Monday, July 30, 2012

Hang out Type: One on One

Hermano a hermano.

The one on one is my thing. One on ones you can roll deep , symbiotic with another human, running tasks, eating food, moving forward in one silent in sync motion.  Finding moments to share thoughts that seem random like something you read about numerology or ancient Romans or how you remember the first time you saw your mom lie or how you don't think you can ever honestly love someone because you just don't trust a single soul.  The most casual comment to the most intimate woven together with ease between the two of you, along with jokes and sound advice.  It carries an intimacy that I am addicted to and that I find necessary to gain from most friends in order to feel we gently push the boundaries of our friendship outwards, to a further place.  Providing a space for the friendship not just as a pair but allowing a sincere space for one of your partners in living to be distinctively human, where they can say what they want and exist how they wish.   

Groups are solid and it is rad to be able to pull off a genuinely good time with a large amount of  people.  But one on ones are the essential building blocks to a friendship.  Make the time for near and dear and make sure you are readily available, undistracted, open and ready.  You can answer that text later.  Turn to your pal and breathe slow, do something nice, this is the moment you will remember when you think about them when they are not around anymore.  

Personal Side Note.  Mano a mano. This dude was reading my palm explaining to me that your left hand stays the same, it's your overall narrative but your right palm changes and gives a heads up to where you're at in the moment.  Looking at my hand his eyebrows arched in empathy and he says to me, "You really feel what others are going through, you take in their energy".  The comment made me stumble out of my smugness for a moment and I smirk and weakly say "yea".  And with even more sentiment he says to me, "No. Like you really feel it, to the point it's unbearable.  You might even avoid being around people because of it".  My response in this moment was to pull my hand away because being that seen is not my thing but that sentiment is almost always counteracted by wanting to give in, hoping that I have found someone to give into. What he said was true.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hang Out Song Break #5

Discovered while hanging out in Ft. Greene Park, late evening, after werk.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

People to Hang Out With: Traveling Guest

Cyrus sitting quietly in Central Park

Over the years I have had the pleasure (mostly) of meeting random folks who needed to sleep on my couch.  Recently I had the pleasure of hosting Cyrus who made his way into my home as the travel partner of my friend Mel who had decided to pay New York a visit.  To entertain ourselves one evening I interviewed Cyrus on hanging out and afterwards we watched a bunch of Sublime and No Doubt videos online.

