A VERY HUMAN ACTIVITY

Stela Xhiku

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One summer, Gabby the Sinister and I got a taste for sushi while watching commercials. We were in Gabby’s Brooklyn apartment in Fort Greene and had sushi options nearby, but the mutual thinking was that we wanted sushi to look forward to: sushi as main event, as dangerous adventure. We rarely hang out at home, Gabby and I. We go out, mostly to dance, and we eye each public place for possible horseplay and potential trespassing. We are brave together, and dumb as seagulls, which is how our little mood for sushi came to be something so big. Immediately, we turned to Craig, Patron Saint of the Resourceful, great defender of the sixth law of innovation: “technology is a very human activity.” And we appealed to his List.

“Two Women Seeking Man for Sushi Party (MUST HAVE PICS),” read the title of our post. The body text has been lost to wherever old emails go, but the premise was, in short, “we want to eat sushi off your chest.”

The first time I used Craigslist was as a college freshman to get a free speaker system. Someone else, later discovered to be a made-up person, a real double loser, was quicker to grab them than I was. The owner was sorry I missed out, so sorry that she offered me a free tooth-whitening kit. I’m a dental hygienist, she explained, and it’s free. I paid for the shipping and, hilariously, had my identity stolen. I had to cancel my only bank card, so I resorted to selling the communal books from my dorm library and relying on NYU meal swipes for ten days. I had a boyfriend who was very generous until I asked him to buy me a set of acrylic nails with Michael Jackson’s image from eBay, which only supports card transactions. He refused to support my nail habit and I lost the bid. It was a major fight and really the only moment where it felt like my identity -- I mean the essential Me -- was stolen.

Since then, I’ve successfully used Craigslist to sell a bed, to buy a case of sun lotion, and to advertise an anger hotline, which I started with Gabby. We never understand our initial motives, Gab and I, but we are intuitive, and our ad for sushi didn’t disappoint. We received an incredible response. “Hung 7 1/2 thick and cut,” writes a man who is “NOT a thug,” but still doesn’t make our second round. “I bet you will love me LOL,” writes a man who does.

The nudes are ok, for the most part template dicks that these boys likely send en masse. Others send photos special for the occasion, with post-its stuck to their bare chest: the day’s date and “sushi.” I’ve never received nudes but am mostly shocked at how difficult it is to photograph a naked self. Reflections are elusive and seem to mock. One gentleman’s bathroom mirror was so elevated that he had to climb into his sink for the shot.

We narrow down the buck-naked choices and email the finalists:
The situation is that we want to eat a sushi platter in a park. A picnic of sushi. We're both exhibitionists but wouldn't want to make you uncomfortable, so we're asking that you bring a tent so that we can eat outdoors, privately. The weather has been great lately. Do you own a tent?

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Let me explain: Gabby and I are not exhibitionists, but we have jitters. Being in a private kitchen with a vitruvian man of sushi is not an option, so I come up with the tent as the perfect hybrid of public and private. It’s a wonderful idea, really, because it reveals our hero, Folly Kun, who writes:  

I have a tent but it is small. It could work out though. My legs would have to be outside though lol while you and her eat inside. Or My head can be out the tent and you can help yourself to my lower body. No one will no I'll just be relaxing hehe. Can you both send pics of yourself? Thanks!

Gabby and I are in hysterics. We agree that keeping his head popped outside of the tent is best. I get on the phone with Folly and we have a nice conversation. He’s a handyman with access to a cousin’s tent. He sounds normal, so I call Gab and we confirm the plan for a 6:00 PM tent-pitch at the Chelsea Piers.

At 4:00 PM, Folly sends a message: Unfortunately my cousin lost the metal parts to the tent that ground the tent to the floor and hold it up. So the tent won't work. If anything we can still try something outside lol. But I have my own place here in Flushing Queens and you both are more than welcome to come by and even stay the night if all goes well.

He calls my phone a few times and Gab finally answers. “My girl’s upset,” she says, “forget it.” She takes me to the Sushi Samba, doing a really shit cartwheel on the way that lands her ass in front of the Caliente Cab. The out-of-door diners don’t care. It nearly lifts my spirits. I treat my bad mood to an UberPool home, where two twenty-somethings are discussing Face Recognition technology. The discussion, I remember, wasn’t initially crazy but in a matter of minutes they manage to convince each other that faces -- faces! -- don’t have enough precision or identifying qualities. “I don’t get how it works,” they pass back and forth. I’m quiet in the front until I can’t take it anymore and raise my voice to say, “we’re all like snowflakes!”

What? One of them says.

“We are all… like snowflakes.” At this point, I know that I’m not joking, even if what I’m saying is ridiculous.

It stops them talking the rest of the way.