The Party, After You Left — Song of the Fringe-dweller
Being a fringe-dweller has its perks. You’re in a position to see most of what’s going on. You have the advantage of perspective that people in the thick of things can’t see. The downside is that man is a social animal, and fringe-dwellers are notoriously wallflowery. They belong to no one and no one belongs to them — except maybe other f-ds.
Today, I was an F-D — but I didn’t want to be. I really, really didn’t want to be. I don’t know why today was my day to be the enforced loner. My perfume too strong? My expression too unwelcoming? Every one of my colleagues who looked at me today decided to sit somewhere else. I basically spent 3 hours pretending I could care less.
When I got home, this book was on my dresser — THE PARTY, AFTER YOU LEFT; a collection of cartoons by Roz Chast. I love Chast’s style. She’s the artist for Deutsche Grammophon’s "Mad About…" classical music series. She’s been published in "The New Yorker" countless times. That she has put many of her best illustrations together in a book is a glorious event to me.
If you need a theme, I guess it could be the many facets of ennui — that non-feeling/non-emotion. It’s such a non-sensation of utter nothingness. You’re not happy; you’re not depressed. You’re not interested; you’re not disinterested. It’s like sitting in body-temperature water — there’s nothing to FEEL!
How does that apply to my morning? I had to achieve a state of suspended animation in order to not notice I had a whole row to myself. I can’t even ask them why because then they would know that it bothered me and that’s just not an option. But I feel better after looking through this book. It’s cathartic. A safe drain of all the negative energy.