Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Popping My Self-Esteem, The Toddler Wrecking Ball, And The Story Of Desire

This morning I headed over to Super Target to pick up a few things I forgot to get at Wal-Mart the other day.  I was going to grab a late breakfast/early lunch from the Pizza Hut Express they have there, but apparently they don’t make pizza before 10:30 AM.  Losers.
As I was walking around the store I noticed that there was a lot of shelf stocking going on, and that most of the people doing the stocking were female, and a lot of them were teenagers.
I’m not finding fault with that, it’s just that I was reminded of the grocery store I used to work in where the stockers were pretty much exclusively male.
There had been one girl stocker when I was working there (the second time around), and she was petite and extremely cute.
She was also like 16 or 17, which made the fact that she was so cute and that she flirted with me on a regular basis rather bothersome (I was 28 at the time).
I had mentioned this to a friend of mine who worked there, an older woman, saying that I kind of wished that this criminally young girl who was altogether too cute for someone so young wouldn’t flirt with me, though on the other hand it was kind of nice to have someone cute flirt with me.
The response I got was, “Oh, she flirts with everyone.”
It was just the puncture my inflating sense of self-esteem needed.
In any case, after I left Super Target without having pizza for breakfast I headed over to Shopper’s to pick up a few more groceries (including a frozen pizza which I ate when I got home).
As I was walking out the door, all of my bags in one hand, hanging rather heavily, with the bag full of four bottles of SoBe swinging with an inexorable momentum, I spotted a loose toddler unsteadily, but surprisingly quickly, running towards me.  I couldn’t move to avoid her or get the bags moved over to my other hand in time, and I imagined the bags slamming into her like a wrecking ball as I tried to move over as much as possible to avoid the collision.
Fortunately her older sister came along, herded her out of the way, and spared us the collision, which is very good, as that would have been a really bad scene.
I’ve often remarked on how I see people whose appearances remind me of the artistic styles of various comic book artists.  It’s as if they’re drawings that have come to life.
John Byrne is the artist whose style seems to get the most representation.  Keira Knightley, who is a quintessential Byrne.  Natalie Portman, at times, is another Byrne, as is Jennifer Garner.
And of course Jessica Simpson is a total Adam Hughes.
In any case, today I saw my first-ever Milo Manara, a very sultry, dark-haired young woman with the long, curly hair and the slender curves of the women that are so characteristic of the Italian erotic comics artist’s work.
Manara was the artist on one of my all-time favorite Neil Gaiman stories, a story about Desire (the emotion and the character, who is the emotion) printed in the volume Endless Nights.
To summarize the story, despite herself, a young woman in a village falls in love with the cocky son of the village’s chieftain and seeks the assistance of a local wise woman to make the boy fall in love with her.  The wise woman sets her on a course that leads her to an encounter with Desire of the Endless, the androgynous anthropomorphic representation of desire, who gives the girl a bit of advice and saves her some travel time in her trip to inform the chieftain’s son that his father has died and that he needs to return home to assume his duties.  Putting what she’s learned to use, the young chieftain falls madly in love with her, eventually taking her to be his bride.  There comes a point at which most of the men of the village, including her husband, are away, and men from a neighboring tribe come to the village.  Being the wife of the chieftain, it’s her duty to extend them hospitality, and so she does, seemingly indifferent to the fact that the men have placed the severed head of her husband, whom they have killed, on the table in the hopes that she will go mad with grief, at which point they will rape her, kill her, and raze the village.  However, paying no attention to the head, she flirts with each of the men, and dances for them, making each man believe that she’s dancing just for him, and goads them into wrestling each other, and otherwise passing the time in vain attempts at winning her attention and affection until the morning, at which point the men of the village return and kill them all.
It’s a great story, beautifully illustrated by Manara.  The best line of the story comes from Desire, in response to the girl asking what Desire wants in return for making her trip go faster.  Desire answers, “Everything.  What else is there to want?”
Anyway, the point is that the chick I saw was hot.
Speaking of hot chicks drawn by artists (albeit artists with much more talent than I have), I suppose I should get back to the picture I was working on.

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