Naked and blue
Naked and blue

    She's naked now, but she is still going to have laundry to do.  She wasn't blue when she got up this morning and she won't be blue next Monday.  And she keeps her stuff under a roof somewhere just like the rest of us.  When I see this picture however, I assume that she is a naked, blue person outside where everybody can see her, that that is what she is rather than that is what she is doing, that one day, with some luck, I will encounter her, still naked and blue, walking through the mall.  Because seeing through the lens of stereotypes is easy, I see simple templates of people as I go through my day.  A police officer, a waitress, oh, and there's a naked, blue person.
    The irony: She is doing the opposite.  While I think, huh, a naked, blue person, she experiences, huh, I can be anything.  Here's what I imagine: She woke up yesterday, a Thursday, in her apartment in Reno, Nevada, showered, dressed in stylish jeans and blouse, bought a coffee and poppy seed muffin at Starbuck's, and went to her job as a store manager at Abercrombie and Fitch.  She was embarrassed later in the day when she forgot to zip up all of the way after going to the bathroom.  She blushed and averted her eyes when a cute boy caught her looking at him.  And all day long, a missing button on her blouse caused her to suffer
a low-level anxiety.  And yet, twenty-four hours later, she drove to the Burning Man Festival, took off all of her clothes, and,with the help of some lucky boy, rubbed blue paint all over her body.  After ten minutes, she forgot that she had no clothes on and started looking at naked people's faces again.  A person wearing a hat looked pretty much like a person wearing only a hat.  All parts of her body - elbow, butt, knee, tit - became equal parts of her body.  For two days, she got stoned, danced, mingled with thousands of people, ate what was at hand when she was hungry, and slept when and where she was tired.  Just as I don't know ahead of time how to interact with a naked blue girl person - I have to make it up as I go along - what constraints can she possibly feel after getting naked, blue, and outside in a crowd? 
    On Sunday night, she put on her clothes, and went home again.  By Monday morning, she stuffed her body back into elastic, most of her perceptions of other people back into her stereotypes, and her identity back into the box the rest of us can easily identify as a store manager.  Everybody can relax. 
    But I don't want to relax.  I don't like blinding myself to facets of other people because I am too lazy, busy, or frightened to set aside my stereotypes.  I hate that I fail to be, see, or feel something because I don't think I can.  The closest I come to being
naked, blue, and outside in a crowd today is owning a Prius and voting for a negro to be president.  When I was her age, I lived closer to the edge.  To manage my daughter's soccer team, I have to wear clothes and be the color I was born.  Being naked and blue in my house alone when I make dinner or do the laundry is not wild and crazy.  It's silly.  Knowing that I could be naked, blue, and outside in a crowd is not enough to snap loose the elastic that contains my desires or bust up the box I use to define myself to me and the people around me.  I am a suburban, middle-aged, white guy because that's what I do all of the time, which is fine.  I'm very happy being that, but some time, if for only a long sunny afternoon, I need to be outside, painted blue, naked, and in a big crowd.  Green would be fine too.  Red's a little weird, but green's okay.