Interlude Docs

Doc 120: Christina Catherine Martinez

A letter I received from a Los Angeles artist that was left in my car shortly after we went on a date.
It reads: 

May 14, 2021

Dear Christina,

I am very sorry about your car, but was happy to hear that the police found it. I hope you’ve been getting by okay. I was planning to slip this letter through the open window, but will have to try something else.

I apologize for the delay in reaching out to you after what happened. It has taken much longer than a few days for me to rebuild my confidence. I apologize for asking you out on a date, failing to fulfill the pretty basic expectations I set up for myself, and having an anxiety attack in the restaurant. I was sliding out of my chair, paralyzed, I could not speak, I was looking down on myself thinking, “Oh God, XXXX, what have you done?” Looking at you across the table, I felt like I was in trouble and being reprimanded by an authority figure behind a desk (teacher, principal, counselor, boss). I am embarrassed by all of my behavior from picking you up to dropping you off. Clearly I thought I was ready for something like that, but I am not. Clearly, I had something I wanted to prove to myself, but then set us up for failure. I apologize for putting you through that excruciating experience. Needless to say, I was dealing with a lot of other problematic situations at the time, which contributed to my breaking down.

Yes, I want to stay friends and go on walks and go to Walt’s. I was tickled that you said “stay” friends because I wasn’t sure that we were friends. I certainly want to be. The way I developed a crush on you was from afar, which is dehumanizing – I developed a crush on you by seeing you perform, reading your writing, seeing you on the Internet everyday, and looking for your car everyday as I drove down Ave 61. At some point I started thinking about you a lot, and you began to loom large in my mind, but this was before we had even had a conversation, which is really no way, or at least an extremely inauthentic way, or at least what, in my view, has become a barrier to you and I making a connection through conversation. It’s like we are trying to get to know each other, but continually pushed apart by the wedge of previous knowledge each of us has about the other person. There have been moments of true authentic connection which have been very special. When I speak to you, I am speaking to who I think you are, anticipating who you think I am. It’s hard to talk to you because I don’t know how you see me. Sometimes when you are talking to me, I don’t feel connected to the person you are talking to. Sometimes you make assumptions about my feelings that are not accurate.

I know that you said you did not think I was forward with you, but for me, this is more forward than I’ve ever been. Usually I am extremely passive, and I am incredibly insecure about my emasculating, pathetic passivity. Predictably, my attempt at performing masculine assertiveness resulted in me ending up even more insecure, vulnerable, and pathetic. Again, I am sorry for putting you through this. Who are you? Do you want to be friends? Not sure we are romantically compatible, but I do really like you. But actually I shouldn’t say that because my idea of you is so influenced by your public persona and my fantasies, and even though your public persona is very authentic, it’s still a persona. I don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry it took me so long to write this. Yes, I do have problems and blocks. I do have substance abuse issues, and even though they aren’t that serious, sobriety is best. You’re amazing. You’re right (most of the time). Walk soon?


Christina Catherine Martinez is a writer, actor, award-winning art critic, and comedian living in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Aperture, Frieze, Artforum, Bookforum, e-flux criticism,DOCUMENT Journal, and Texte Zur Kunst, as well as in various anthologies and artist catalogues. The Comedy Bureau has described her live act as “a great bridge between many different disciplines, including performance art, stand-up, and clowning.” Her television work includes writing for The Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim and starring in the short-form series Two Pink Doors on FX/Hulu. She has completed performance commissions for REDCAT, MOCA, LACMA, ARToronto, and the SXSW Comedy Festival. A book of essays, named after her ongoing comedy talk show Aesthetical Relations was published in 2019 from Hesse Press. 


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