Saturday, April 6, 2013

Confessions from the alter of a city dweller

 Attention human beings, if you’re in a supermarket perusing the cut flower section and some old feller comes up to you and makes small talk about how beautiful the flowers are, capping off his apparently one sided conversation with, “You can smell them from here….it doesn’t matter how old you are, the smell of flowers makes you feel good inside. Deep inside your body.” I ask you to please give them your presence, if even for a moment of your time.
Maybe you'd even best stop and pay attention for more than a fleeting second or two. Give him or her a bit of your time because those old fellers may have wisdom that extends far beyond your silly guarded city walls, and who knows, perhaps giving a moment of recognition to that old withered soul saying simple profound things may make their last days on earth less lonely, and your moment more worthy.
I’m not saying that you should take every needy and probably mentally defunct person out to lunch. You don’t have to invite them into your house and have a PJ sleepover ending with a handful of quarters and a slap on the ass out the door….but for God’s sake, we’re not living in a country that stifles emotion. We're so lucky that we live in a place that allows for basic human recognition, so why not utilize it instead of working within our socially bereft forms of non-communication?
Instead of being a silly awkward gorky teen-adult, try looking that person square in the eyes and saying quite simply, "Yeah, I hear you!" if you're shy. Or maybe even thanking them for their wisdom, if you're bold enough. Maybe even grabbing them by the hand or place a hand on their shoulder to acknowledge them instead of pretending that their voice is a distant fart in the aisle next over that is easily ignored. Because no matter how grizzled and “gross” that human may appear to you, they ARE you! They share your air, they share your thoughts (no matter how old world they may be), and they share your fears and neurotic fantasies. 

One day YOU will be that crazy old fucker in the produce department, making random 'in need of human contact' comments to strangers, and won't it feel totally barren and lonely when that shitty snob guarded person ignores you?
I took a walk around my city this evening and my most magical moments came when I looked at the sky and saw darkened rain clouds with birds soaring across without a care. And the deep intake breath of fresh sea to city air. And my peace with every step. And the overheard one-sided conversations that I'd wished I could have played out differently had I been in the other persons sneakers.  
Everything else was heads cast downward, guarded eye contact, and manic text conversations.

Christ, some fruit looped old gal even clutched her purse to her chest as I walked by, because we live in a neighborhood where the last three dollars to your name might not be safe, no matter how young, old, or retarded you are. She'd have probably died of a heart attack had I asked her for directions.
This is the world we live in.
And unless you’re on some island living an idyllic life where everyone knows your name, this guarded city life is the reality of things, lest you have your eyes wide open. 
Our walls are way up, and we’ve lost sight of of what’s important, such as wisdom, experience, storytelling, touch, love…..LOVE! It hurts me to think that some of us will cast aside a human who has decades of experience on us, just because our stupid ego tells us that we “should” feel uncomfortable at another person randomly talking to us and their "unattractive" qualities.
It hurts. And it brings a white hot ball of emotion to the throat.
 But I have hope. I really do. And I'll never stop.
Just some things to think about.....
Thank you. I love you.