I met the beautifully tragic yet stubbornly unbroken Jana on a street corner in Chinatown, on a bitterly cold afternoon a year ago today. I was three layers(cashmere, thermal, cotton) deep under my North Face with the hood up over my black leather Kangol hunting cap, and I still wasn’t certain how long I could last shifting from one foot to the other. Which is why I was a little surprised when she came up to me wearing nothing but a tattered white angora sweater and a pair of tight blue jeans. I was immediately knocked out by her smile and her diamond colored eyes and rawkstar white skin. She’s even paler in real life.
I gave her an awkward hug.
“Where’s your coat?” I asked, assuming she’d left it in a nearby café.
“I left it in Boston,” she said, in a voice so impossibly angelic I felt like hitting myself in the face. She smiled even wider and her eyes twinkled like a devilish doll.
“What!” I shouted.
She jumped in surprise and then broke into a melody of sweet giggles.
I couldn’t believe her voice was so high pitched. It’s funny cuz it was a detail I’d given to Sterling Fassbinder: that the voice of this tuff dyke ex-junkie was a soft, sing-song little tweet. Not that The Pants is a dyke or an ex-junkie but she’s definitely tuff. Beautiful, broken and TUFF. Her fluttery starling song turned out to be one of those initial strange facts that has the potential to throw me off and make me completely fall for a person. Just like her decision to place a pic of a knife holder in the shape of a human stick figure with the knives stabbing him all over his bright red plastic body on the right margin of her site. Cool, I thought, back when I'd just found her--the knife holder got me wondering about design and products and personality—all of it a big rush of ideas and themes and beautiful lessons and it was cuz of this pic, This Pic by The Pants, and the effect was enough to make me stop, pause and fall for her right then and there.
So, in actuality the real life falling was the second time I’d fallen for her—once online and now once on a freezing cold street in Chinatown.
We had a snack in an anonymous cafe and ended up in a bookstore on Spring, where she convinced me to buy the Oblivion collection of short stories by David Foster Wallace...a book i took with me on a plane months later, in which I read a story that took place on a plane and was filled with secret instructions written just for me.