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The Lust Experience: Registration, 5/1/17 @ 6:30 - Tom Hite

a guest May 2nd, 2017 142 Never
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  1.  
  2. The Lust Experience: Registration 5/1/17
  3.  
  4. In my party are myself, Susie, Chelsea, Brad, and Julie.
  5.  
  6. [We arrive at about 6:15 into the parking lot, the last group of the evening. It is filled with cars and construction material, and we share nervous chatter before a figure bursts through the door, yelling into a phone about how she’s been there since 9:30, and she’s tired of all of this, and she’s just so done right now. She finishes her conversation and walks over to us somewhat distracted and embarrassed.]
  7.  
  8. “I’m so sorry; you guys are here and smiling and here to see a show. My time is Tina. I’m in commercial real estate. I’ve been talking to my clients only over the phone for the last two weeks, and they literally called me this morning and told me they needed a spot with soundproofing and drains and parking, and you’ve got this beautiful kitty litter. I’m sorry… did you guys see the last show?”
  9.  
  10. “The last show? You mean Tension…”
  11.  
  12. “I wish I could be more specific. I got a call from them this morning… have any of you met Noah?”
  13.  
  14. “Yeah…”
  15.  
  16. “Oh! Then maybe you can help me – what did the last space look like?”
  17.  
  18. [Mixed clarification until we realized we were talking about the Focus Group. Julie describes it as a main room, pretty big, with different rooms coming off from that room.]
  19.  
  20. “I obviously don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into… [laughs]. I’m so sorry to vent to you all right before you go in. I am in real estate; I’m not a producer; I don’t do locations – I know we’re in L.A., but not everybody knows this shit! [Everybody laughs] Okay… well, again, I’m sorry for venting at you guys, but, um… have a good show.”
  21.  
  22. [We discuss how suspicious this was and compare notes on specific details. About a minute elapses before Stephanie opens the door and calls “6:30.” People enter, she tries to sell merchandise, including Addison’s dress “if you want to beat Morgan’s bid of $500,” and nobody buys anything because they aren’t carrying cash. Music is loudly playing, likely from the 1940s, and we are guided to two large canopy-chairs and assorted cushioned benches. Very soon after taking seats, we are sent to tables at which well-dressed strangers are seated.]
  23.  
  24. “Hi.”
  25.  
  26. “Hi! It’s nice to meet you.”
  27.  
  28. “What’s your name?”
  29.  
  30. “My name’s Tom.”
  31.  
  32. “Oooh… Thomas for short? – Wait… Thomas for long?”
  33.  
  34. “Thomas for long, I suppose…”
  35.  
  36. “My name’s Nicole.”
  37.  
  38. “Nicole – pleasure to meet you.”
  39.  
  40. “And you!”
  41.  
  42. “What brings you here?”
  43.  
  44. “Gosh – curiosity. A zest for the epistemic wonders.”
  45.  
  46. “Curious *of…* Did you do the last experience?”
  47.  
  48. “Yes.”
  49.  
  50. “How was that.”
  51.  
  52. “...Indescribable.”
  53.  
  54. “Mmm.”
  55.  
  56. “Fulfilling. It left more questions than it answered.”
  57.  
  58. “...And you like that?”
  59.  
  60. “Well, it seems to be the condition that we’re in, right? I mean, you find answers... dig deeper.”
  61.  
  62. “Have you met Noah?”
  63.  
  64. “I have met Noah.”
  65.  
  66. “What do you think?”
  67.  
  68. “...I think he knows the truth, but he’s not trying to express it. There’s a communication block. I had an interaction with him... He sought my help, and I tried my best to keep his confidence, which forced me to compromise my ethics to some degree, because I had to keep secrets from people, which I generally don’t like doing. However, the way I was trying to help him he was... unaccepting of. I asked him to calm down, I asked him to kind of think about everything, the situation he’s in, just take a step back – he’s always so driven; running at a hundred percent – a hundred and ten percent, really – and, uh... he basically told me to fuck off. So...”
  69.  
  70. “I think he’s a hot mess...”
  71.  
  72. “Well, that’s a good way to describe it, yeah.”
  73.  
  74. “...A fuckable hot mess.”
  75.  
  76. “[Laughs] – It’s the eyes, isn’t it? He looks at you, and you’re like ‘wow...’”
  77.  
  78. “I don’t know if I want to like mother him or fuck him.”
  79.  
  80. “Right? Well, mother-fuck him.”
  81.  
  82. “Yeah? ...Would you fuck him?”
  83.  
  84. “[Sigh] That’s a good question. I mean, I like to talk non-binary, but when it comes down to it, I’m generally not attracted to masculinity.”
  85.  
  86. “Why?”
  87.  
