Suburban Exhibitionists (In The Age of Paranoia)

Posted on May 31, 2010


8:30 A.M.

Used to be, it was said, a time in which we’d collectively be up and about and drenched in sweat long before that. You’d wake up at four or five in the morning as the cock crows to harvest your day’s meals and your penniless existence. That’s not the case though this 8:30 A.M. in which I am apparently the only one awake in my neighborhood, a nest of what I’ve casually described in the past as ‘paranoid shut-ins’ and what I’m now going to describe as being one early-bird-mowing-his-lawn away from becoming a ghost town.

Since I transferred to the eight-to-five I’ve been waking up at more responsible hours and I’ve been able to join the bandwagon of full-time laborers complaining about the lazy underclass to reaffirm our own meaningless and trite routines and I must say it is quite difficult to see you all down there from my high horse.

Given that it’s Memorial Day, my usual routine denies me the ability to sleep in and I instead spend this time going on a brisk morning walk; beating the sun is the most important element—here temperatures can average at 90-100 degrees in the summer. It’s nice out, mid-70s, low humidity and an odor that almost passes for fresh air. Still, I’m glued by perspiration to my shorts and t-shirt. A short someone approaches walking opposite me.

“Morning,” the old lady says to me timidly.

“Morning,” I say.

“Nice shoes,” she says to me, somewhat surprisingly sarcastically, given that I suspected she’d be one of those “Nice Old Ladies” as opposed to, you know, a bitch.

These shoes, battered and worn, were all I inherited from my impoverished uncle after he passed away in oh-eight.

“Thanks, my uncle gave them to me when he died,” I say. And I grin: “He died in them.”

The little old bitch woman starts to walk just an increment faster than before.

It’s a reminder to me that I prefer this place to be as vacant as possible, and how it may seem to others a sorry sight when I describe it as dominated by paranoids and shut-ins, it’s quite honestly the best environment for those of us who choose to live our lives like it’s something out of a Chuck Palahniuk novel— those subversives resorting to extravagant means of escapism from their shitty lives. Example A: It’s a great place to do drugs. The people here are extremely conservative and adverse to such behavior, but because they almost never leave their homes, walking casually down the street smoking a ganja pipe is A.O.K.

Example B:  Dead Bodies. Probably easier to hide here than one would prejudge—not that I’m encouraging serial killers move here or anything or that I endorse such behavior, just saying it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that several of them already live here. Sure, you would think otherwise until you realize that, for instance, you are probably one Google search away from finding out that you already have several registered sex offenders in your area. Not saying it’s a good thing, just saying if you want to indulge in transgressive behavior of the highest degree, you’re in the right place.

Example C is what I see when I’m walking the corner of Proud Prince and Majestic Clarion. The street names here are named for race horses. I hear it before I see it; a masked moan, a barely-audible jostle. To my left, in a parked and condensating Honda Civic are two of my fellow subversives breaking the law before my eyes. Before my eyes, a peach pale ass squeaking against the glass of the rear window. Two people who as complete strangers to me I am catching a glimpse of having sex, which I suppose in all technicality must now at this point make me a voyeur because I don’t just glimpse and then increase my pace like that old bitch woman, do I? No, I stand there stunned and slack-jawed and wait for the money shot.

“Oh Ryan,” I can hear now that I’m listening, “Oh Ryan—Oh fuck—fuck me Ryan.”

“Ooooooooouuueeeeeeyeeeeeaaaah!” is what I hear The Guy say.

And The Girl says: “Nuuuuuuhheeehhhh dammit,” and despite feeling aroused I cannot help myself but to admit that the things people think to say during sex are usually only gems when they’re thought of prior to or after the act itself. People sound stupid and primal mid-coitus. The act of sex is among our most basic instincts where success is dependent on less thinking and throwing intellect out the window in favor of pure, raw, emotional carnal desire. Sex, at its core, is inherently a non-intellectual endeavor. It’s what puts us on the same level as lesser animals.

Rather than pull a Pee-wee Herman and continue to play Peeping Tom, I decide instead to finish my walk, but not without a nod of acclaim to that daring Example C couple, defying the odds against public exhibition, likely enhancing their love-making experience through the power of kink. In this moment I think about how enriching it is in my own life to know that there are those like myself who continue to defy convention and, where necessary according to their pleasure-seeking, the law. We live among shadows and cobwebs filled with paranoid shut-ins fueled by a paranoiac media where everything kills you and everyone is out to get you: terrorists, liberals, 2012, rapists, strangers with candy, killer bees, global warming, illegal immigrants, social miscreants. In the past ten years, the berth of information which we have had constant and eternal access to has molded our personalities into ones kept under control through the weapons of spin and fear, which is how these folks got so paranoid in the first place. Too much FOX news. Whenever there’s someone out there who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty and live their life without fear in this Age of Information Paranoia, an angel gets its wings. It’s cause for celebration.

I turn the corner and another neighbor walking his German Shepard greets me, says “Hi.”

“Hi,” I return. “Happy Memorial Day.”

Once he’s past me, I exhale the marijuana smoke I’d been holding in as a toast to Example C.

Example C