvited, and holding up the air on a balcony, trying to listen for some other message, some yin to Kobain's yang. As I left, driving down I-10, I realized that there was no corollary, no parallel to the unwieldy realness of my self loathing.
Let us beat the speed of light for a moment and go back to changing it all as everyone wants to do, go back to writing the fictions, playing dress up for who you want to be, and hide there for a minute because it seems to me the truth is in other words. In other words, it is whatever unspeakable word sprints through your mind the most, the favoritest of you mental vocabulary, the last word you would say at a house party.
This word was the one swelling my solar plexus, swallowing me up until the moment when the man who asked me to bring him to this party jumped up upon the wrought iron balcony ledge and asked if anyone was impressed, asked if anyone thought he could. No one was impressed, the proper reaction hidden behind too much makeup and desire for a good time, too many tight shirts, short skirts, and unspeakable words so that when the glitch did come, they could only scream at the shock of the clothe-less emperor's reality.
SHE HAD SAID
This all occurred after the random, drunken, Mexican man, who leaned upon the car at the meet up spot, stumbled uninvited, much like myself, into a car on a tangent from his Juarez destination. There was a sober grace to the act that made it seem calculated, not by him, but by some other force. No one knew his name, no one asked, but before he left the party he met everyone within photographs, his eyes closed, an eighteen pack Coors Light Box for a hat.
What I noticed was his stigmata. The wine that had spilled on his white shirt around his liver. This spot, below his right arm, his dominant one, the one lighter than the arm with the watches weight that was stolen and went unnoticed because it seemed to not be his compass. This return to a truant state aided him on his return trip, a uncontrollable stroll just faster than the Pabst Blue Ribbon cans that were flung after him. He never looked back, the gravities and hills were too steep.
There were, of course, conversations. I spoke with Emily, about food science and the benefits of vegetarianism. Some other lady, a business major, told me about the horrors of modern advertising, just prior to discussing her goal of being a P.R. representative for a Fortune 500 company. Then there was the model, who spent an hour trying to get the perfect selfie, posing with a dog, posing with herself at an angle. All the while there was a backdrop of comments, random and meaningless, Jabberwocky talk, from law students back from the year 2020, future surgeons, future actors.
IT WAS NOT THAT IT DID OR DID NOT MATTER.
Then there was the music, the men wanting to hear what the women wanted to hear so they could have the chance to show that they knew the lyrics, at least. For the songs everyone knew, some men opted to dance, to free style cipher. The easier to recite, the easier to enter autopilot. That youth, that I no longer have, all short term memory, like alcoholic graveyard-shift clerks, who shivers at some customer familial to a memory they cannot remember. It was all future, dying and fucking themselves into some impermanence too well decorated near the seems.
So what was the climax? Maybe it was the man laying on the floor, his cock hanging out. Maybe it was when they poured beer on him. Perhaps this form of public humiliation has a sea change from participant to voyeur as one ages. I felt nothing. Maybe humiliation is some kind of genealogy, a family tree that branches from youth and blooms when you are older and alone. Maybe the pant-less one was right when he could only say, “I don't know what they are talking about”, when asked what had happened. Maybe, like a few hundred years ago, the whole world was wrong.
Maybe the climax was when the witnesses went back to talking, and the man went back to not knowing, and I returned to the thought at hand, that is to say, the fiction.
When they began to speak in numbers, like lottery ball readers, I knew it was nearing the end. You could hear their naked selves, asking to friend them, or like them, or message them. Because somewhere this would all continue, this all-future parade. One must simply walk alongside it and it will never change, but then when it never does, they have to. Maybe that is the fear, the climax.
IT NEVER HAPPENED
And I left it all, and Kurt sang to me alone. I closed one eye, to cut away depth, to fake myself into seeing clearly. When Nirvana came I opened my eyes and veered right, the direction of the eye that had been close, the direction of the one way that would take me right back. As usual, before that could happen, the lights caught up to my vision, and it all became linear again, albeit speeding, my slow slog towards myself