Friday, November 5, 2010

Resistance to Change

It's been a while, yes.  The last few weeks were tumultuous, but they usually are...choppy seas rather than smooth sailing, yet the hurricane seemed to wind itself down to an afternoon thunderstorm--roared in quickly, and left just as fast...

I spent the last few days in New York, at the Art Student's League.  I was very much looking forward to taking a class with Joseph Peller, as I admire his work and can relate to it.  To me, education is an ever, ongoing process, you just never stop learning or perfecting yourself or your skills...I looked to him since I enjoy his painterly method of working, and would like to broaden my own skills with his perspective, so I very much anticipated being in a public learning setting again.

I arrived early, looking to link up with Jilly, but the weather was not cooperative...the rain was driving, and lugging my equiptment all over Manhattan made for a sort of comical, farce like atmosphere of everything, so I decided not to be an ignoramus, and rented a monthly locker, since my time at the League would last until a minimum of Spring.  Parking is also always an issue in Manhattan, so, thinking I was quite the winner of the chess match, triumphantly brandished a coupon I printed online to the local parking attendant, only to find out I was at the wrong address!  Wrong address, right company to my dismay...I was at the parking garage one block away from the one I printed the coupon for...but, the attendant was sympathetic, and decided he would honor it anyway, for a $2.00 "processing fee"  haha....his idea, not mine.  I probably would have offered him $5.00!

I was disoriented and, being the "new guy" in the class, I didn't know anyone, so I found a little nook in the corner of the cafeteria to just catch my breath and dry off.  I looked around and my heart warmed at all of the creative characters that populated the little lounge...I felt quite at home!  Everyone was friendly, and curious, so I soon met some new classmates. 

After sitting about for an hour, I got restless and decided to hop the subway down to South Ferry and meet Jilly...she would be off work soon, and I could kick around down in Battery Park since the rain had slowed to a light, foggy mist.  I decided to check out the Ferry terminal, since I had not been in it since it had been remodeled after the tragic accident on the pier.  I felt a twinge of sadness as I walked through the crowd, and looked about.  The terminal was unrecognizable to me--the old, weathered wooden benches, the throngs of pigeons that did not care about the humans, the groups of homeless that used to stay along the entrance to keep warm...where did they go?  Had they been ground into Soylent Green?  When did New York solve the homeless problem, and why didn't we share that secret with the world?  The new, shiny Ferry matches the new, shiny, hi-tech City...the feeling of the City is gone to me...it's been wiped clean and sanitized, left all sparkly and antiseptic and generic...the Walmartization of the globe....Ripley's Believe it or Not escaped the confines of it's prison...it was a disappointment.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't feel like the old problems we had as a City were something to "pine" over...but to wipe away all traces of the original flavor of a city, and replace it with "made in Taiwan," loads of rules, signs, and plasticity is Orwellian in my book, but, "my book"  is just my opinion, so it really matters NOT...

The rain picked up it's pace, and I ducked into Starbuck's for my 3rd cup of coffee of the day, and a mini vanilla scone.  Unfortunately the Starbuck's was take out only, so I was forced to find a building to hide under, with the wretched smokers puffing miserably away in the cold, wet of the day.  I thought amusedly back to the time when you could smoke without being dragged outside the walls of the city and executed...for all of our micromanaging, have we found ANYONE who can conquer the grave?  Only one, and He was the Only one! We can stop smoking, eat 100% right, do everything 100% right, and get hit by a bus...what do we do about the injustice of that?  Outlaw buses?  Outlaw cancer that strikes the health fanatic that never smoked, drank, did drugs, did anything?  When do we stop outlawing, and start being free to live our lives again?

My feet were thoroughly soggy, as the rain ran down my face in slow rivulets.  I walked around like a person in a dim dream, lost between two worlds, a ghost of an era past.  I saw the new buildings, the old skyline gone, the new regime had ordered everything well...I was a relic of another decade...that knowledge might have made me sad, but it didn't.  It stood for many things, and all of them were good.  It was a testament to time, and change, no matter how we resist.   I was flexible enough to come this far, and strong enough to endure, and mostly, that I wasn't alone, and I never would be.  That was the most amazing knowledge of all....

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