It happens all the time. Casual conversation, getting lively, getting on a roll, both people sharing the experience happily and sharing their observations about life and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other. Then something else takes over.
The agreeing just takes on a life of its own. The whole thing becomes about agreeing with each other, even when it's just a load of bollocks. He says something about feeling insecure sometimes in situations with people he doesn't know very well. She's not feeling insecure, nor does she have an immediate recollection of feeling insecure with a new person, but she agrees anyway. Yeah yeah absolutely. It's like the Titanic. It takes too long to stop. The iceberg is not moving.
But it doesn't resonate. He's not stupid. He knows she was insincere on that last oh-my-god-i-totally-get-you. He's suspicious now. He's met chicks like this before. Oh yeah, it's all great at the start. Then they start lying and he doesn't know where he is.
So the tide has turned, but it's way too uncomfortable for anybody to actually acknowledge, even to themselves, until later, when they're alone and analysing the whole thing. But right now, they're still together. Sitting at that table. And now, instead of manic agreement, what happens is a big fat silence, each of them alone in their own little self-bubble. Nothing is said. Nobody says "I don't get that". Nobody says "It's all suddenly gone strange, hasn't it?" Whole worlds are left desolate in the space between one person's declaration and another's lack of receptiveness to it. Tumbleweed blowing through and two desperately grinning people peeking in at the scene but unable to make anything grow there at all.
Last night I walked along my street in Brooklyn just slightly ahead of a couple who began to argue. I have never heard a fight between two human beings conducted at such a light, pleasant conversational level before. Not an ounce of passion. God, I remember the aria-pitched furies that Johs and I performed for the Danish public, blazing fire through the freezing cold Danish streets. Not pretty.
But the volume between these two last night was kept low, and gentle. Discreet in their aggravation. Keeping things looking good on the street. Having a fight. Totally comfortable in it.
They're talking about money. Both have thin, white voices. His is the first voice I tuned to:
- I mean it as a legitimate question. Where do you think we're going to get the money? I'm not coming over all no-we-can't-do-this. I'm asking you for ideas.
- But it's always the money. The money the money the money the money. First thing. Straight away.
- Look, I'm not trying to shoot myself in the foot here...
- It's like when I say like, like fifty times in a sentence. I don't have to hear about it all the time from you.
- Well I don't see you taking that burden off o' my shoulders.
- I just wanna make our lives more fun. It's like it's... regimented.
- I like order. You have always known this. I don't like debt. Especially not for something so... frivolous.
Walk down Grafton street in Dublin at 4 in the morning and you'll hear plenty of conflict, people screaming things that never make sense. Or Camden Street, down some alleyway, some girl is sitting on her ankles, heaving sobs and breaths, he having shattered her world in pieces again, and stormed off in disgust at her. Rage and pain and hurt, at volume.
Not like this.This was something that would probably continue at that level for hours, days, weeks, without climax.
They crossed the road and I was tuned out of their bubble.