It always happens this way; just as soon as things on the work front start to pick up (not that there’s all that much – bits and pieces, odds and sods, this and that…) and I find my near constant worry-level that it’s ‘next stop the gutter!’ dropping ever-so-slightly, fully fledged and out of seemingly nowhere come my love anxieties.
It began last week with my stampede away from the now elusive elevator boy, and has continued this week with a series of dreams (not re-runs thank God!) centred on my new celebrity love-interest, cable TV star Larry David.
Larry David – that’s right, Seinfeld creator and producer, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s creator and lead actor, misanthrope, whiner, misunderstood humanitarian, keeper of the societal rules that govern who pays the tab, makes the call, sits facing the door, uses the bathroom, wears the shirt, tells folks when the terrorist attack is coming… (and so on) and world class kvetch – Larry David. I had not my first erotic dream about him last night and I have to tell you, it’s not curbing my love anxieties one little bit.
(I’d tell you about the dream, but for the most part it was about Larry and me sewing blankets and mine had more than the standard two sides and I got a little preoccupied with that and other mysteries of the universe and the erotic part of the dream lost some of its momentum. Typical.)
So when I add the runaway elevator interlude in with the weird inappropriate-type dreams, I’m sure you understand how I wonder if our heroine will ever get the love machine back on the rails. It’s a matter of confidence you see, and times like these last couple of years have tested mine to the breaking point.
But Larry's not my first dream lover. I’ve always been attracted to off-beat types; celebrity-wise there was the Gene Hackman period (Gene circa the 80’s), the Mickey Rooney flirtation (Mickey during the Andy Hardy years… or perhaps more correctly, Andy Hardy himself), the John Goodman fixation, and on and off for years the Robbie Coltrane obsession (but only as Cracker.) Lately that Jacob Hoggard kid from Canadian Idol has captured my attention in a way I’m sure his mother wouldn’t approve.
Eclectic? Odd? Strange even? Yes, yes, yes – but there’s a thread; a thread of sexual confidence despite the vagaries of weight or appearance or human frailty; a thread of humour – the big belly laugh kind of taking the world on at its own game; and success, or semi-success (or even just carrying on following earth-shattering failure) because somewhere inside, these guys - these characters – know they’re special.
And special is, well… special.
I crave those moments when I feel indisputably special; when I am picked or chosen or complimented or recognized, or included, or singled out for attention.
I like it better than money, better than shoes, better than fries. I like it so much, and fear not getting it so much that sometimes what I most want is to be in the audience being thanked by whoever is winning the prize for really being responsible for it all – “this one’s for you baby!” he says as he waves his Oscar in the air – that’d satisfy.
But Larry David. Where does Larry David fit into all this? Granted he’s funny and confident out of all proportion to his abilities (Larry David the character I mean – Larry David the multi-squillionaire seems to be pretty darn able altogether) but he’s got just a scintilla too much of the ‘Out of Towners’ agony. (See the film if you haven’t seen it – but if you walk away at the end without a tension headache and an upset stomach, you must have dozed off somewhere around the time Jack Lemmon loses the cap on his tooth and has to go to a job interview with one shoe, whistling like a steam kettle.)
It’s agonizing to watch Larry line up a screw-up, then follow through with classic insane bravado; to observe him as he deliberately takes a stand on the basis of some archane unwritten rule of behaviour, then gets his ass handed back to him week after week. Actually, sometimes I have to almost brace myself to watch him. But then – oh then, fellow cable aficionados – he does that thing that I find almost as irresistible as a foot massage accompanied by a plate of crispy fried potatoes: he goes on with confidence.
Could it be – is it possible – my dreams are telling me something… and it’s not to take the first flight out to Manchester and pull Robbie Coltrane drunk and disorderly out of a gambling parlour, putting out his cigarette before he can burn a hole in his egg-stained tie, then propping him against something extremely substantial in order to bellow into his drunken, red-veined face: save me!
Am I supposed to be saving myself – having confidence when none seems available, going forward when it all feels like another trip to the blood-stained wall for yet another session of head-banging, continuing to write it out and post it and try to get as close to my own personal truth as I can without self-immolating?
Yeah. Maybe. But maybe it was just a dream…