Saturday, May 15, 2010




1 : a hoisting apparatus employing a tackle rigged at the end of a beam
2 : a framework or tower over a deep drill hole (as of an oil well) for supporting boring tackle or for hoisting and lowering

What am I seeing here? I'm seeing Daniel Day-Lewis. I'm seeing There Will Be Blood. I'm seeing a tower climbed at the end of Dazed and Confused. I'm thinking about towers. A derelict windmill in the neighborhood where I grew up. Walking by the mill with a neighborhood girl named Michele, prettier than me and a better gymnast; she owns real leggings, shinier than my homemade versions. Her house is the color of a not-quite-ripe peach. Another neighborhood boy—Kevin. He looks like a young Michael Keaton. He is too good-looking to talk to me unless Michele is present. We stand in the street looking at the windmill. I've been in there before, says Kevin, We should sneak back there and go inside. I am ten years old and intimidated but I don't dare turn down this opportunity to prove I am cool. I still have these moments, all the time. Last night, at a club, I am sober, a little high. The club is hot, I am trying to be funny, and I tuck the bottom hem of my t-shirt through the neckline, an homage to the early nineties. My dance mates laugh. I will do anything to be cool and funny. Even expose my abdomen enough to illicit a drunk and creepy guy to come over and grind me. Kevin, Michelle and I sneak behind a house toward the windmill, not a DERRICK, I know, but close. The young boy who lives in the house comes out of the back door. His name is Tomasso. His hair is bright blond and he is a couple years younger than us. You guys can't go in there, he says, standing in the grass as we move our way through a tangle of bushes toward the base of the mill. Get out of here, Tomasso, Kevin says. I hate Kevin, but I am thrilled to be on his side—the cool side—for a brief moment. Tomasso just stands there staring at us. Kevin tugs at the heavy wooden door and we go inside. It is musty and dark and smells earthy, like the half of my mother's basement that is never used. Nothing happens. We stand around. We are just inside, and that is enough. These moments—these instances of doing something just for the sake of doing it—I still don't understand the appeal of the hollowness inherent in these experiences. I don't even remember whether or not I looked up to see the ceiling of the mill, the inner-workings—the only thing that might have made the experience mean anything.

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