  88. “I don’t know; I think I find it threatening? I think perhaps the idea of being overpowered places me out of control. I seek nurturing, sort of, femininity in its most raw aspect... if that’s a thing.”
  89.  
  90. “So, you’ve never had a woman take control of you?”
  91.  
  92. “I have to some degree, but in a very... different context. There was one time during an immersive theatre event when I was absolutely manhandled, and... I enjoyed it.”
  93.  
  94. “Mmmm...”
  95.  
  96. “More than I thought I would.”
  97.  
  98. “So, do you think about that sometimes?”
  99.  
  100. “Not often. Not for several months, probably... but now that you mention it, it was... a safe loss of control. I mean, we all want someone to know what we want without our having to say it, and then just make us do it.”
  101.  
  102. “Absolutely.”
  103.  
  104. “Yeah.”
  105.  
  106. “So do you think it’s fucked up how they treated Anoch?”
  107.  
  108. “...That’s a good question. Real good question.”
  109.  
  110. “Kind of runs you, huh?”
  111. “Well, again – communication issues, right? I mean... Anoch can’t speak, except through others. So you’re constantly trapped in this cycle of... credibility questions, right? Who has the right – who has the conch-shell, here, and if no one has it, then, well... where’s Anoch?”
  112.  
  113. “What do you think?”
  114.  
  115. “I think we all already know. Some of us are just... shying away from it. Because of what it means, the change it brings.”
  116.  
  117. “Yeah.”
  118.  
  119. “Yeah.”
  120.  
  121. “You’re very curious.”
  122.  
  123. “Oh, I’ve always been.”
  124.  
  125. “You are *very* curious... what are you curious about *right now*?”
  126.  
  127. “Right now?”
  128.  
  129. “Yeah.”
  130.  
  131. “[Looks down and gestures to the two single-page documents on the table] What those papers mean. [At this very moment, the interviewer at the table to the left stands and announces “She’s ready to sign.” He is referring to Julie. The four interviewers stand in silence as she marks the paper.]”
  132.  
  133. [About 15 seconds elapses in silence before they retake their seats.]
  134.  
  135. “[Whispers] Do we clap?”
  136.  
  137. “What’s that?”
  138.  
  139. “Do we clap?”
  140.  
  141. “If you feel so inclined... you go ahead.”
  142.  
  143. “[Laughs] It just feels so momentous; it’s like it deserved a feedback...”
  144.  
  145. “Oh, your time will come... So what are you curious about?”
  146.  
  147. “I’m curious about literally everything. I can’t think of anything I’m not curious about.”
  148.  
  149. “Mmm.”
  150.  
  151. “And I’m essentially willing to go absolutely all the way to find out.”
  152.  
  153. “Do you think you’re bored in your regular life?”
  154.  
  155. “Weeeellll... I don’t like boredom, because it’s such a social construct. I mean, I think people who are bored are just being limited by fear. ‘Cause that’s what boredom is, right? I mean, we hit a limit, and we don’t get what we want, and so instead of looking for another way, we just stop and think ‘well, I guess I’m not getting it.’”
  156.  
  157. “That’s very deep of you.”
  158.  
  159. “...Thanks?”
  160.  
  161. [Another interviewer stands and yells “Alright guys – signing.” They stand and wait before seating themselves again. Meanwhile, Tina has sauntered over to check on some detail.]
  162.  
  163. “Oh... Tina is the worst.”
  164.  
  165. “What? Tina is awsesome!”
  166.  
  167. “[Toward Tina] Tina is the *woooooorst!* Tina’s the worst – Tiiiinaaaa! [Back at me] She’s the worst.”
  168.  
  169. “I get a good feeling from her, honestly.”
  170.  
  171. “You got a good feeling from Tina?!”
  172.  
  173. “I do!”
  174.  
  175. “That’s why we’re here – because of Tina. Aren’t you hot right now? That’s because of Tina.”
  176.  
  177. “Meh – I’ve had worse; it’s May.”
  178.  
  179. “Do you smell cat shit?”
  180.  
  181. “Not as much as home...”
  182.  
  183. “That’s because of Tina... wait – you keep cat shit at home?!”
  184.  
  185. “Well, it’s not like a collection, but they do, and we don’t clean as often as we should, so, y’know... but what brought *you* here?”
  186.  
  187. “What’s that?”
  188.  
  189. “You – what brought you here?”
  190.  
  191. “Family.”
  192.  
  193. “Filial obligation?”
  194.  
  195. “Yep.”
  196.  
  197. “That’s *it?*”
  198.  
  199. “Basically. My life is kind of decided for me.”
  200.  
  201. “Well... I guess that’s true for all of us to some extent, right?”
  202.  
