Pluralism as subterfuge
Once, before going into an “open house” appointment, my agent told me not to openly state how much I liked the house we were about to see, and instead to act a little suspicious. In past visits, I’d say out loud that I loved everything; couldn’t help cooing when I saw a detail I liked. Buyers have to be a little more coy, I learned. So I would simply add that the house I claimed to have loved reminded me of another house I’d seen earlier, because it was easier to say I had options than to expose myself to an overbidding by fawning. Thing is, if you really wanted a house in 2020, odds were many other people would be in love with it, too.
Did you know that in Pennsylvania, you have to make a binding offer when bidding for a house against others? For those who understand what I just said, it’s a little wild, right? When it’s time to get busy, you can’t have options. I had to write an actual love letter to the outgoing owners of one prospective house upon which we’d made an offer. So much for playing coy, I guess. Also, the house went to someone else. The owners kindly let us know they appreciated the love letter.
It’s worth noting that no one wanted the house we eventually purchased. It was on the market for a year. If I’m being honest, the only reason we waited to make our offer was because we were confused why more people didn’t want it and were convinced something so unpopular had to be unpopular for a good reason. I guess house sellers have to be coy too. Nothing was wrong with the house, it turned out. Everything that looked suspicious just needed fresh paint.
You always want to intimate options when you go into any negotiation. Young professionals are advised to say they’re entertaining multiple job offers even if they aren’t. You share “comps” for things you don’t want, when evaluating large purchases. You diversify your interests so as not to appear obsessed with one thing.
I wonder if eagerness becomes a liability as we get older because we have more to lose, or because as Americans, we’ve been so thoroughly trained in competitive hedging. I swear hedging isn’t this hectic in other places I’ve been.
I don’t want to pretend I want other things anymore.
I am more impressed when connections are immediate. Children don’t pretend they want several things before they choose one thing. They tell you what they want as soon as they want it. If something else comes up, they add rather than divide their enthusiasm.
Attention divided implies an equilateral focus on many things. My attention is completely diverted by one thing. It’s all I want.
Idols know what it’s like to have unadulterated enthusiasm. Nothing weird about the fan of an artist pre-ordering their products sight unseen. Waiting to see what else is out there is pluralism as subterfuge, and fans have no reason to pretend they aren’t obsessed with their idols.
Telling people you’re looking for an orgy is less embarrassing than saying you masturbate to one person. Thirst traps are less embarrassing than sexts.
It is reckless for an adult to say they are single-minded but if I divide my attention it is to bury the diversion.
Tomorrow is subterfuge. I will drive myself into the earth’s core…tomorrow. The word never means today plus one. It means everything is allowed in the future.
Update: I wrote this a couple weeks ago, and scheduled it to run today. No rhyme or reason to that decision. I just wanted to run it on a Monday afternoon. After flubbing a detail on my last post, I came back to this document to make sure I wanted to say what I wanted to say two weeks ago. I have deleted the last two paragraphs, mostly because they are personal exhibitions and not relevant to the idea I present at the top of the page.
But now I am writing in real time. I am currently, on the morning of June 7th of 2021, at my real estate agent’s beach house—the agent who I reference in the beginning. Suffice it to say the agent is also a good friend. The timing of this trip is somewhat uncanny, on top of the timing of this post, on top of the timing of the stuff happening that I talked about a couple days ago here.
So anyway, the agent and I talk about convergence, coincidence. When the timing of an event is so uncanny that the presence of the universe becomes undeniable. It occurs to me that I thought about pluralism as subterfuge, to avoid thinking of kismet as subterfuge. I have been rationalizing so much behavior as part of a manmade economy of gestures, to deny the feelings within the gestures. My own description of the economy may have been subterfuge as well.
Anne, this thing you’re calling timing is the universe begging you to be with your feelings.
I’m learning the beauty of the unspoken and thinking about the tension everyone describes of being a writer who wants to explode their feelings while running away from the world. I keep coming back to audience. I need to become comfortable with telling myself the things I keep waiting for you to say, and maybe vice versa. I can tell you only what you need to know.
You are absolutely perfect.