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Detritus Peripatetica: Nothing To Report But Little Moments Of Social Brilliance

Scene: stoplight on South Lake in Pasadena.

I pull up alongside two young guys in an SUV. They start making little dog-whistles, in the way some guys do just to get you to turn and look at them. I hate that tactic. I shake my head slowly.

They get frustrated. “Yes,” the one on my side says, “you are hot.”

I laugh, and the light changes.

* * *

Scene: the Frying Pan, a sunken and raised ship which now serves as a club, Chelsea Piers.

Rob Domingo and I have the good fortune to have placed ourselves right in front of a fan before the floor gets packed. I am playing with the possibilities of the sloped iron floor, the breeze and my skirt, and my shadow as I dance.

Now the floor is packed. A wild-armed Indian guy is dancing nearby. (Give me an awkward Indian man dancing over an American one dancing anyday — they know there’s more to dancing than your legs.) I catch his eye and he comes over and flails around right in my face. Then he pulls close because he wants to tell me something.

“You are happening dancer!” he exclaims.

* * *

Scene: Bus on the way back from the Frying Pan.

A group of Black men gets on the bus behind us. Most of them talk ghetto, but a voice whiter than Mr. Rogers’ rises from among them. I turn around and find it is, in fact, one of the black guys speaking in this voice which sticks out so much from his peers. He is going on at length about animated programs. He tells his friends who did the voices on the Thundercats, that Bernadette Peters did the voice of Slappy Squirrel. He says his “source” tells him Bill Cosby lives in Chelsea. “Your ‘source,'” snorts one of his friends. His “source” also tells him Gregory Hines lives in Chelsea, and has two teenage kids. Then he goes on to talk about breast size, and rattles off a number of starlets who have had breast reduction surgery, all in the same affectless tone.

The question, which is often the question: nerd or savant?

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