Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hang Out Type: WORK

First job as a bagger, the smell of this place still makes me gag a little and they all smell the same.

Ah WORK.  Some of us take pride in it, some of us avoid it at all costs, for some of us it is the base of our identity, and for most of us I imagine it is a combination of those feelings and many more.  It's where on average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics we spend 8 hours of our day. What are you doing with that time and  bonds formed with work?  I have a very tight crew of friends who while I adored them before we even started working together, the ups and downs of our work place has sealed us in a different and special way for life.  They forever will be family to me and my soul aches for them in an inexplicable way.  And then there are those times you work with friends and maybe your respect for them drops a little because their work ethic sucks and they would let it affect their co-workers/friends with such ease you wondered if they truly contained any sort of consciousness.

As a worker my favorite hang outs were restaurants, where your co workers smoke pot in the walk-in coolers and you can somehow get away with being a little drunk.  Sometimes working a kitchen on a slow night with no orders coming in was so boring that you thought you could simply die but  I miss the conversations with my co-workers and interactions with customers.  Grocery store jobs come in a close second where you could inevitably get away with chilling behind the dumpster or storage room or in yet another walk-in. I also have a slight obsession with aisles of food. Not the actual consumption of food but rather the many types of food and how to present them.  One of my favorite places to work was at Sevananda Natural Foods Coop when I lived in Atlanta.  I ran the supplements and herbs section and really loved stocking the herb jars because you had a chance to interact with the herb, smelling its freshness and medicinal qualities.  There are other grocery store nerds out there like me.  We meet in private.

One of my favorite tasks at one of my favorite jobs, stocking bulk herbs.
Also there is hanging out with friends at their jobs.  I like to see my friends working, it is another spectrum of their personality you may not know so well yet.  Watching how they interact with strangers, their co-workers and their work ethic, is charming.  Work is some sort of sacred space and I am honored to be let into it.  It's kind of like when people bring you home to their families, they are fine with being humiliated alone in these situations but then when they have chosen you as a witness to their lives it is something special.

I just counted to myself how many jobs I have had in my life and surprisingly could only think of 13.  I only say surprisingly because I have tallied up my life before and in total I have lived in 7 towns, 16 different houses and have had 57 roommates, so 13 jobs seems low.  But of course none of these numbers are counting randomness in between, life white noise.  At some point in my late 20's I had somehow decided I never wanted to see another human so chose a profession that affords little human contact at times.  Turns out that I was wrong.  Office life is draining and isolating despite the challenge and mental stimulation of my work tasks.  I have been working alone for the last eight months.  Just this second I said so long to a comrade from the office next door.  We literally became friends by the water cooler and our mutual dry humor has been getting us by these last months.  He has unexpectedly decided (the best kind of decisions) to break free and go traveling.  Sad to see him go, we exchanged contact information, high fived each other and hope to see each other soon.  Here's three cheers for hanging out in the space that consumes most of your adult life- the work hang out.

Thanks to Olivia for reminding me of the work hang out- where we hung out together as Research Assistants in the bowels of Columbia University.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

People to Hang Out With: Secret Friend

At work yesterday while debating the quality of the Smashing Pumpkins early nineties versus late nineties with my decade younger co worker, I was reminded of a secret friendship I had at the very first punk house I lived in, Squaresville in Atlanta, Ga with my roommate Matt.  Why our friendship was secret was because Matt's girlfriend at the time and I did not get along and so doing what any respectable boyfriend should do when trying to maintain the peace, he and I did not socialize with each other in public.  We kept our distances in all social situations which at the time, our lives were basically a twenty four hour social situation.  Yet one hot and shawdowy afternoon in our old Southern wood frame home, Matt and I were the only ones around and in polite conversation discovered that we both had a great love for singing along to the Smashing Pumpkins.  One of us actually owned the Siamese Dream CD and would only bust it out when alone.  In between Orchid and the Get Hustle, Matt and I secretly listened to it at full blast and sang along.  Once the songs were done we would smile at each other affectionately and then return to our respective rooms and lives seemingly unconnected.

Friday, June 22, 2012

For people on the west coast who miss actual thunder storms.....

Today's flash thunderstorm in NYC.

Life side note: I had an attempted jacking of my cell phone this week , right out of my hand, which is  a very common crime in NYC.   I am not even mad, I kinda liked it.  I figured after three years in this metropolis that it would and should eventually be my turn.  And it was.  I grappled with the assailant for my phone and won out!  I didn't fight him out of principle or because I love my phone so much but honestly just because in the most random moments I am really competitive.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's in the cards?