  203. “So, do you feel interested enough to register?”
  204.  
  205. “Yeah.”
  206.  
  207. “...Amazing. [Stands and addresses room] Everyone... we have a registrar. [I sign the paper] Thank you.”
  208.  
  209. “Thank you.”
  210.  
  211. “Please follow me. [I am led to the back of the room, where there is a cushioned bench and a closed door, red light seeping from underneath. Brad is already seated.] It was so nice meeting you.”
  212.  
  213. “It was absolutely a pleasure.”
  214.  
  215. [Brad and I chat about what was said and wonder if our papers (which we are holding still) say the same thing. They do: “I hereby submit to The Lust Experience.” Brad is called into the room. Suddenly, Tina appears behind me.]
  216.  
  217. “Are you sure you don’t just want to go and see a movie?”
  218.  
  219. “[Laugh] Well...”
  220.  
  221. “It’s a lot less effort, you know?”
  222.  
  223. “Movies are so passive, though, y’know?”
  224.  
  225. “I know – this is a lot of effort for, um, adults to play make-believe.”
  226.  
  227. “It... It is...”
  228.  
  229. “Sorry – I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to make fun of it.”
  230.  
  231. “Oh, no; I make fun of it all the time – you have to!”
  232.  
  233. “Right?!”
  234.  
  235. “You either laugh, or you cry.”
  236.  
  237. [Nicole walks up and scolds Tina for the sandwiches on the nearby table being warm. Chelsea approaches, paper in hand, and sits next to me on the bench. We chat about signing and I tell her about the exchange I had just had with Tina. The door suddenly opens, and I stand to enter a dimly-lit office with papers strewn about, where a tall, bearded man is seated in a chair beside a large desk. He gestures with a mild wave.]
  238.  
  239. “Hi there.”
  240.  
  241. “Hi.”
  242.  
  243. “What’s your name?”
  244.  
  245. “Tom.”
  246.  
  247. “Hi, Tom. Would you please sit over there? [I take a seat on a curved leather sectional, and he alights a few feet away, collecting his thoughts.] So, Tom... have you ever lost anything?”
  248.  
  249. “I’ve lost everything.”
  250.  
  251. “Is that right?”
  252.  
  253. “Mostly, yeah.”
  254.  
  255. “Wow... how’s it make you feel?”
  256.  
  257. “Indescribably lonely.”
  258.  
  259. “It doesn’t really make you feel good, right?”
  260.  
  261. “Yup.”
  262.  
  263. “[He pulls a stack of money from his jacket-pocket and hands it over.] Do me a favor and count this for me, would you please?”
  264. “[I count it.] This would be one thousand dollars cash.”
  265.  
  266. “A thousand dollars, right?”
  267.  
  268. “Yes.”
  269.  
  270. “Now, how would you feel if you lost it?”
  271.  
  272. “I... I think I’d get over it pretty quick. I mean, it depends on how I lost it, I suppose...”
  273.  
  274. “Assuming someone just gave you a thousand dollars. It was just there. And you somehow moved it or misplaced it, whatever it is – you’d be like, pretty bummed, right?”
  275.  
  276. “I guess. I do this thing where I’m like, ‘Well, nobody really owns anything, and I like step back, and dissociate...”
  277.  
  278. “Yeah, I get that, but you know what? I lost several millions of dollars.”
  279.  
  280. “That sucks.”
  281.  
  282. “Yeah – that’s a lot of money. And, uh, we are here to, well, to right the wrong Tension Experience.”
  283.  
  284. “Right the wrong Tension Experience.”
  285.  
  286. “This show has made a substantial loss. So we’ve come in with investors, and we’re getting an idea of, you know, how to make it better, and how to make our money back. So, come with me – thank you so much for coming out today.”
  287.  
  288. “My pleasure.”
  289.  
  290. “Sure – and before you leave, just one last thing... You’re a good guy. I can tell. You’re a good guy.”
  291.  
  292. “Well...”
  293.  
  294. “No – you are a good guy, Tom.”
  295.  
  296. “Thank you. I will own the compliment and thank you.”
  297.  
  298. “Yes – do it. Exactly. And no one can take that away from you. Just – be careful... okay?”
  299.  
  300. “Thank you; I will heed your warning wisely.”
  301.  
  302. “Okay. Be careful.”
  303.  
  304. “...Do you have an... organization?”
  305.  
  306. “I ask the questions.”
  307.  
  308. “Got it, sir. It was a pleasure.”
  309.  
  310. “Have a good day.”
  311.  
  312. “You too.”
  313.  
  314. [Stephanie appears in the room into which I exit, and shows me the correct door for egress into the parking lot.] “Have a good evening.”
  315.  
  316. “It’s already been a great evening.”
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