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!

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