Looking for Mr. Tennis

collaborative interview on Craig’s List “Pets chat room” with curator Patricia Maloney for the SFAI publication Shaving the Mammoth:  2008

Screen shot of Craig’s List chat room conversation, 3/22/08  10:20AM

Bay Area based curator Patricia Maloney invited me to participate in an interview with her.  The interview appeared in the San Francisco Art Institute’s curatorial studies publication “Shaving the Mammoth” in May of 2008.

We both wanted the interview to be something more than a normal interview.  We wanted it to be a project in itself.  We decided that we would conduct the interview in the public sphere of a chat room.  We were both very interested in how the other participants might interact and change the discussion.  We decided that the Craig’s List Pet’s Chat room made the most sense because it had such a high volume of traffic.  So on March 22nd, 2008, we began our discussion.

The following is a transcript of the the interview in the Pets Chat Room on Craigs List.

Patricia is  Pleistocene_Barber

and I am it_will_not_work

the other participants are unknown.

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What really happened to the note? < Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:07:28

Did the cat take it?


The cat had something to do with it <
it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:10:21

Part of the issue with the note was the cat. He was insecure about the fact that he couldn’t come to terms with the fact that his girlfriend was putting her cat on a leash and taking it out in public. But the note was one of those relationship mysteries, where the lines of truth begin to blur.


Do you think the cat has < Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:12:46

latent aggressive tendencies toward you? Perhaps it wasn’t aware there was anything wrong with being on a leash until you pointed it out.


I think cats would not mind being on a leash if
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:23:01

they didn’t know any better. But I had a problem with this. I didn’t think the cat should be on a leash. And I think that the cat most likely did pick up on my energy. I think it might have liked the fact that my ex-girlfriend kept it on a leash. I hadn’t considered the fact that the cat might have taken the note… But it’s a possibility. I think cats have much more of particular feeling about individuals than most animals. I remember this cat that a friend had. I would come over to his house and hang out. There was a really long hall that would lead to the living room. I would come over and sit in the living room and at some point in the evening (this always happened), the cat would come running down the hall and attack me… like jump onto my stomach and try to bite and claw me and then it would charge back down the hall into the darkness. I would have scratch marks on my face and arms. It only did this with me. So, yes, I think that the cat that we are discussing might have had an issue with me because I had an issue with the leash. I think cats would probably not care about being on a leash unless someone points it out to them that it’s not a normal thing.


But you were wearing a wolf suit
< Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:27:13

that looked more like a rat suit. Surely the poor animal was confused. Were you predator or prey? Either way, you had to be attended to.


During that time the cat < it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:29:57

was not around. It ran away. I think the neighbors were feeding it. The wolf suit (not a rat suit) was really a sort desperate attempt to win her back. I thought it would make me more manly. I thought she would see me in the suit and come back to me. I think it might have scared the cat.


Is it more manly to look like a rat or a wolf? § < Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:36:04


wolf § < Trollology > 03/22 10:37:02


why? Most fictional rats are men. § < Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:39:29


wolfs can kill people rats don’t much < Trollology > 03/22 10:41:01

maybe they bite but they are kinda wussy like. they have a reputation but it’s just fear of them.


rats carry some serious diseases. < it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:43:14

I think it would be manly to carry a serious disease. I’m conflicted about this.


oh i know about rats i live in New York < Trollology > 03/22 10:44:01

it’s mostly myths


I like rats… They are pretty manly lol. § < AshleySusan > 03/22 10:44:10


well < SssnakessS > 03/22 10:38:02

rats have bigger balls?


They do have huge balls… § < AshleySusan > 03/22 10:44:56


I think a wolf is more manly. < it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:39:28

But I also think it was a bad idea to wear the wolf suit. It was too manly. In the end the wolf suit became a sort of shining symbol… a beacon that would float up in the sky and guide her back to me… away from the arms of Mr. Tennis.


But Mr Tennis doesn’t need a wolf suit
< Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:54:42

In fact, he was wearing those stupid tennis shorts while you were standing outside in 80 degree weather barking through the fence. How was that going to work?


wolves < ryorkies > 03/22 10:58:55

have some pretty good maternal instincts.
Not sure if that would make them more man like.


I like what AshleySusan said about rats
. < it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:05:01

She said they have huge balls. Maybe it was a rat suit. Maybe that’s why Mr. Tennis was so scared of me when I threw the tennis ball over the fence when he was trying to play tennis with you (Linda Cole… I know it’s you… I know you are trying to taunt me through this chat room. I know you know I’m more manly than Mr. Tennis because I’m more sensitive than him).


rats have over the top mothering instincts < SssnakessS > 03/22 11:05:45

but the males have bigger balls, and they breed more, so rats are definitely more manly.


