Thursday, 11 February 2010

End day 11: The Boogie (wo)man and sirens

...Tired!!!! Still today has been interesting. I decided rather than rush a secondary hood to cover my mouth zip, I'd face the world with a zipped up smile!

No drama getting to the first workshop. I showed up and had a bit of a convo, stayed still on and off for about an hour and a half, then we had to have a break.

Now, on the billboard as I walked in it said "fire drill today" ...I grinned.

As a result on our breaks we've got to stay as a group should the alarm sound. So I followed the group downstairs (yes, fully clad in zentai, Caterpillar boots, and a beanie) and we sat in the little cafe and we were talking about chocolate at the time.

.."what is she doing?!"
.."It's ok she.."
.."I don't like it"
.."She works as a model, it's ok..."

My ears drifted off elsewhere in the vicinity to this conversation. The joys of having your peripheral vision available. I looked to my left to see two figures clearly looking at me. The tutor had walked over there and began explaining what I was doing. One of the two there sounded interested and curiosity got the better of me with the other person who was slightly bothered.

So I turned and looked and cocked my head to one side in a playful manner. The lady who was ok smiled. I took that as a cue to go over and explain myself and to hopefully put the other woman at ease.

"Oh dear...I can't see your face!" she chuckles nervously.
"Well, you can see my eyes can't you?" I ask. She turns a very bright shade of red, "sorry, if I unzip this would that be better?" I unzip my mouth zipper so she can identify part of my face.
", OH NO!!!" she shouts, then begins to cry.

"Shit" I think...but again, curiosity got the better of me and I asked her, "do you think you could tell me what about me is upsetting you?"

"NOooo, please, just go!!!!"

I turn my back to her and talk to the other lady for a second, "I really didn't mean to upset her, I'm just genuinely curious" I walked back to the group who were all as puzzled as I was about her mass hysteria.

The whole room was full of her cries and repetitively stating, "I just don't like it!! NO, I don't like it!" Having drawn a lot of attention to myself for the wrong reasons, I felt a bit sheepish :-( and discussed with the other artist's if I'd actually done anything wrong.

Then the other lady came up to me and explained that the hysterical woman had a bad experience in her childhood and I triggered a relapse of sorts. She tapped me reassuringly on my shoulder and smiled over hers as she went back to try and calm the woman down. As reassuring as that tap and smile was, the shrill "I JUST DON'T LIKE IT!!" was getting to me. The rest of the group seemed content with that explanation in addition to the possibility of there being learning difficulties in tow. I wasn't.

I WANTED to know, how a completely hidden identity - essentially a living shadow - could manifest itself as a childhood nightmare? I know I can think of certain scenarios...quite awful ones and others that include a balaclava as opposed to a complete hood. But being female and showing so (my jacket was completely open and it falls to either side of my cleavage) it further makes the mind boggle as to what those terrifying memories could have been.

Ho hum. Back to the class and we're tipped off that the sirens will sound in about 2 minutes..I just got out of my zentai suit!

As soon as the back zip is done, off it goes! And we all have to trundle down the stairs (I've forgotten to do the laces) and outside. I did film it, but it's a bit all over the place. I may up the footage on youtube at some point...maybe. Never the less it was the quickest fire drill I've ever been part of! Myself and a lady from the group pretty much tagged up and when the building supervisor said we could go back in, we walked back in without a pause in our step! Ace.

The rest of the class goes without incident, and a few more people are interested in what I'm doing. As they thought the suit was just a one off (no chance!) from last time but they twigged now.

The same hysterical woman was at the reception but I saw her before she saw me and I put my collar up quite high and made a get away quickly before there was more unnecessary drama. I did hear her breath picking up quite sharpish so I guess it was definitely the right move at the time!

On the train, the usual staring and such, and frowning, but I caught myself in staring competitions with people. It was a bit one sided as they were a long way away and couldn't see my eyes. So they thought they were having a cheeky peek when in actual fact they were being stared upon in equal measure. Needless to say, it's amazing what a slight tilt of the head to one side does to people *grins*

I got some food at the station before getting on the tube home, and the folks in the kitchen behind the front of the food store were looking at me and laughing, and running off to the sides like little school girls, then peeking, then giggling, then pointing. If I wasn't in a rush, I'd have pointed back..and opened my mouth zipper and stuck my tongue out at them playfully but I just wanted my brie, spinach, bacon and cranberry bagel and 3 mini "pain-au-choc" and get a move on. Ooooh, Londoner mentality alert!

An hour and a half: chow down on food, reply to e-mails for future work, breathe...go to job 2 of today.

Being a person who doesn't work in an office, it's easy to forget when rush hour is. Let it be known that between 5.50 and 6.50 it's still considered rush hour. Luckily for me though, I'm not a suite, I'm too calm to be crazy, but I'm odd enough to have people leave me some space on the tube and on the train :-) A lot of people stared, and I just stared right back at them. It would appear it takes them a minute longer to actually twig that there are a pair of marginally hidden eyes looking back at them. And when they do they shuffle around like they had a rubber band flung at their face in school. Just me then? ah.

I got to the second class, and Caron (the lovely lady who gave us our second video reaction) was startled, again! And she laughed and asked me what was going on. To which I said, "this ain't a one off luv! It's the whole month!" and the questions of responses, why, what spurred it etc. came out.

Then...I showed her my zipper. She actually didn't notice it until then and I found the following interesting:

• Talking to her with the zipper closed, she was listening, but I was muffled.

• Talking to her with the zipper open, irked her MORE than not seeing my mouth initially.

• THEN closing the zipper again threw her off completely!

How odd is that?! I know that in a conversation what you actually say bares little importance in the grand scheme of things, but visuals - as minute as a mouth - seem to really be key.

Other artists arrived, and a regular came in and went, "Oh god. Not you again!"

"love you too" says I :-)

"No no, it's just...that suit..why?? I reminds me of those Jihad clips and stuff"

"Erm...well, whatever floats your boat, squire. I'm Jewish though so haven't a clue what you're on about" a few in the room giggle.

He carries on with some stuff I'd rather not repeat, but in contrast to the hysterical woman who had a personal fear, it would appear this guy had a "fear" or uncomfortable feeling about me due to peer pressure and the media. He KNOWS who I am, and when the suit comes off it's fine. But when it's on...the availability to objectification means that his mind warps me into the nearest box he can comfortably put my "identity" into.


The lesson goes on without any issue as does getting back to the tube. At 10pm, I've noticed people are too tired to even bother registering what's around them. Those who do probably don't have any lights upstairs at that moment in time as they look, stare for a good minute then go back to picking their nose or whatever it was that enthralled them!

On home stretch, I come out of the tube system into the ticket office to find people and bags, and hand cuffs and scuffling and police officers...high end ones too! Not the community police, not the British transport police, not even the Met Police in their high vis yellow kit. These guys are in navy blue...latex gloves, cuffs, batons and it looks like a raid of some description is going on.

And I'm walking through all this. My heart is steady, my walk in time with Boyz Noise - Jeffer (yes I'm addicted to that track) playing at that moment in time through my head phones, and my breathing as deep and resounding as it usually is. It's only after I walk out of the office to ground level that it hits me....I was looking straight at these officers and the situation making ends meet in my head; yet at that moment in time they would have had a fully justified reason to ask me what I was getting up to.

I giggled.

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