What the hell is this?

I Can't Stand [Meeting] You is a collection of all the ridiculous things I've written to and about drummer and composer Stewart Copeland.

I actually did meet him for about five crazy seconds in 2007, again for a few exciting moments in August 2009, and my most recent (and most thrilling!) encounter took place in October 2009, where I proved myself capable of being, yet again, a total dork in the man's presence.

I can't believe what I get up to. And neither should you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another letter

Dear Mr. Copeland,

Hi. How are you? I'm here again. I realized that what I have done best (if by "best" you mean, "compulsively") in my successful relationships is communicate (ha ha, I hear Patrick saying). In other words: I like to write to the people I love (and sometimes, leave annoying/obtuse/mysterious voicemail messages). So we're going to keep this letter business up for a while, if it's okay with you.

I like to communicate, but I'm not always that good at it. Sometimes I work my way around what I'm trying to say without actually stating (or, in other words, knowing) what it is I'm trying to say, and that, no doubt, is confusing. It's also probably why I can't write poetry (and my inability to write poetry [or refusal to try] is probably a good thing). Sometimes I just have to say something, even if that something is confused, confusing, half-chewed and pointless.

This habit of writing to the objects of my affection started in middle school (so: you're not the first!), when a young boy (a year older than me) caught my eye in his parachute pants and Van Halen t-shirts (hey, it was the 80s). I didn't know this boy. I sat in front of him in band (he played the sax, I was down in the flute section), but I'd never seen him before the 7th grade. He was a total mystery to me. I didn't know his friends, I didn't talk to him in class or at lunch or on the telephone, but somehow I got it in my head to write to him.

So I wrote a couple of notes, like young girls do, I guess. I don't have any of these letters or samples or the ability to fathom what it is I had to say to this kid, and I only got one response from him, which was something to the effect of, "You sure write weird notes!"

Hey, is it to be expected that a kid in a Van Halen t-shirt would understand my 7th grade angst?

A couple of years later, I revised and/or perfected my plan for writing to a boy (another band kid, but this time he was from the much more exciting drum section. Sax players are fine, but drummers are, in my experience anyway, much better looking), and subsequently bombarded him with anonymous love letters. This is a tale I've told before, so I'll give you the short version: I wrote him unsigned notes in which I allowed myself to say all the complimentary and worshipful things I felt about him and cute guys in general (which therefore applied to him. Oh! He was definitely a cute guy, and not in a general sense). This went on for an unspecified time (unspecified because I don't remember), during which I also shot him lots of complimentary/worshipful looks from underneath my hair during band, football games, rehearsals in the parking lot, on the bus, in the hall - you get the picture. One day I revealed my identity and instead of laughing or, I don't know, striking out, he seemed okay with it and we went out once or twice. Nothing happened, to my chagrin (fucking chagrin!), but it was kind of successful, if by "success" you mean, "nothing happened." Hey, it could've been much, much worse, right?

Many years later I found out that he still had (has?) those stupid notes, but since he stopped talking to me (rather abruptly!) several years ago, I have no idea if they still exist. I'm going to guess no.

My twelfth grade boyfriend won me over with his writing (and one hell of a mix tape), so I haven't always been the only letter-writer. It's nice to get them, too.

In my early 20s, my next boyfriend found the first (unsent, as you shall see why) letter I ever wrote to you. Boy, was that a disaster. I've been a fan of the Police since I was about 9 or 10 years old. I had all your cassettes (cassettes!). In the 9th grade I wrote a paper using "Omegaman" as inspiration (I don't remember if it was a good paper). My friend Rachel, who has known me since I was 9 or 10, asks what Police album I'm listening to whenever she calls me, and there's always an answer, even now ("Regatta de Blanc"). I was a Police fan, but not a Sting fan, and I think that confuses people, because isn't Sting the "beautiful one"? How should I know? You were always the one for me. So, I wrote this crazy letter (in pen, using one of the spiral notebooks I was never without during those days) while Drew and I were supposedly doing our college homework in my bedroom, and at some point I left the room momentarily. When I came back, he was all over me, and not in a good way: he'd read the letter.

