With this openness, which is new to me, comes a whole new world, light years away from how I conducted myself in relationships. That world is called no apps, no websites, no games, no bullshit, and no fantasy. I thought the first four would be the hardest to deal with because it had to do with other people and it’s easy to rail at others, who seem to be the cause of your misfortune. But that last one, no fantasy, that quiet guy holding a beer at your dinner party, taking up no space in conversation or energy, that is much, much harder. It’s harder because it’s about yourself and how you parse the world.
I’m not talking about sexual or erotic fantasy here. Rather, what I mean is the fantasies we engage in when we meet someone and our mind starts to wander from room to room, possibility to possibility, hypothetical scenario to hypothetical scenario. This ‘no fantasy’ idea is made seemingly inescapable by the way we spend talking to others — that is, via the Internet or digital words through phones. All we have is that person’s words and their other digital accessories — photos, tweets, updates.
The idea for this piece really came from a fantasy about someone with whom had been talking sporadically for a while. I kept on treating her like I knew her. My mind made every possible interaction or scenario seem familiar. I know her, right? I’m thinking about someone I know. Actually. I don’t. It’s just words. I know her words. I met her a long time ago for about 3 shakes to a millisecond and since then, it’s just been words.
Fantasy looks like reality because the words are real, coming from a real person with a data plan and a semi-interesting life. The bitter sweetness of fantasy is that it’s quaint and yet all happening in your mind, most probably far away from the person about whom you’re thinking. Fantasy seems to share the same bar stool with reality. Sitting next to each other, looking the same, drinking the same beer, but they’re two different people with two different sets of buttcheeks.
You have to change your perspective to know the difference.
When the thought of this woman, or any other person whom I barely know, or just saw on the bus, or caught her looking my way, comes to mind, I close the door. Every single door. And just like after all your guests have gone home, you turn around and look at your home. And you realize that it’s just you and this space.
Having no fantasies is lonely, grueling, and empty. It’s counter-cultural and it’s counter-intuitive. It’s the former because what’s wrong with a little daydream about that person you met seven months ago, going for an imaginary walk with you? And it’s the latter because it’s so much easier to go on the imaginary walk than deal with the possibility that your paths may never cross, that they’ll marry someone else.
So, I’m open to be with someone. And until that happens again, there will be no buffers, no antidotes, no human-sized fillers, no medication. It will be me, my empty home, and no fantasy.
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