EIA: Cyrus so I ‘m interviewing you because we are in my living room and I told you that I wrote a blog about hanging out and then you-
C: I got so excited.
EIA: Yea you got really excited and then you said you like to hang out.
C: I did. And I still fancy myself as someone who likes to hang out although I don’t hang out like I use to.  I think that’s part of growing up and burning out and getting old.
EIA: Burning out about hanging out – you just said..
C: That might have happened to me a little bit.
EIA: Like recently?
C: No, after I grew up and moved out of said small town.  I never really found that community of transient like street kids, it was such diversity- they were all so funny. All the kids were really funny and it was just a very funny scene. And I’ve never found that anywhere else.
EIA: You were talking about that you like hanging out and specifically the first example you thought of was when you were younger-
C: Hanging out in the streets
EIA: -and you were living in?
C:    Salem, Oregon
EIA: And you were like a street kid?
C: No I would go home in the evening but I would hang out on the streets in the day. Like after school I would go like go hang out downtown for a few hours to several hours.
EIA: And so you were saying like now you feel like you never found that.
C: I never found that kind of community anywhere, where people just sit on the sidewalks and are so full of humor and life, beauty and joy. 
EIA: Do you attribute that to an age thing maybe?
C: Maybe, yea. Honestly when I walk past groups of young kids hanging out in the streets somewhere who look like they are kinda down and out, looking like they want to get fucked up or something, I don’t really give them much of a chance or give the time of them day anymore.  Ya know?  And I think part of that is that I wouldn’t think that they were as funny or as cool as the kids were back in the day.  And in that way sometimes I kinda find myself jaded about a lot of things in that way. 
EIA: But is there I mean – when I talked about having a blog about hanging out you did get excited so-
C: I did get excited and I still like the idea of hanging out and in a way I still hang out but it’s a lot less social then it used to be.
EIA: How’s that?
C: I think I’ve gotten more shy.  And like I hung out all day in Central Park but I didn’t talk to a soul.  And nobody spoke to me.  And that is something that I liked about the Salem  street kid scene or whatever is that hardly anyone could ever walk past us without being – we would talk to them or somebody would always shout out to them- there was always some player interaction with passersby.
EIA: Antagonistic or just random?
C: Sometimes yea  or funny though. Antagonistic or funny.
EIA: So whadya do today? 
C:Today I just sat quietly.
EIA: But you also went to the museum
C: Yea I went to the museum and I was quiet there too.
EIA: You had a Central Park day
C: Yea I did. 
EIA: I guess I’m trying to think of why you used the term “hanging out” as opposed to saying “I spent the day” – and then you kinda didn’t mention –initially you really just thought of your time hanging out in the park as opposed to your time that you spent doing something which was going to the museum so – why do you think you used those words?
C: I think that I think of hanging out as maybe where I first came across the idea that I was really just loitering somewhere and hanging out and in Salem there was often this- where the street kids would hang there was always a battle with the city.  The shop owners were always trying to get people to leave and we were always trying to have a place to hang out and it was this sorta thing and I think I just associate, like when I think about hanging out – I mean I can think about hanging out with friends in a different way but I still think about hanging out or hanging around as like meaning hanging out on the street and talking with people who also hang out on the street. 
EIA: Right because of that initial experience that’s what frames your idea of what hanging out means.
C: That’s true.
EIA: What are your favorite things to do while you’re hanging out?
C: Well I do like to people watch.  And maybe even back then part of the fascination with me hanging out or whatever wasn’t so much me- I think that I came to know the other people that were hanging out but a lot of it was just watching them be really funny, interacting with people and being funny.  I also just like people watching in any which way but I also think that it’s more fun when you have somebody to people watch with because then you can like make up stories about the people who are walking about.
EIA: (Laughter)  I never thought about that- sounds like a lot of fun.
C: Oh it’s a lot of fun, we should do that sometime.
EIA:  I had a boyfriend we use to like to go to restaurants and sit really close to people who seemed like they were going on their first date and pretend that we were also on our first date– we were basically eaves dropping on people and enjoying the awkwardness that was going on between them.  It was a little bit-
C: That’s fun!
EIA: I felt kinda bad- because you would be like “Oh that was so painful!” I just always thought dates were so awkward.
C: And when you hang out somewhere you get to see a whole variety like in the park today I saw couples and you can kinda like watch them and be like “Oh they’re not going to be together very much longer” just the way that they’re interacting.  Ya know she’s suddenly walking ten feet in front of him and ya know it’s exciting to see that change.  And then there’s that new couple that are shyly hanging out on the bench way off to the side and they look kinda annoyed when you walk by because you know they wanna smooch or whatever. Or you see the people who’ve been together- or just voyeuristically are just all over each other.  There is just all different levels.
EIA: Yea it’s interesting that you use the term voyeuristic I was in the park yesterday with my friend and he was like “What is it Valentine’s Day or something?”, there were three couples making out within ten feet of each other as we walked by down this path and I think one of my favorite things about New York is use of outdoor space and how people just don’t give a shit about  living their lives on the street because there is not enough space inside or something so people live their lives out on the street which like gives this new – the hanging out in the street here is phenomenal like there’s people playing cards or chatting with neighbors or -
C: It’s beautiful.
EIA: -yea you just have this really amazing human interaction
C: Spain was like that. I went to Spain when I was young and people would hang out like every day like outside on their porches or the park benches and in certain cities like Sevilla people were really just necking everywhere, people were getting it on! And I thought it was beautiful, I was just like, “This is really beautiful!” I would so much rather see people making out then trying to sell each other things or get things from each other—it’s beautiful to see.
EIA: So right now you are on a short sojourn through the US?
C: Well this is an epic journey for me at this point.
EIA: Yea but you’ve only been gone for like-
C: A week.  But I’ve got a long way to go!

Friday, July 13, 2012

"I guess I'm an alien",

  - a friend says to me on the phone while we discuss how when in grad school we would try to explain to our peers that our obtainment of higher education was really a goal to not work 40 hours a week.  To be so skilled and bad ass in our fields of interest that we could get away with working half the amount of time for twice the amount of money.  When you are in grad school the goal of trying not to have a career is foreign and people stare at you funny.  Despite this mantra of mine my body and mind did become infected with the notions of success and maturity.  What does it mean to have those things?  What does that look like?  This is really about losing your way on the path or rather losing the path on your way.

Interpret as you wish.

Several  months after graduation I went on a camping trip with two very new friends, Gil and Mikey. On our last day out having spent the night barely sleeping due to an extreme drop in temperature we were far from prepared for, we started a late afternoon hike.
The Adirondacks were stunning in a way that you question whether you really exist or not.  After a few hours of us mostly silently hiking letting the woods seep in, we realized that the sun was quickly  setting and the temperatures dropping ( late October).  We were not going to make it to our predetermined destination in time to make it back
The map reading that saved our fricking lives!
before dark.  Not wanting a repeat of experiencing  the previous evening's temps Gil, the only member of our party who had taken any time to read the map at the trail head convinced us that crossing a slightly broad and quickly moving river, was for sure the best way for us to return to our car quickest.  I resisted this plan to my core, I knew it was the best option (if not the funnest) but had a hard time rushing to take off my shoes and my socks to traverse the freezing waters to the other snow covered bank.  I think inherently I was scared that I was incapable of agilely crossing the river and did not want to make the attempt in front of new company.  I sat on a log brooding for a moment  and I remember the thoughts in my mind. When did I get so uncomfortable in my own skin?  When and how did I get so fearful?  So resistant to other humans?  I jokingly blame grad school for my up tightness but truth is my fears are self induced.  Gil slumped down next to me already having crossed the river and come back, looking so bummed out that I looked so pissed off. He would later tell me that he thought I was mad as hell but really I was just so embarrassed.  Meanwhile I look up to see Mikey already finding his own path across the river leaping and climbing stones with a grin on his face and I say, "I'm gonna do it I just need a minute".

