Thursday, March 25, 2004

When I was a kid and people would tickle me, even though my feet weren't that ticklish I'd pretend they were so the instigator wouldn't stop tickling them right away. I liked being touched, especially on my feet.

Alex found that endearing; thought I should use it to start my autobiography, should I ever write one. Since I'm not sure I'm ever going to head in that direction, I've stuck it here instead.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

To anyone who actually reads all that I write and has felt gypped at the recent lack of material, do not fear -- I wrote oodles of entries this last weekend and have only to transcribe them. Expect to see them appear within the next few days, whenever I am able to scrounge up a bit of free time.
I wrote this in an email to a friend and she liked it, so I'm pasting it up here:
I don't know that I'll keep favoring tango -- I'll probably swing back and forth every now and again, focusing more on one than the other. I still do love lindy -- it's just, you know, one is like the moon, one the sun, and sometimes the days will be shorter and sometimes longer, but there will always be both night and day.
I wish someone would give me a plane and a pilot's licence for my birthday. So unlikely, but would make everything so much easier. Or if someone built a bullet train from here to Portland to San Francisco. I mean, they have them in Japan! Why not here?

Maybe I'll just buy myself a few powerball tickets instead, win the lotto so I can buy my own damn plane. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 22, 2004

My second plane was delayed by two hours today. To pass the time, I sat down near my gate, in a patch of sunshine, with my sketchbook.

Note -- it is difficult to discreetly draw the people around you when you attract a crowd of noisy children.

The kids barraged me with questions and incessant chatter. Who is that? Can you draw that person? Are you an artist? Can you draw my shoe? Do they keep your pictures in museums? Your pictures should be in museums.

I drew their shoes, and somehow they were endlessly amused. Then they asked me to draw the picture off of a RPG card one kid had with him, and I did.

"Can he keep it?" one asked.

"You have to give her something!" another responded. "She won't give it to you unless you give her something."

"I...uh...will. I'll give her the card," the kid said resignedly, fully prepared to make this great sacrifice.

"You will?!" asked the first.

"Hey, I wanted it!"

"I have two," said the kid.

"You're giving it to her?!"

"I mean," he said hopefully, "only if she wants it."

They all looked expectantly at me, as I continued sketching.

"Do you want it?"

I politely declined and the kid sighed with relief.

When our plane finally started boarding, I gave the kids all the pictures I had drawn of their things, and they hopped around in jubilation. You would have thought it Christmas and I Santa, to see them so.

The sketches were actually pretty good. I missed them a little bit when giving them away -- silly of me. There will be more sketches.
I made a new friend in DC. I have not known Mark for long, but already I consider him to be a kindred spirit. We approach things in similar ways. He and I are both drawn to dance for the as a means of connecting with people. For three minutes of song, you can be one with someone else. There is nothing but you, they, and the music, the two of you united through music, movement, touch, the experience.

For much the same reason, Mark and I were both members of gospel choirs in college. To sing in unison, your voice finding a place amongst the multitude of voices singing with so much feeling -- thrilling.

We each enjoyed Homer & Christina's performance because of the way they looked at each other, the way he cared for her, the depth of feeling evident in their every interaction.

I have never put as much time into guitar as I would like. This is not because I lack energy or desire, but because the learning is a solitary pastime and I am drawn away to more social endeavors that offer a promise of connection with others. Mark has found the same when he has studied instruments.

It turns out, at least according to Meyers-Briggs, that we have almost identical personality types. Makes me wonder what the personality types of my other close friends are, and also causes me to wonder if I could see eye to eye this easily with others who share my type.
I saw acres of land covered in snow from the airplane today. It made me happy.
Steve and Miles think it would be a terrible idea for me to move away and live in seclusion for any period of time. Miles could not believe the post was serious -- he kept waiting for the punch line. They say it is not for me, because I am, by nature, a social person.

I think this is true, but it is actually part of what draws me to the idea. Being alone would be difficult for me, no doubt. It would be painful. But back to the idea of struggle and failure as impetus for growth and change -- I believe a self-imposed hermitage would be a defining experience for me as a person.

I hold no illusions about the experience being pleasant -- this would not be meant as a vacation. Rather, it would be a road into myself. As Hermann Hesse wrote in Demian:
I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so difficult?
It would be difficult, certainly, but this says nothing of worthiness.

