beneath a glass ball

Subway meditatorMoment of wonder: who was the first person to recite the inspirational mantra “practice makes perfect”. Shout out to the original; it’s catchy, doesn’t get old (from 1st grade soccer practice through every job I’ve ever held), I’ve yet to meet anyone with a counter argument, and alliteration, no matter the length, is fun. During my first week as a commuter I’ve noticed the change in fluidity of my personal routine. When to take my Metro card out and when it goes back. The amount of water I drink in relation to a bathroom in route. Even my music has begun to coincide with the happenings around me; ha that’s coincidental. Or is it? But above all I am the most impressed with my mastered  “city hustle”. Yes. Anyone in New York who has been late for a meeting or an interview (yikes), needing to catch a train, or just wants to feel like they have a place to be has taken part in the race. It’s the king of awkward aerobics. No one is ever appropriately dressed for the occasion. There is almost always an inconvenient thumping bag, or bags, against the part of your body crucial for ideal muscle movement (for me it’s my right upper thigh and side hip area). Ladies, pull it back because no matter the length, style, or color, our lovely locks thrive on  contact with our eyes, or, oh god, our mouths. Hair for dinner anyone? My shampoo is coconut infused! If your hair is whipping around it sure is not whipping you any closer to your destination.

If you think the solo run’s a struggle imagine coaching a team. No one calls me mommy yet, but my Mama’s rallying skills when we needed to “pick up the pace” were legendary. Respect for parenthood especially when the ultimate obstacle takes stage. People. Human beings. Bodies. We are everywhere. Coloring in the negative space on the bare concrete sidewalks; we spice up the scene and with no mind to our fellow palette members. To each is own? Survival of the fittest? Ah-ha, practice makes perfect. No room for “pardon me”. Instead, toss sporadic ‘excuse me’s to no one in particular; can’t get personal with your barricades. Find a gap, fill it, and zip through the next before your train rolls out of the station. Brush a shoulder. Scuff the back of a strangers shoe. Lose your breathe and break a sweat, but if you’re carrying a cup of coffee ignore everything I’ve just said. Better to be late than sport a coffee stain, right?

Despite my fascination and growing expertise in the hustle I’m really more keen to observe than participate. In the peak hours after work I’m in no rush. Eventually I’m to catch a train home, but the line runs past midnight! Yesterday, however,  I left work exhausted, hungry, and eager to catch the 7:36. It was nearly 7:20 so I gathered my last round of endurance to hustle through the subway maze. I dodged briefcases on wheels, avoided any sign of a baby (just a peak at their innocence would slow me down), and scurried by a preparing street perforer. There I stopped, backed up to lean on a pole, and for the next thirty minutes I stood in peaceful awe in no rush to catch anything expect the name of the man balancing the glass ball on his head. From his meditation he floated four glass balls between his hands externalizing energy to deem the objects as weightless spheres of air. Mirroring the rhythmic vibrations of his soundtrack he adjusted each tiny muscle of his body with delicate control. He did a split, a headstand, and whenever an audience member placed a tip in the box he granted them a smile of gratitude and a thank you. The glass ball never slipped once from his head.

Let’s give a warm welcome to Jonathan who arrived in the states yesterday morning from Mexico and after a failed attempt to enter Canada landed himself in a New York City underground railway station [photo in top corner]. My new friend showed me and other witnesses the beauty of patience in time. Be aware, move fluently, and with ease exsist beneath a glass ball a top our uneven heads.

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squirrels and social media

Ah, the age of social media. A prominent and growing epidemic in the daily days of playful babies and hormonal teens. A tool for business marketing now taught and practiced in college classrooms. A range of generations depending on Facebook to share our celebrated milestones and a daily article of interest , Instagram to reveal the inner food critic in apparently all of us , and SnapChat to, well, support the ‘flip camera’ feature of nearly all smart phones. With at tinge of sarcasm I’ve recognized the stereotypical usage for three primary social media sites, and this is where tension is born.

I’m the dangling ribbon tied in the middle of a thick, coarse rope pulled taut by opposing teams both of which I’ve dabbled my energy in. To my left, wireless and mindful, the Pondering Park Rangers (the fallen leaves go wild in a wind driven spiral). To my right, wired and distracted, the He Swipes, Tweets, Snaps, and Repeats (Apple employees click their keys in raging glee; volume at it’s max). Momentum excels, driven by both sides. But neither steals the win, I’m just a ribbon on a line.

Today marks my one week anniversary of starting my first post-grad job as a Sale Associate with Anthropologie (5th and 16th come check us out woot woot). To give you the gist of my current commuting timeline, my shift starts at 5pm, I take the 2:49 from my home station, Grand Central by 3:50/4, 6 train down to Union Square with about 45 minutes to dilly daddle. Tonight is my first close shift. Through the Anthro grape vine I’ve learned the shift can go until 12am. Let’s be optimistic and say I’ll catch the 11:36 train arriving home by 12:30. An estimated three hours of ribbon time.