Crossing the river stone by stone with Gil who prone to being helpful, is holding my hand and pointing out each cautious step, giving warnings ("okay the water is deep right here")  I make it across.  Mid river I had stopped for one moment to look up at my surroundings- standing barefoot on a shaky rock. I felt as if every piece of me separated momentarily into little points of light eager to join the larger light coming from the setting sun and if I had just waited one moment longer in that separation I would not exist right now.  I remember getting to the opposite bank so excited like  something new had just been injected into me and hopping up and down, "Ah man! That was so much fun! That was so much fun!!"  "That's great but put on your shoes before you freeze!", Gil says pointing down at my very red feet contrasting against  the white snow beneath them.  This moment along with several others this past year caused a crack in this hard shell I had built up as self defense-literally a cracking I can almost hear. Cold river crossing. Crack!  Wasted pillow fight in hotel room. Crack!  Riding a bike everyday again. Crack!

As a result of all that cracking this last year has consisted of much spiritual vessel growing pains, along with much risk taking physically, emotionally.  Not taking risks was how I had strayed and my memory was coming back. Shortly after the camping trip,  in a tarot reading from my friend Sue (less about the cards more about getting advice from her) which I do when I am unsure what I should do with this life, she looks up from the spread and  asks, "What are you willing to risk?", my lips parted and I let out a barely audible "Everything."

For Gil and Mikey, my newest co-conspirators in living dangerously. 

Hippie side note: I know I am SUCH a hippie, I have been hanging quite a bit so I promise to get to the topic (hanging) at hand asap.

Photos courtesy of Mikey Duffer. 
Driving to go camping and map reading courtesy of Gil Avineri.
Woods courtesy of Earth. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Sometimes I wake up and I don't wanna be here." -childish gambino

I have been busy prepping my life physically and mentally for a four month break from my beloved NYC which includes a trip traversing from Mexico City (D.F) to Panama to Colombia and beyond.
I have always avoided world travel for a variety of reasons (fear of plummeting death from airplane, fear of vomiting a lot from motion sickness on airplane, fear of being in a foreign country mid apocalypse mayhem) but definitely the biggest reason by far is that I never wanted to become some world traveler asshole.  You know, like wear Teva's all the time, pronounce foreign words with an exaggerated correctness completely out of context, adopt the native dress of the countries you've visited like some sort of badge, speak about the people and the customs of the countries you've visited "knowingly", have a white boyfriend with a pony tail-just tons and tons of really horrible characteristics a person can have.  The absolute worst.  I like to think my genetic inherited ability to define myself as "brown" will sway any of this type of behavior but in reality I am indeed a product of the westernized world, a fact that becomes abundantly clear to me even when I visit my family's native (and colonized) island of Puerto Rico. And native is pushing it when my ancestors not so distant past migration to the island means I have Spanish, Italian, Taino, African (?) etc blood flowing through my veins.  I am distinctively "new world", the colonized and the colonizer all in one body, genetics that will influence my perceptions and intuitions on my upcoming trip along with my North American ego.
Me (age 5) fishing in Panama, a regular weekend activity.  Hermano to my left, Papi's legs in the background.

My father was stationed on an army base off the Panama Canal in the early 80's, so my initial memories of my life are painfully romantic.  Parrots, picking mangoes, playing with my brother in sugar cane and in tropical torrential rains, dolphins, old trains, in fields late at night hunting crabs with my father and uncle, rain forested mountains, Panamanian folk dances and music in Panama City, markets where my five year old self selected out bunches of quenepas and small purses fashioned and being sold by indigenas, etc.   I am excited about returning to the region where my life more or less began and to see if there will be a stirring in my chest.  When discussing my trip with random people a few have said "you won't want to come back".  I am not sure if this is something people say in general when folks are about to venture to some great place or if they really think I won't come back.  Perhaps I won't. Sometimes I do like to imagine that there is a hidden zipper somewhere on me I haven't discovered yet (but I suspect exists around one of my big toes), but once I do I will be capable of zipping off this top and become something new or what I truly am.  My insides actually being composed of twigs, leaves, light and every tongue and this fall when picking fresh fruit on the same roadsides I did when I was five, I'll find the zipper and slip into the woods where I began.