Monday, July 29, 2013

Discouragements in Hanging Out: Pushing

Your friend is going through a hard time.  There are perhaps some life updates that you are really eager to know.  You want the dish, you want the scoop.  Or you want to put in your two scents, your advice,  your what have you.  There is space for input from friends, it is undoubtedly valuable.  However, sometimes people just want to hang out.  They made this time for you in their life to do something together and perhaps they don't want to discuss in detail what is wrong in their lives but rather take  a break from it (with you).  So a simple "How are you?" suffices and if you are really concerned you can follow up with a simple "How are things going with ______?".  But don't push it and don't force it, causing unneeded strain on their already perhaps taxed heart and mind.  They know you are for them and will open up when they desire to.

I am reluctant to think of hanging out as some sort of break from the norm, a special treat.  Philosophically I feel every single moment of your life is important, your entire life a series of special hangs.  However, some moments that should be held with some reverence-moments meant as much needed breaks and moments of relaxation from what ails us. Be sure to create them for yourself and your co-humans.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

People to Hang Out With: PIC

Bathroom graffiti at Red Lantern Bicycles in Brooklyn, NY.

Always down for whatever, never any need to navigate conversations, PIC is the person you can silently chill with, the person you can be a dork with, the person you can climb a roof top with and who is generally down for whatever.  Partner in Crime (PIC) is the individual who has come out forefront in your life as the creme de la creme of hang out buddies.  PIC's are not the average social associate.  I developed this moniker with a boyfriend from my early twenties - while it may have been cheating cos we were actually partners not just partners in crime but in all fairness we were partners in crime in that we actually committed crimes together.  Petty but crimes nonetheless.

You know how you have the friends you go to brunch with?  The friends you meet in the afternoon for coffee with?  Or the friends you talk about your "career" with?  This is not that friend.  This friend is who you get wasted with at noon.  Who suggests that you hop a fence that goes down an obscure looking path.  Who you lie around with in your underwear.  You take naps together. You cook together.  You plan obscure adventures together. They are who you hang out with when you absolutely won't hang out with anyone else.  You don't talk about bullshit with one another and you share cigarettes seamlessly and without interruption.  I like to think the PIC has access to your darkest and surliest and your brightest and cuddliest.  You rove together on this earth like you have been doing it for a hundred years.  You know exactly who this friend is to you, now go write them a love letter.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

One is Silver and The Other's Gold

When I was a kid one of the first songs I was thrilled with when I became capable of remembering all the lyrics to went like so:

          Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold.  

It's nearly four in the morn and I am pleasantly drunk, sitting in a cozy living room listening to records with friends.  I am not sure how the discussion led to this point but I say out loud, "Ya know I use to have a no new friend policy, I thought I was at my limit.  And now I think I've changed my mind."

C and A (golds) nod and then C says, "Because you were here to hang out with your old friends and you ended up hanging out with all new friends while you were here".  He smiles wise and takes a sip of his beer and I smile back as C's gentle wisdom has been really comforting to me this past week as he has hosted me up here in the hills of Chattanooga.  And he was right.  I was making new friends with old acquaintances, getting to know them better.  Expanding my human conceptual framework with the input of other's philosophies and perspectives on and in this world.  And with my return to New York City after a brief winter time Southern sojourn, the trend has continued for the most part.  Placing myself in situations interacting with people I would not had normally and in turn creating new connections and relationships for myself here in this city.  The advice here is not "get out there!" because fuck that, "stay in here!" if you wish.  But rather know that nothing is definitive and remember that this life is fluid.  That new life can be breathed into anything, even what you once thought you had tired of or was dead.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

People To Hang Out With: The Broken Hearted aka BAD MOON

"For even as love crowns you 
so shall he crucify you.  Even as he is for your growth 
so is he for your pruning 
Even as he ascends to your height and 
caresses your tenderest branches that quiver 
in the sun, 
So shall he descend to your roots and 
shake them in their clinging to the earth."

