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Silent Lush - The Literary Exhibitionist
Silent Lush

-- चार हजार चौदह --

I've gotten Christmas gifts twice from Ivan: once in 2014, the first time he lived with me; and again this year, right after he moved in for the second time. In both cases he gifted a box of Lush handmade costmetics products. Even in this context, his behavior makes me think of his Aspbergers -- and specifically, a common characteristic of it that Sara W at work mentioned to me recently because she married a guy with it: mimicking behavior. As in, in many ways, they behave in appropriate social behaviors not because it comes naturally to them, but because they observe it on others and simply do what they see others doing. There may not be any genuine emotion behind it. (Then again, there may be.) In any case, these gifts clearly did not reflect any genuine knowledge of interests on the part of their recipient, but were given more as an acknowledgment of the expectation of a gift exchange at Christmastime.

I have never expected anything from any of my roommates, but my inclusion of roommates in the past three Christmases -- a hung Christmas stocking for Ivan in both 2014 and 2016; one for Tommy in 2015 -- still naturally might bring up the question of reciprocation in their minds. It's almost ironic that between the two, Tommy was the one who never bothered to reciprocate, which I was fine with. In fact, I pretty much headed him off at the pass in December 2015. He seemed genuinely touched that I even hung a stocking for him, and he actually thanked me for it once he saw it hanging there in early December. He told me his parents never hung one for him, and apparently there were years when he went to his dad and stepmother's for Christmas and they had stockings for them and his sister but not for him, which I thought sounded horrible. In any case, I said to him during that conversation that I had no expectation of anything from him. I just wanted him to be included. I've always thought excluding them would have been rude. (None of my previous roommates were around at Christmastime so before Ivan I never had to worry about it.)

No such conversation ever happened with Ivan. He did sit in the living room with me, on his laptop (shirtless, a detail that remains in my memory because it was unusual; he explained his was moisturizing, or something, and so needed not to have a shirt on for a bit), while I set up and decorated the tree. That was my first year with my white, artificial tree. And after Shobhit and I went to Olympia for Christmas as usual, he had a gift under the tree waiting for us when we arrived on Christmas evening: that first box of Lush products.

I always suspected, even then, that such a gift was probably standard on his part. He'd probably give that to anyone he was giving a present to. If I had to hazard a guess, there's a fair chance he didn't even pick out the specific items that went in the package. I guess they have a store at Westlake Center; for some reason I always assumed he ordered online but it's probably even more likely he went down there to the store. Maybe someone there just picked some semi-random things for him to put in the box. Both then and in 2016 the box was clearly gift wrapped at the store.

The thing is, as impersonal as I'm characterizing all of this in the context of Ivan (and I may actually be off base; I'm making assumptions), he pretty much lucked out with this plan as far as its effectiveness as a gift: because I actually love Lush products. Even before I got the box from him in 2014, my cousin Jennifer had already sent me Lush products as gifts before. Twice she's given me eggnog shampoo from them, which I really loved. So anyone who wants to send or gift me Lush products, it's pretty much always a win.

For this past Christmas, the box contained four products: Lord of Misrule Shower Cream; Bubbly Shower Gel; Santa's Belly Shower Jelly; and a bar soap that I can't identify because it's shrink wrapped with no label. I could probably ask him; he might remember.

Shobhit and I used that "Santa's Belly Shower Jelly" first. I liked it a lot, but it's very odd. It's like taking a chunk of Jell-O and lathering up with it. It's sort of the consistency you'd get if you converted a bar soap to one of the gels, but stopped halfway through. It smelled rather nice. I used it every day for the past week or so, but noticed yesterday it was gone. I guess Shobhit had used the last of it. There had still been about a third of it left! Using that much was never necessary but Shobhit has an annoying penchant for being wasteful and it's driving me crazy. He truly doesn't give a shit, not about being wasteful or about doing anything to help the planet. His attitude is that it makes no difference. Well guess what? When millions of people have that attitude, the world gets trashed. Every behavior changed makes an impact. Not that I have much room to talk since I take ten minute showers. Shut up.

At least he recycles, I guess.

So, today I moved on to the Lord of Misrule Shower Cream. I can still smell it on me right now. I find it very odd that part of it is black pepper. Why put black pepper in shower cream? I don't get it. It doesn't smell like pepper, at least. Is it the patchouli oil that I smell? Am I, like, the quintessential hippie now? I suppose that might be especially apropos where I work, for a chain of natural foods grocery stores. I mean, if it were still 1980 perhaps. Whatever; the blend, while not quite as nice as the Santa's Belly, still smells nice.

