Built for Speed

And what makes Speed so adept at "cruising"? I consider sexual rejection to be my mentor," he says, chuckling through his teeth like Hanna-Barbera's Muttley. "When you're chasing after a woman, as I often am, and she disses you--I mean, what is that? It's just the most incredible, powerful feeling. Women are emissaries of the universe: They're living chaos, given flesh. And to not be able to experience them, to be left out of their world, is to be divorced from nature. I mean, we're all deeply alienated from wherever we began. But ironically, the alienation of sexual rejection has forced me to re-locate those connections that exist between all of us. And that in turn has led me to the vicarious orgasm--the understanding that I can make love to a woman from across the room. It's about taking the horniness from down here [pointing to his crotch] and moving it up to your brain. I had many vicarious orgasms after the screening last night."

Uh-huh. So "vicarious orgasms" represent "the cruise" and separation anxiety is the "anti-cruise"--unless the cruiser can reverse the flow of that negative energy. Speed says that's what he was trying to accomplish in the film through his uncharacteristic (and rather ugly) rant against his mother. ("When I emanated from your bloody thighs, if I'd known all this, I'm sure I would have crawled back in.") "It was a moment I fell into," Speed says of this outburst, "and I do fall into them. I think the pronouncement of that scene is that anger exists. It's a weak, exhilarated kind of self-absorption, but it's a lot of fun--and anger is very important to me. And enemies are important to me. Enemies are inevitable. I mean, if you're truly following your bliss, you're bound to alienate the mediocre. And mediocrity is everywhere. But I would argue that joy is our true state. Depression, despair, and these other things are really just us falling asleep at the feet of a miracle. So the question becomes, 'Are the betrayals and rejections of your life going to shut you down or open you up further?'"

Naturally, the encyclopedic Speed finishes his point about "opening up" with a quotation. "According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, if you make one life on this planet breathe easier because you're on it, then you are successful. And Emerson was certainly cruising."

"I consider sexual rejection to be my mentor": Timothy "Speed" Levitch in The Cruise
"I consider sexual rejection to be my mentor": Timothy "Speed" Levitch in The Cruise

The Cruise starts Wednesday, November 25 at the Uptown Theatre.

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