-Kahlil Gibran

My friend with an aching heart says there is a bad moon when I comment there seems to have been a sea of broken hearts around lately.  C says "It seems unfair to blame the moon for such unhappiness".
I agree with her but who knows how we are truly affected by this globe we sit on and all the other other powerful bodies swirling around it.  At the end of the day it is kind of fun to go around saying bad moon and I am preferring it to saying "well Mercury's in retrograde", womp womp.  Traveling these days visiting friends, there seems to be a large amount of heavy souls and broken hearts in various forms from romantic to friendship to internal strife.  But alas this blog is about hanging out and not about your soul (or IS it?) , so let's move on shall we.

Indeed we've all been there, in this need to re-evaluate a situation a million times over to our friends or just to plain sulk for hours on end in plain view.  It's okay, it's part of the process.  But what to do with these poor love sick saps?  They need your hanging out skills more than ever!  You can't rush someone along to feel better, sometimes folks need a moment to stare at the ceiling.  Yet at the same time there is something nice about a friend saying, "Out of bed! Snap out of it dumbass, we've got plans!"  Do your best to find the balance between the two, providing a mix of low key (movie in bed) and high key (roller skating rink) activities.  And not enough can be said about the benefits to the heart of just being in nature, in the warm sun if you got it and at minimum some fresh air and cosmic zounds.  To ride with the broken hearted one must be willing to have an extended ear if they're a talker or the lovely ability of pretending that you can't feel the sadness emanating from them if they're not.  In the end, you just being around at all is so helpful in itself and surely  you will receive the same reciprocated assistance in the future.

"I've never had my heart broken but there's so many songs about it that I know that shit is real"- E

I am going to suggest a little beer and cigarettes for these hang outs.  Not for the friend with the broken heart because goodness knows their brains are not operating clearly enough as is but for yourself.  Hard feelings is a lot to take in some times so might as well sedate yourself a little so you can appear as if you are calmly listening.  And to you broken hearted,  if you know you are going to hang out to discuss such things for an extended period of time perhaps you should be the one bringing the bottle of wine.  Chin up everyone, tomorrow is another day and there will be a next time.

"Waterfall of love each time
 I fall in love I lose my mind 
Tear off all my clothes, get a bloody nose 
and jump out the window"
-Big Kitty, Waterfall of Love

Personal Note: If you feel I owe you a bottle of wine please let me know asap as I like to settle my debts.

Friday, February 15, 2013

February: Hanging Out in Florida








Saturday, February 9, 2013


Sitting, wedged in a shaded corner outside of Publix, eating some watermelon slices, an old white southern man asks me if I need a place to stay and if I am doing alright.  In mid-bite I look down at myself with my iphone on my lap and my apparent jogging gear trying to figure out exactly what about me would lead this man to believe I was in need of anything. "Do you want some watermelon?  I'm full." I lift up the last slice, offering it to him and he waves it off saying he is on his way to the doctor.  We smile at each other.  On my way back home I check the star fruit tree a block away to see if there are any new developments in my current addiction.  Still green. I'll come back in a few days.

Here in Florida again I try to determine what my plans for the next year will be and usually this specific thought pattern will lead to one idea after another producing a cranial traffic jam that makes me grit my teeth and if severe enough, lay down.  A friend invites me to come spend time in Oaxaca I respond "So many things so little time!" and she says, "I thought you had all the time in the world, or did I miss something?". What is often difficult for me to remember is that I do have all the time in the world.  I get so eager to do so many things that even pulling off doing one thing becomes paralyzing.

