I recently met a young lad with a trimmed beard and glasses, like some geography teacher in late middle-age, but his head was topped with an elaborate quiff. As if that wasn’t juxtaposed enough, he was also dressed like a DayGlow male prostitute circa 1987. He had this hairy belly button that kept peeking out the bottom of his tight t-shirt, which I found a tad disconcerting. A strange kind of mishmash of a fella I thought.
He told me he saw the blog I do but logged off immediately because the fonts I use offend him. I told him a lot of people were offended by Fugger but that reason was a first. I laughed. He didn’t. He told me about his blog. It’s a collection of vidcaps from Pacman with quotes from the Koran written underneath. ‘It won an award’, he said. Then he told me he was part of an arts media collective and that they were running an Ideas Boutique in an unused warehouse his girlfriend’s dad failed to get Namaed. ‘It’s a good space,’ he said ‘you should come down. The coffee’s great and we’re having an odd sock day on Saturday. Everyone’s going to be wearing odd socks. It’s going to be hilarious.’ I realised we didn’t share a sense of humour.
He was sitting on a fixie. It’s a type of bike. He told me that he didn’t ‘fixie’ it up himself. He spent a lot of cash on it. An awful lot of cash. He said his friends mocked him about this until he explained that it was an ironic gesture. ‘Yeah,’ he said, betraying a trace of genuine passion for the first time in the conversation, ‘it’s an ironic 70’s ten-speed Cinelli. An ironic beauty. Ironically stripped of gears, cables, shifters and brakes. It feels good. It moves fast. Battles on the iPod, urging me on, making me feel I’ve got it sooooo right.’ I thought I saw a tear in his eye as he said all that but then he looked down and seemed to pull himself together. When he looked back up and resumed gazing at me, I could only describe his expression as wanna-be Aspergers.
A lull came into the conversation but neither of us seized the opportunity to make our excuses and move on. Well, I was actually waiting for someone but he just stayed there. Then I saw a young couple crossing the road in the distance. They were dressed just like him so I said, ‘are these friends of yours?’ He looked over and saw them and scowled. ‘What them,’ he spat, ‘as fukin if’. He seemed quite angry. I wasn’t sure what was going on so I just shrugged.
He eventually took his leave of me, saying he had a deadline for a really interesting viral he was making for an office stationary supply firm based in Kinnegad. ‘Laters,’ he said and zipped off on his fixie.
Strange sort. Friendly enough I thought. I found myself wondering what he was going to be like in ten or twenty years time, you know, when he has a bit of a belly on him, maybe a kid or two and a persistent medical complaint. I wondered how he was going to make that work. I decided he’d probably just repackage himself. Like the ravers in my day. One of those old ravers probably owns the office stationary supply firm in Kinnegad.
Anyway, the interesting thing about all this was his surname. I can’t remember how we started talking or what the guy’s christian name was but I do seem to recall his surname. I swear to God that I heard it right and I swear to God it was Dotcom. Something Dotcom. Or was that the name of his blog?