Fly Sweater (and another, which precedes it, entitled Curious George Moles) by Rob Fordyce

Curious George Moles
There is a performance piece in which, at one point, I sit in my underwear removing Curious George bandages from my body. Under each bandage there is a small black pill. When I remove the bandages the pills remain stuck to my skin due to pressure and perspiration. Periodically I pluck a pill off and begin rolling it between my fingers. I repeat this action a number of times until my hands are stained black. The pills are medication for anxiety. An acquaintance of mine watched documentation of this piece and wondered what the hell I was doing. Initially, to her, it looked like I was pulling moles off of my body. She pointed out, with some sensitivity, and in a tone of confidentiality, that I have quite a few moles on my body.

I have been advised to limit my exposure to the sun, and to keep track of my moles, to take note of any change in their size, or shape. I find keeping track of moles a disconcerting activity. They always seem to be changing size and shape. Some are located in places that are difficult to see, and I do have a lot of moles. It makes me nervous to monitor myself in this way. I find it easier to monitor others.

One time I was performing this piece and my hands were black with residue from the pills. I rubbed my eyes and my vision became blurry. I finished the performance, went to a nearby eye washing station, and washed my eyes. My vision remained blurry. I was exhausted from the performance and all the preparation for the performance. I started to feel sweaty and dizzy, I could feel and hear my heart palpitating. I couldn’t decide if my vision was blurry because I was anxious about rubbing anti-anxiety medicine into my eyes, or if it was blurry because I had rubbed anti-anxiety medication into my eyes. I thought: Should I seek medical attention? Would this just pass? I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. I was embarrassed.

It seems that I might not be the right choice for monitoring a galaxy of moles that cover my body and remind me of how little control I have over my own mortality.

Fly Sweater
I wanted a fly swatter because a wasp had stung someone I love. I went to a store. I looked in the seasonal section and I looked in the housewares section. I couldn’t think of where else it might be. I explained my dilemma to a woman standing behind a counter.

She asked, “Fly sweater?”

I said, “No, no. I need a fly swatter, something to kill flies.” and then I made a swatting gesture.

She looked at me.

After a moment I said, “I don’t think you have any, I didn’t see any, thanks.”

“No, no, no.” She said sounding alarmed. She called out to a second woman who came over. They discussed the situation, first in English and then, at length, in a different language. They apologized.

I thanked them and left the counter.

When I want something I can convince myself that it is there and that I can find it, because I want it, I want to stop looking for it.

I continued to wander the store.

I spotted a woman in a uniform and told her about the wasp and the conversation with the two other women. She remarked on the conversation saying, “That sounds weird”, and she told me that the flyswatters were in the pet department.

I had killed the wasp in a fit of rage hitting it over, and over, and over again.

Rob Fordyce is a visual artist and writer who wears corrective lenses and has a deep mistrust of words.