It was never going to be sent (where to? Where'd you live in 1991, and how would I have found that out?). It was a total fantasy letter. I must've thought, "write whatever you want, say whatever you want," because man, that is totally what I did. Drew was a great boyfriend but not a very literary one; our relationship was smooth, and fun, with lots of kissing and talking (and drinking!) but very little writing. I needed to write to somebody: you, the author of my favorite Police song ("Darkness") were it. It was a typical fan letter ("I think you're wonderful") but at some point - and I remember this vividly - I wrote, "I wish I could meet you. I bet you're a great kisser." As a great kisser himself, Drew took offense at this. Wild, overblown, operatic offense.

At first I thought he was crazy, or pulling my leg. Surely he understood what this letter was? An exercise in lust, maybe, but nothing real was going to come from it. I walked him through it patiently at first:
  • This letter will never be sent
  • If it were sent, it will probably never make it to its destination (because I didn't have a specific destination in mind other than "in Stewart Copeland's hot little hands")
  • If it does make it to its destination, it will probably never be read
  • It is is read, it will probably never be read by Stewart Copeland
  • If Stewart Copeland reads it, I'm sure he gets letters like this all the time, and is by now immune to their charms
  • Letters like this are probably either passed around to his staff and laughed at or filed in the "nutjob" drawer
  • This letter will never be sent
I didn't understand at first that what upset him wasn't that I knew I had no chance with you, that I knew what I was doing was futile. What upset him was that I could feel that way for another man, even if the other man, some kind of otherworldly rock god, would've probably never noticed me in a million years (crazy hair, glasses: I had a relatively hot body in the 90s, which I can say now because it seems to be history, but it was hidden beneath horrible clothes and no self-confidence. Drew was a very kind young man). He didn't care if most of it was kind of in jest: an experiment! A writing assignment! It didn't matter to him what you did with the information. It took me a long, long time to figure that out: I am not always a smart girl. This argument with him was when I realized that laughing at Drew when he was angry (which was rare) was a Very Bad Idea. Whatever self-righteousness I had about writing whatever the hell I wanted to whomever the hell I wanted - it wasn't fiction to him if I signed my real name, which I had done - was misplaced. I had my work cut out for me with this one, and it took a very long time to calm him down. Destroying that letter and a few tears were required, but, in the end, worth it. Well, until I broke his heart a couple years later, but that's a story for another time.

So, okay, I've been writing to you for years (perhaps it feels as if years have passed since you started reading this letter?). Now I'm finally "sending" them. It's a pointless operation, but satisfying, somehow.

What I really wanted to tell you was, my mom has been sick. Cancer. I've been dealing with it like children deal with the illnesses of their parents, I guess. There's nothing extraordinary in what I've been doing (my sister, on the other hand, has really been amazing). I've been dealing with it mostly okay. It's kind of a roller coaster; I'll spare you the details. I'm sure you have had this kind of scary thing in your own life. I kind of talked myself into thinking that everything is going to be okay, but: you know? I think I'm avoiding thinking about reality. I'm trying to be positive but when is "positive" just code for "unrealistic"? What do I believe? Yeah. It's that kind of thing. So yesterday I got it in my head - I had this urge - to do something. To run away. To fuck something up. To fuck something up, big time. To make a big giant mess and suffer the consequences. To not be passive about stuff anymore. To confess everything to a handsome stranger! I'm sick of sitting around. But what? And when? Is this normal? Why would I ask you?

I don't know. But I am.

Love you (no more strike out! I mean it!),

1 comment:

Duffmano said...

You should leave a comment or two over at his website (which he visits FREQUENTLY). It's not all that far fetched that he could possibly read it. I had no idea so many people adored the guy that kept the beat. Stewart is hardcore.