"I don't practice Santeria, I ain't got no crystal ball"
Although I appreciate the fine art and entertainment value of astrology, tarot, psychics, runes etc.  I am wary of when friends or myself become too dependent on these tools in making life decisions or deciding the parameters of who we are and what we can be. Above is the Lovers Card from The Collective Tarot, a collaborative art project carried out by 25 artists that I was honored to take a part in (designing above card) and am a big fan of the Tarot Collective, the bottom liners who make sure printing continues of this rad(ical) deck.  I appreciate this deck not only because of the rad folks who put it together but because the reading of the cards is not disempowering, making you believe that there are forces that be that you are controlled by and your life is not in your hands but rather empowering, with the messaging that the life you want can be created by you and the communities you are a part of.  Nervous when I got assigned the task of creating this card thinking I was going to have to depict visual wisdom of choices made in relationships, I was pleasantly surprised in my research of the card's history. Its true nature was not about the heart romantically but about the heart passionately.  The Lovers Card is there to encourage you to make that brave decision to follow your heart or to make a decision to stay on the safe path.  In choosing the safe path your chances of gaining the "fruit" of life is limited if not non existent.  It is about intentionally choosing to live passionately.

Despite any spiritual practice I may take on now or in the future I like to remember my first true religion was punk.  Although born with the attitude, my punk life inspired and inspires me to make brash decisions.  Center yourself and remember to never let anyone or anything define who you are or who you can be, even the dang stars.  Live passionately, defy the stars, it's more fun that way.

Hippie side note:  Honestly what I think is that there is nothing between you (priest nor psychic reading) and connecting to some higher power or energy, we just forget how to.  Just go ahead and reach out and grab that energy your damn self. You can do it, it's right there in front of you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pop with a Circle A

I really love pop underground to motivate me in whatever exercise routine I have for the day and there is nobody I love more than observant muslim and anarchist Lupe Fiasco.  Granted musically I am a much bigger fan of his premier album Food and Liquor (2006) than I am of the much poppier most recent Lasers (2011) but dammit it makes me happy to think of Lupe's commentary on world politics which includes being pro-Palestine anti-Obama and dismissal of the voting process, seeping into the minds of tweens across America.

Jihad is not a holy war, wheres that in the worship?
Murdering is not Islam!

And you are not observant
And you are not a muslim
Israel don't take my side cause look how far you've pushed them

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Discouragements in Hanging Out: Gossip

As the years go by I have grown increasingly agitated and bummed out if you will by gossip.  I will be happily hanging out drinking, enjoying some fresh air and one sentence out of someone's mouth will send me tumbling down. Defined as  "idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others", gossip can change the air from light hearted to slightly tense in a second.  The prior second you loved everyone in the room and the next, hate everyone on the planet. Never have I been involved in hanging out that ends in a gossipy tale and leave that moment feeling gratified or that I had truly spent those moments in my life in the most valuable way.

I use to be wary of critique of gossip because it invariably had a sexist slant to it.  Gossip is pegged as the world of women and conversations by women are trivial and trivial because they entail the discussion of such "trivial topics" such as emotions, feelings, and sharp critique of the actions of others. One can say that gossip provides valuable information in social circles which it does, let's say for example providing information if someone has a history of sexual assault which I have seen this transfer of info trivialized by people as tagging it as gossip. But we all know that information about a person's possible abusive past is not gossip and it is not "idle talk" but protective and valuable information (and there is a couth in distributing this information to those who  will benefit from it).

An aspect of gossip that really gets me, being a girl that runs in multiple circles but circles that are nonetheless tied to each other somehow is when someone says something about someone I really care about or I am getting queried for inappropriate info about someone I really care about.  What aggravates me in this moment the most is that when this happens the blow is to two not just one because it 1) shows lack of respect for the individual being discussed and 2) shows lack of respect for your love for that individual.

Usually when I try to discuss this topic with friends, people feel uncomfortable having participated in it so will try to justify it with saying it is harmless, is just for entertainment, and doesn't account for much.  But I am a hippie and at the end of the day truly believe that the bullshit that comes out of our mouths goes out into the air and is just hanging out in the universe bumming everyone out.  If we are who we say we are, desirers of creating an alternate and better world, breaking traditions and expectations in every other part of our life, why stick with this one? There is a difference in sharing info from a good place and from a janky place.  Let's not argue technicalities or semantics, you know when you are gossiping in the shit way because the air feels heavy, smells stank and you don't feel right. Sharing funny stories or concern for friends with one another is not the same so let's not pretend it is.

I hate to get all moral but I can't help it, it's kinda my shtick but I will never bring up anything that I am not myself personally working on.