As a slight tangent, throughout my life I have been consistently more artistic during my down phases, whenever I was depressed, frustrated, facing conflict or dealing with failure. I was more musical, more adept with paints or clay, more inspired. When I am happy and time flies by in a haze of sunlight and good feeling, I become blocked. The artist within slumbers for a time. I believe that some time on my own, a period of abstinence from social contact, a forced struggle to be alone with myself -- this all would help me to find myself as an artist. It would serve to wake my inner self.

Happiness is shallow. Ultimately, I believe I would feel more fulfilled if I more fully reached my artistic potential. There is a deeper satisfaction in that, making any pain along the way worth bearing.
I like nice people. Warm, genuine. In dancers, I think it really shows through in their dancing, setting them ahead of other technically proficient individuals who are all about self. Homer & Christina, Christopher & Caroline, Alex & Luciana - all amazingly kind and personable. It was a treat, watching and being around them this weekend.
It's amazing how everything works out sometimes, despite any and all opposing circumstances. after the jam cleared up & traffic started moving again, I rushed the car to the rental car return. They were extraordinarily nice (in contrast to when I picked the car up -- the lady who worked with me then was quite curt) and didn't charge me anything extra, despite my not having stopped to fill the tank within 10 miles of the return as required by the rental agreement.

I dashed to the airport shuttle (as much as dashing applies, given the mass of papers and maps and suitcases I was lugging with me) and packed all the miscellaneous items I had grabbed from the car into my luggage as we headed toward the airport. Once there, after I oriented myself, I hustled to the NWA ticket counter. It was 11:20 and my flight was due to take off at 11:35, so I fully expected to be turned away.

Happiness! They officially booked me as standby for the next flight, but gave me a ticket to get through security quickly and told me that I could possibly still make my flight if I booked it to the gate & took everything as carry on.

While I was moving through security, they gave a final boarding call for my flight. I was afraid security would decide to search my bags, especially since one held some new tango shoes which have long, spiky metal heels, but providence was with me and they let me through. I rushed to the gate, out of breath, and asked if they would still let me board. Eying my load critically, the stewardess said that my bag wouldn't fit in the bins with as much as I had packed into it, but if I could slim it down they'd let me on. Otherwise, I would have to go back out and check my main bag, and that would mean waiting until the next flight.

I opened the front pocket of my suitcase and removed a mass of papers, maps, and books, cramming them into a plastic bag I carried, alongside the granola, nuts, and mango it already contained. Satisfied, they let me board.

On the plane everyone was already seated and the bins were closed, but the lovely man sitting in the seat next to mine helped me to find a bin that would hold my suitcase and another with space enough for my backpack. As I sat down and leaned over to put my purse and the plastic bag under the seat in front of mine the bag broke. Feeling frazzled, I gathered everything up. Luckily, I was able to squeeze all but one book into another smaller plastic bag I had been carrying with me. (Thank goodness I hoard plastic bags these days, collecting them with future dog walks & cleanup in mind.)

So now here I am, on my scheduled flight, en route to Minneapolis and then Seattle as planned. (I am, of course, actually transcribing the post to this page a week later. The time stamp is approximate to when I first penned it.) What an adventure the morning was, and pleasant that it all worked out so well. It's as if I were living a charmed existance! I have so many days where everything goes wrong that it feels almost surreal when I have one like this, where everything goes right.
Mark remarked this morning that it is not success that causes you to mature, but failure. Looking back on my own life, I do feel that it is my struggles and failures that have defined who I am today. As he put it, when you are happy, you spend all your time being happy and don't stop to think or reflect. There is nothing to stimulate change or growth, as you are content with the status quo.
Life is so much nicer when I decide not to let myself stress about things. Today on my way to the airport, I got stuck in traffic. Dead stand still on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. I was so close to the airport, yet so far away. 15 miles away with easily 40 minutes before I needed to think about checking in, but irrelevant because we weren't moving. 15 miles away with 30 minutes left. 13 with 20. 12 with 10. 11 miles left and I should have been checking in.

I won't lie -- I felt a compulsion to let myself be overcome with stress. What if I missed my flight? Would they charge a fee to change my ticket? Could I afford it? What about my ride from the Seattle airport? Etc, etc.

I made a conscious choice to let it all go. Breathed deeply. Rolled the windows down, turned the music up. Channeled a message to my core that whatever happened, it would be alright. I "gave it up to God" as my family would say, or left it to fate, if you prefer a less secular line of thought. And with that simple message I was able to feel good, to appreciate the sunshine, the music, the nippy breeze blowing through the car and chilling my cheeks, contrasted by a gentle flow of warmth from the car ventilation system. I must have looked funny from the outside, dancing in my seat and having a time.