Ivan is all about the cosmetics. When Sherri had made the crack about being OCD after using his bathroom on New Year's Eve, it was because of how he arranged his cosmetics on the bathroom counter in straight rows, making an overall shape of a perfect triangle in the corner of the counter where the mirror meets the wall. Shobhit kind of is too, although he doesn't really retain the vocabulary of someone obsessed with cosmetics. But he does like using them, moisturizers and occasional facial creams and such. I never do that stuff. I've never been the kind of gay who is all about cosmetics (although I am very particular about what I put in my hair). But, when I get products like this, I do like using them.

I'm not sure why I wrote so much about all that just now. Because I can still smell the Misrule Shower Cream on me, apparently. The thing is, if I re-read this again in ten years, I will still find it engaging. Because I am an unrepentant narcissist. (Although strangely, I always assume I can count the number of people who actually read these entries on one hand. The number almost certainly is objectively small, but still probably more than I realize or assume.)

-- चार हजार चौदह --


-- चार हजार चौदह --

I took myself to see Silence after work yesterday. It's a very long movie -- two hours and forty minutes -- so even though I went to the 4:50 showing (not arriving until 5:00 but I was still early enough to sit through about four trailers), it didn't let out until 7:45.

I could have lived without that movie, to tell you the truth. But I hadn't seen a new movie in the theatre since the week after Christmas. I've seen two others, but both were second viewings (Jackie and Rogue One). It was time to see a movie I could actually review again. I made that decision. I'll be seeing another tomorrow night, and another on Friday, so I'll make up for a bit of lost time this week.

That doesn't mean I think Silence was a waste of time. I actually kind of liked it. I gave it a solid B. I do think I watched it with a relatively unique point of view, which comes through in my review. It might surprise some to hear an atheist like me would actually have interest in a story about pious priests in the 17th century. Granted, the question of religious doubt is very much a central theme in the story, thanks to the incredible trials of the main character, played very well by Andrew Garfield (who I still think is super hot, but I could not ever see him that way in this role, just due to the chasteness of the character -- which is a pretty effective testament to his performance, I should think).

Shobhit would never have lasted at that movie. I think it would have been an unbearable slog for him. Probably even more so for Ivan, who almost couldn't even take the run time of La La Land, and that movie is presented as an overt entertainment. Laney could have taken it, I'm sure, but would not have been able to make it to a showing before 5:00. I didn't want to see a movie that long that started at 7:30.

I had to rush to get to that showing though. I thought I would get there on time by riding a Pronto Cycle Share bike part of the way, but when I got to the station on 3rd and Denny, my key would not unlock any one of the bikes from their slots. What the shit? So, I had to speed-walk. I logged into my account on my phone as I did so. Turned out my membership was expired. Fuck. Why didn't they email me that my membership was about to expire? That's what a company that wanted to retain their customer base would do. But whatever, I renewed. It was more expensive than last year. Like $93. A single ride without a membership can cost close to $10, though, so all I have to do is ride one of those things more than ten times for the annual membership to pay for itself. And that will certainly happen, even with a bike of my own In my possession. The Pronto bikes are just easier when I want a one-way bike trip, or when I want a bike with a headlight at night. Although I do keep thinking maybe I should just get one of those lights you affix to a bike helmet; it would be far less likely to get stolen that way.

Under normal circumstances I might actually be commuting to and from work again already -- I have in January in the past, specifically thanks to Pronto Cycle Share. But it's been fucking cold, and I won't ride when it's fucking freezing. Why freezer-burn my face even worse by speeding through it? I barely missed the #11 when the movie let out so I wound up walking. I had only my fingerless gloves and I could only stand to have my hands outside my pockets for about five minutes. My fingers were going numb. It was already 35°. That's nothing to some, but for Seattle it's insane: normal temperatures this time of year are closer to the mid-forties. I don't know what's with the unusual number of cold spells this year but I'm ready for them to end. Not that I expect "normal" to last long at any time of the year in the 21st century.

Shobhit had veggie dogs for dinner ready to eat when I got home. He even timed it for when I got home from the movie. This works better for him anyway; it's been a source of mild contention that I prefer dinner as soon as I get home from work, around 6 pm, and he prefers it a couple of hours later. He says having dinner early guarantees his being hungry again later and makes him eat more. I prefer not to be digesting my dinner when I go to bed. We're still adjusting to his permanent return. We'll go through an adjustment again when he finally gets a job. The seven-year break on his resume is a predictable challenge. I still feel confident he'll find work soon enough, though.

I went to write my review right after we finished eating, and then put laundry away. Then it was already time for bed. Shobhit came to bed with me because he just likes being with me, and had a book to read. He's been burning through a ton of John Grisham books from the library.

-- चार हजार चौदह --


positive energy please