TIME.  When will we get it all in?  At what point will we really accomplish something? At what point will we have a,b,c complete so we can get on to x,y,z?  In the panic that is organizing our time for ourselves, the people we love, what we want to do and what we are obligated to do, time can seem to slip away.  Instead of developing time management skills, acquiring a life coach or personal assistant,  calling it all quits and curling up into a ball between whatever four walls you will inevitably be living in, in a panicked frenzy you are not accomplishing anything valuable and never will-stop your brain and value each present moment and what it has to bring to you. And then the next one and so on.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tales From The Road: Hanging in DF

Arriving into DF (for districto federal, the federal district, Mexico City the capital of the country) we are fresh, hungry, excited, and curious making for extensive exploration by foot and sharp minds easily absorbing everything around us.

Excerpt from travel diary for that day:

"We pass a string of lunch stands and pausing one calls out to us.  We buy three tacos de suadero ($12/MXN), grape soda and tamarindo ($20/MXN).  Now in the sun writing.  The day so far has consisted of long treks , Paseo de la Reforma through neighborhood of Juarez.  DF is stunning we feel like we are in a more arid tropical Manhattan.  With the upper class comes heavier guns and the policia presence is very noticeable .  In business district there are more food stands but more crowded and full of people in business suits.  Juarez on the border of Roma develops a more middle class but liberal feel.  High end salons next door to theaters showing "Las monlogos de la Vagina". The streets are tree lined and peacefully bustling .  We stop to take a break getting our fixes of cigarettes and sugary beverages.  Watching employees rest from the day, the occassional other tourist, and the middles class mexican teens linger in the quiet shade of this other Washington Square in the neighborhood labeled with foreign names running its streets.  Young Mexican couple with baby on the way, wife inspecting husbands hands...Other street vendors hawking the usual snacks and patriotic gear in preparation for next week's grito.  Throughout the day the threads begin to show.  We are emotionally affected by a street  child wearily playing his accordion and the police presence in the locked down Zocalo*.  A street local comes up and hands us a flyer on the history of the centro and lunges into an impromptu lecture I know will ease GA and I drift in and out of his words, staring at a model of DF as it originally existed as I try to center myself in the dreamlike state that is Mexico City."

Here is my travel partner GA and myself enjoying our first street stand taco on our very first full day of our trip.  It was a lunch counter we came across in a row of many, at the very beginning of the day.  The afternoon was hot and we took shelter in this row of food stands amongst defeños who had started their day much earlier than ourselves and were already having their mid day meal.  Amongst our lunch time banter and traffic sounds, catch the crackling of meat cooking on the flat grill, the chopping of condiments, and the radio playing love songs... *The Zocalo was locked down due to increasing protests at the time by activists and citizens who saw  the election of Mexico's current president, Enrique Peña Nieto as fradulent.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

People to Hang Out With: Roommates

I am happily back in the belly of the beast, New York City. Slowly getting my feet wet, un/willingly participating in its rampant capitalism and light schmoozing.  My time back in New York has proven to be much different this year as by a series of blessings, I am being given the opportunity to cohabitate in the dream location of China Town. After months of a level of social activity of my favorite sort (hanging out while trying to survive - eat,sleep,fuck)-I couldn't imagine once again residing alone. Returning home to a lovely yet lonely apartment that was filled with no other energy than my own. Thus far have had the pleasantness of sharing in life's little moments, meals, movies, various chores and tasks, etc with roommates. But most importantly being able to feed off each other for inspiration and support, for they are all wonderfully creative people as well as compassionate.

I had spent two years in New York living on my own, in adorable, warm, small apartments where the most important things were controlled by me- the decorum and the cleanliness of the bathroom.  But more importantly I had to face my own short comings with no distractions. From the more deeply profound soul related to the "Fuck look at that, I am the one that sucks at washing dishes", conceding to roommate teasing I have received over the last decade.  After this time period of introspection and improved dish washing skills I decided to rejoin the world of living with other humans.  Slowly by opening my apartment to constant guests and now being committed to more communal living situations for the indefinite future.  In it I am not losing privacy or solitude but extending myself to be a part of other people and for them to be a part of me.  When you become comfortable in the blurred boundary that is created in the joining of you and others, will truly be when you have mastered the art of hanging out.