Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dating Life: Me As The Fictional Bob Dylan

I'm sitting in the back seat of a limo. I'm in my favorite Bob-Dylan-as-Cate-Blanchett mode all tricked out in dark shades and little suit. The interviewer is sitting across from me. He is my age and wearing a nice all wool gray peppered suit. He happens to be the guy who lasted a week, the last guy I was dating. It's early in the morning. The only thing that would make this post better is if Mr. Gryphon were sitting to my right as John Lennon, but he says playing John makes him sad. Since John/Mr. Gryphon isn't here for this post, I'll have to do this interview sober.

Interviewer: "You realize more than anything that you were inconsiderate."

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan: "Inconsiderate?! I don't realize anything at all. I just care about what's going on right now. I know you don't realize anything. You think you can take these ideas and afix them to me like some kind of Avery Label generated by Microsoft Word, but you can't. You don't know anything. I don't blame you for it. Everybody's got to make a living."

Interviewer (wrinkling his brow, his thumbs blunted as he unconsciously pulls on his tie): "You're not making any sense. Are you saying you don't care?"

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (squinting, then blinking rapidly for a moment behind my shades): "I'm confused by some of those words. Words like 'inconsiderate' and 'concerned' and 'care' and 'put me on the spot.' I don't know what those words mean. They have as much meaning to me as 'smoked clams.'"

(At this point in the interview I'm reminded of a quote from Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass "When I use a word it means just what I chose it to mean - neither more, nor less." I'm chain-smoking incessantly, of course.)

Interviewer (starting to glare, but uncomfortably seated): "I think we all know what 'smoked clams' means.

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (I look down at my hands, my cigarette; I lick my lips): "Do we?"

Interviewer (glowering at me, raising his voice as if I can't really hear him): "I told you I don't like people touching my stuff, especially my knives and pots, and I never needed your help doing the dishes. I told you NO!"

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (my eyes pleading like Cate Blanchett, I flick my cigarette): "I just wanted to help a little. You were doing all that great cooking. I wanted to show my appreciation even if I don't know what 'smoked clams' means. I'm not a folk singer, I'm just a storyteller, and I can be a dishwasher sometimes. It's all mathematical."

Interviewer (looks down at his lap, shifts in his seat): "I was just going to say something rude about something that happened between us, something that you just don't seem to understand the meaning of, but I'll spare the readers of this blog."

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (lighting yet another cigarette, my delicate hands gently cupping the lighter): "Thanks for that. It's too bad I'm not pissed in this interview. I was really looking forward to my 15 minutes which would have included me vomiting into the camera. I've done everything else into that camera, man. Plus, I've missed my opportunity to keep yelling questions to Tom the Driver which is more interesting than talking to you."

Interviewer (agitated): "I never needed any space from you. I just needed to pay the bills and you didn't see the obvious. You didn't see the obvious. I never needed to say anything or to tell you the truth when you kept asking me 'do you want me to leave?' You should have just known."

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (I'm in the middle of a massive exhalation of smoke, I look out the window before looking back at him again): "What you just said doesn't mean anything. How am I supposed to know anything about what I should have known when I didn't. I don't have to answer to that. There's a certain class of people who read your magazine and believe in it, but I don't. You're just going to put your readers on. You're trying to put me on and I refuse to let it happen."

Interviewer (with a trace of warmth): "Do you think you'll ever be hung as a thief?"

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (everyone in the room (car) is laughing, he and I share a final moment of levity): "You weren't supposed to say that."

Interviewer (pauses first, searching my eyes behind my wayfarers): "Do you care about what you play every night?"

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (I'm feeling a surge of anger and indignation and I lean forward): "How can I answer that if you have the nerve to ask me? Did you ask the Beatles that? That's like asking me if I care about what I write. You have a lot of nerve asking me a question like that. I'm not questioning you because I'm not expecting any answers from you. I know more about you than you'll ever know about me. I know everything about you just by looking at you."

Sadly, the interview is over, but that doesn't mean I'm no longer pissed off. I step out of the car and start walking down the street. I don't look back until the Interviewer says something to me from the car.

Interviewer (looking smug): I think you either care about nothing at all, or you care so deeply that you're hiding it. Do you have any idea how self-conscious you are in everything you do?"

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (now really angry, almost shouting): Man, who cares what I think or feel? I'm not the President or head chef. Feeling deeply? Is that what this is about? General feelings like pain, remorse, and love? I have none of those feelings."

I walk away, looking awesome in my little suit with drainpipe trousers, slightly stooped posture, curly hair, ubiquitous cigarette, and shades.

Interviewer (shouting): "Judas!"

Me, the Fictional Bob Dylan (speaking deliberately, looking back at him): "I don't believe you. You're a liar."

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