Life After Bob

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003 | Family

Life after Bob is pretty much the same as life with Bob. We still live together, still sleep together, watch Lydia together over lunch, and talk of our next trip to Europe. Well… it looks like the song’s right. Breaking up is hard to do. No sooner than we decide to call it quits than we start having wild breakup sex and communicating beautifully. At one point I tearfully tore Bob away from my special place and said I needed to talk with him about why we were breaking up, that I needed to understand that more was happening than just my wanting to be with someone younger. After all, we’re such good companions. There is the basic communication pattern–to misinterpret, get resentful, and then withdraw.  Although the age difference is a factor, if we communicated better, it wouldn’t matter, right? Bob asked if I wanted to give it a try, to work on the relationship more. I couldn’t promise anything. We’d already worked this out in therapy three years ago, our basic communication challenges, and have since slowly slipped back into old unhealthy patterns. There’s something in our union that produces this way of relating to each other, some assertion of ego that refuses to back down. I don’t think the age difference is really as big a deal as how we’ve defined ourselves in relation to each other. He wants to stay the teacher, and I want to feel like I’m with an equal, not my professor. I asked him if we could play it by ear. All of the talk over the past while has produced very little, while our interactions over the recent while were producing quite interesting and enjoyable results. So back to limbo, for a while anyway.

Bob and Reese have flown off to New York for a few days, to stay with the Rockefeller, who is taking them to see Bernadette Peters in Gypsy, and Avenue Q. Reese will come back belting out “I have a dream…” The other parents must think we chain him to Judy Garland videos.

Meanwhile, back at the Coco Nest…

D has been coming over every Monday, after his shock treatment, to nap in my studio while I work at my desk. I trim his neck hair, give him a shower, lunch in the garden, and then drive him back to the halfway house. I’ve been seeing a lot of him lately, taking him to movies, drives along the coast… Last week I shot 50 scenes for a video, extreme close ups of his extreme furriness. No tracking, panning, or zooming–just looking, Ozu at the Lone Star. I turned a fan on him, so his fur swayed gently in the breeze. He’s developed a tremor, too, from the shock treatments, so the images are not only blurry, they’re also quite jiggly. Tomorrow I’m recording the sound. I’m going to call the video Tremor.

The past few weeks haven’t been very eventful, except for a visit from Gail, the Canadian writer, who stayed with us for a week and gave a knock out reading at Small Press Traffic, and a drive down to LA for Dean’s opening at Christopher Grimes and the Lee Bontecou show at the Hammer–both shows sublime, really unique visions. You have to stop for lunch next time you drive down there, in Los Banos, at the Basque restaurant in the Sheep Farmer’s Hotel. Lunchers sit at long tables with rancher dudes in ten-gallon hats and dusty boots. The waitress asked if I wanted lamb, pork, or chicken. “Lamb” I said, and she brought me a green salad, vegetable bean soup, lamb stew, french fries, two giant lamb chops, beans, cheese, dessert, and a carafe of very fruity, light, but delicious and slightly bubbly house-made wine, all served family style. I know I’m forgetting something. $12.

Nayland’s videos in the Yerba Buena Center anniversary show have been a high point in art viewing this month, although the other work in the show, except for Barry’s, is generally dismal, unimaginative and just stupid. In one of Nayland’s videos, two hands tightly clasp a bunny toy against a furry belly, which fills the frame, the bunny slowly torn apart by the clawing paws, as a voice repeats over and over “You… are… my… lucky… star.” A very simple piece, but a powerful, erotic, and queasy distillation of longing and loss.

So I don’t know. It seems likely that Bob and I will indeed separate. But then it doesn’t. I love my life with him, but I’m loving having this big bed to myself this week. My chaotic relationship polygon will eventually work itself out. I do feel closer to resolution, although chaos has become something more manageable than grief.

Nighty night.

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