During slack time I’ll observe the mid-afternoon rush through the park; nannies pushing strollers and holdings hands. A young boy learning to skateboard in his metallic helmet, the tourists babbling by in their native tongue I yearn to learn but for the sake of this scenario I appreciate the foreign sounds. Those on lunch breaks or days off gather on the lawn and surrender to their freedom in this natural yet chaotic environment. I watch, and smile, laugh, maybe a frown creeps out. Ideas and memories and more ideas scatter through my mind. I’m a ribbon in favor of the rangers who ponder! And then I feel the pull, I pick up my phone. Soon this strange, enveloping surrounding becomes invisible as I disappear into my Facebook new feed transforming into a traitor for the other side, the repeaters.

This is daily for me here in the park, on the train, even on the Subway where I am aware of the underground lack of service. I have no solution. Do I need one? After all, I’m just a ribbon. For now, here is a selfie of me and my squirrel friend.squirel

eavesdropping nostalgia

Overheard during my past time in Union Square – “but Mom, where in Ireland am I from?!” Assuming the Mom responded due to the boisterous follow up question from her redheaded and inquisitive son, I hear “but where is Dublin?!”

A snicker broke out of my already slightly parted lips remembering my two days in Dublin after five weeks of WWOOFing (World Wide Organization of Organic Farming) up, down, and up again Ireland’s west coast. Arriving in the late afternoon, Devan and I heaved the last of our compiled luggage out of the Eireann bus (our primary and overused mode of transportation) onto the tourist trashed streets of Dublin. Singing The O’Jays “Love Train” we sounded ridiculous. Still wearing last night’s clothes we looked ridiculous. Additionally, disregarding the unnecessarily large luggage, I cradled an irrationally bought a baby cactus alongside my irrationally bought ukulele. Need I say again, we looked ridiculous. Following the grey, cobblestone road on Temple Bar we openly shared the giddiness of our hangover to the uninterested bar goers we tottered by.

The following 48 hours were as unexpected as they come. I’ll hold further details for the book Devan and I intend to write one day. I will say to my young friend yearning to understand his geographical ancestry, if you want to know where your from visit the raw, un-aged Ireland; go to the West. But always end in Dublin. Day 4

Photo taken of Temple Bar, Dublin my last morning in Ireland, June 2013

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don’t drink the tap water

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Be eco-friendly and carry around a reusable water bottle. Be body-friendly and DO NOT refill it via random city taps. Tummy troubles 101 – ginger tea, ginger does wonders for the digestive tract (the warmth soothes too), Saltines and a slab of jam, hydrate until you can’t hydrate no more, and, the ultimate bed-bound thrill, Netflix (today’s pick – White Collar season 5). Nearly every hour since Sunday I’ve been stalking Craigslist updates on my desperate apartment hunt; today I’m blessed for my lack of success. No remedy like the comfort of home and the willingness of a nurturing Mama. Day 3

Photo taken May 14th in Union Square Park

pack a pen

With my naturally tangled hair and disorganized outfits, my sincere thirst for a cup of black coffee, and my recently rewarded degree in English (woot woot!) the question “are you an artist?” often follows. I keep my response as consistent as my coffee; I lift my weight from heels to my toes, softly shrug my shoulders, and smile while my pitch rises at least three octaves, “we’re all artists”. Cue giggle. And boy do I mean it. We are all artists. A natural born talent embedded into each of us is our ability to create; though the degree to which we embrace this gift varies, art encompasses our daily activity. I prefer to counter the persistent argument of ‘what is art?’ and question what isn’t art.

Ironically, anonymous graffiti artist expressed indifference toward arts eternal and constant existence. On an ambiguous block of wood in the 125th Street subway, boldly written in dark purple marker highlighted by a coat of metallic silver “ART IS OVER” stuttered my step. I was immediately inspired. Today, May 14th, 2015 is the birth of my New York City graffiti career. The seemingly purposeless, door-resembling, rectangular wood canvas in the 125th Street station will forevermore (until understandably removed) remind sweat stained commuters, inquisitive children, native New Yorkers, and the newbies like myself that art is NEVER over.

IMG_2691If you zoom, squint, magnify, or just visit the station, you can see where I wrote ‘NEVER’ in black Sharpie. Day 2

post-grad suburbia

Back on West Elm where my roots lay and secrets await my ceaseless return. Only now I carry four more years in need of a space for accumulated existence to call home. All that has ever been mine; mind, material, memory, rests under this roof. And if roofs could speak she would be silent; filled to the brim, is there space for me to sleep? Up the stairs and to the right. For twenty-one years; I’d go up the stairs and to the right. My room, and, in this house, the heart of me, is where I laid my tossing, crying, dreaming head to sleep. New born to toddler and maturing teen conjured questions about what it means to be while running loose from nightmarish schemes.

And to return on holiday when faces resembled former days and the exchange of foreign words allowed friendships to age. Once illuminated days haze away and for dessert we’d call for a slice of change.

Closed doors, much like the people they hide, held me. But these people, on hinges too, opened to free me. Holding hopes of their own until I, and all of me, return fed to the steps of West Elm.

Tonight the roof and I will whisper; ‘I have no intent to stay’. Day 1

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