Then it was a rat suit (not a wolf suit)…
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:09:01

that I was wearing. That settles it.


well just do this………….
< Trollology > 03/22 11:08:35

take a rat and a wolf and piss them both off and put them in a room together. whoever walks out is the manliest. done.


but first, make them the same size < SssnakessS > 03/22 11:28:07

if you do, the rat will win, I guarantee it.


Does the cat prefer Mr. Tennis to you? §
< Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:20:06


no § < ny-ny-ny > 03/22 10:20:45


I have to agree with ny-ny-ny
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:24:42

I think it might have liked me more than Mr. Tennis. But it’s hard to say.


i don’t even know what the hell we’re talking < ny-ny-ny > 03/22 10:25:25



sorry, we’re talking about this cat that my
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:27:09

ex-girlfriend had. She would put it on a leash and take it out and I had a problem with it. I think I should have just accepted it. We would still be together today if it weren’t for that, I think.


I think ny-ny-ny can help you with this §
< asutton > 03/22 10:28:48


i put my caiman on a leash. it’s life §
< ny-ny-ny > 03/22 10:31:14


I guess. But when we were in the park…
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:36:23

and the cat was on a leash, I could see that everyone was looking at us. And sometimes I’d have to walk with it. And… I know… it’s life. But I kept thinking, “is this how I am? Am I on a leash too?” Maybe that was my real issue… not the cat and leash. I just needed to accept the cat and leash and move on.


Is that why you let the cat get out? < Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:44:56

Because you felt trapped and so you assumed the cat felt trapped, so instead of just owning up to your feelings, you “accidentally” left the door open?! What if the neighbor hadn’t fed it? Didn’t you hear it scratching and meowing at the back door, wanting to get back in? Or were you too preoccupied with your delusions of freedom? What do you think a relationship is?!!!


There’s a lot of delusion going on here.
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 10:51:16

What I thought was freedom turned into my own prison. I think the cat on the leash thought it was free until I pointed out the fact that it wasn’t. I never heard it scratching at the back door. I was crying a lot and driving around at night (in my wolf suit). Are you Linda Cole?


I’m feeling that a bit myself right now LOL §
< asutton > 03/22 10:55:08


I’ll only answer if you tell me
< Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 10:55:45

what clothes pile transcendence is.


I think you are Linda Cole…
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:00:48

but I’ll tell you this: sometimes when you have so much longing for someone, when you know that they are really there for you, but that they can’t be with you physically because there is someone named MARK who is keeping them from you, then it is possible to go through a clothes pile and transcend your reality. It’s possible to go to a place and be with that person. I think a clothes pile is a way to do this. Clothes piles are very depressing and beautiful.


You know they left everything in the room
< Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 11:11:20

the way it was when you disappeared. The pizza box and beer cans, even the notebook on the table. Yes, I read it. But it still doesn’t explain everything. Physical traces aren’t enough, you know. You can’t just leave the pile of clothes on the floor and expect me to imagine that you still occupy them somehow. That you are still present. Even if your friends keep playing over and over again what happened, or the witnesses don’t understand what they saw. Sometimes when you are gone, you’re gone.


but I’m still here < it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:19:21

I’m replying to you from the other side of the clothes pile. Objects carry the traces. An old shirt that I wore is enough for me to be there. The speed stick is part of me. It is me. Part of my underarm is part of the speed stick. You were the one who vanished. You were the one who didn’t tell me about your boyfriend. You were the one who sent me here to this place I am now… I know you are Linda Cole. But I also don’t blame you. I blame myself. Maybe you can have the speed stick and think of me each time you apply it. Part of me will be part of you.


Everything for you disappears, doesn’t it? < Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 11:35:47

The note is gone, the wolf suit floats away, Linda gets lost in the video phone, and finally you. If you can’t hold onto it, it is not allowed to remain present in the world. Things lost have to go somewhere else. Are you all in the same place now?


You are Linda Cole. I’m sure of it. §
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:22:56


Linda? Are you there? § < it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:23:46


Linda? § < it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:24:24


Linda!!!!!! § < it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:25:08


I have to go out now.
< Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 11:46:12

If anyone calls, will you leave a note?


I promise to leave the note this time
§ < it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:47:57


my hands feel like stones are living in them §
< it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:49:26


It will work § < it_will_not_work > 03/22 11:40:18


But perhaps not so well § < Pleistocene_Barber > 03/22 11:44:04