Hejira

 

 

perfect moment

December 9. 2000

Harlem:

blue blue blue

the view from Mark's window (no, this isn't upside down)

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yowza

incredible light and shadows

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and I still haven't found what I'm looking for

Mark doing his best Bono impression (wearing my glasses)

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a face only a mother could love

Koba shure thinks he's cute, huh?

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meow

one of the many self-portraits I took today (also wearing the glasses)

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woo

Mark's bed and curtains

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Do you ever have one of those days where everything in you just clicks perfectly into place?

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The night before I left for NYC was one of necessary solitude, because I lacked the energy to do much beyond my laundry, let alone interacting with any other members of the human race. I ordered a large pepperoni pizza and a 2 liter bottle of coke from this shitty as ass pizza place because both Pizza Hut and Dominos feel that the neighborhood I live in isn't fit to deliver to. I rotted my brain on a well deserved dose of tv, talked to Mom, talked to John and made a tape of The Marshall Mathers LP to take on the road with me.

That being said, Bessie is sick. Her steering column is very stiff, so that it is extremely hard to turn, though I still can. I wasn't really too worried, because highway driving doesn't require too much turning, but still. My poor dear Bessie. Served me so faithfully these past 3 years without so much as a stall. But off I went, unbuttered, overtoasted ass-tasting bagel in my mouth. I hate eating breakfast.

The drive up was uneventful, and much faster than usual, because now I have EZPass. I love just driving through the toll lanes. It is convienent and fast, but you know what my favorite part of it is? Laughing at all the suckers waiting in line to pay their tolls. I made it to Long Island City in just under two hours.

The first part of the day I spent with Koba. I arrived at his apartment in Murray Hill to find him in a state similar to mine: rather bleary and sleep deprived. He worked on the computer while I dozed on his couch until about noon, when we departed for Harlem to see Koba's friend Mark, to work on Koba's new webpage.

First was the nice long subway ride. Koba cracks me up with his little gadgets - cellphone with earphones to hear messages and his palm pilot, which he was constantly taking out and mysteriously poking at it with the little stick thingie. I was nonplussed until he showed me he had all the NYC Subway Maps on it.

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And my god. Why hasn't anyone ever told me how marvelous Harlem is? Maybe it was just that perfect, slanted light of early winter, or maybe it was just my frame of mind, but when I was there, everything opened up in me. Like I could suddenly see more, like all my senses had heightened to color, composition, light and shadow. There is so many interesting shapes in Harlem. Beautiful Gothic churches, old graveyards, the hills sloping gently down between tall brownstones to the Hudson River. I could've stayed there forever, I could've used up 100 mb of memory card just recording it all. I saw everything.

Mark's apartment is all clean white lines, which I found interesting as well. His bedroom was extremely small but cozy, just wide enough for the bed that he, Koba and I perched on, poring over his Powerbook, tweaking the design of Koba's new webpage. I was extremely impressed with Mark's design skills and prowess with Illustrator and Photoshop (I covet, I covet). While I was on lounging on the bed, I happened to look out the window next to it, revealing an azure blue sky reflected in the windows of the building across the alley. The window was long and narrow, the view out of it was long and narrow. I am so sick of a short and squat view. I soaked up the length.

As the day wore on, the light became longer and more dramatic and more wonderful. Mark, Koba and I walked the many blocks to the subway stop, and rode it down to Lincoln Center, where Mark works. Yes. He works for Jazz @ Lincoln Center, in a spacious, airy, boldly colored office filled with all sorts of sheet music, huge scanners and other computer and music goodies, with a great 12th floor view. Aagh. I covet.

After that, Mark and Koba and I parted ways, and Koba once again poked at his little palm pilot to find us an Italian restaurant in the vicinity. Wonders never cease. We found once on 9th avenue, and by now we were both famished (neither of us had eaten or drunk anything that day, except for some omelette that Mark had made. Yes. He's a whiz with the computer, takes great pictures, AND he can cook).

Soon after, I had to meet John at the Port Authority, so Koba and I said goodbye, and I took my position at the appointed Au Bon Pain to wait for John. By now, the lack of sleep over the past two days was catching up with me, and I began dozing off until John arrived and swept me up with a little kiss and hug.

We spent the rest of the night at Olive's (John's mother) house, talking and discussing and eating a nice little dinner she had prepared. I had brought along many goodies, some Godiva Pumpkin Cheesecake chocolates that John loves, and the catalogue from Chuck's exhibition and the catalogue from Joni Mitchell's exhibition earlier this year in Canada. The conversation was good as always, but I frequently dozed off, despite the large amount of soda I had consumed earlier in the day. I leaned against John's softness, his arm around me, the warm yellow light of the room glowing through my eyelids, listening to their voices going back and forth. It felt like home.

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I've looked at the pictures I took again and again, wondering what I had hit on that particular day. I wish I could bottle up that inspiration and openness and keep it for those days when I'm discouraged and feel like I have on blinders and all I that I can see is gray. There was something so wonderous and childlike and innocent in my point of view. I was amazed at the color of the sky, the contrast of the white walls and the light shining through the curtains. Most of these are things I pass by and normally don't even pay attention to. But for the first time, I felt awake. And alive.

One Year Ago:
"I surprised myself by standing up for myself like that. I honestly think I wouldn't have been able to do that a year or six months ago. Until I got to college, I was never able to stand up for my work, to defend it. I was always pointing out the flaws, picking it apart and magnifying the weaknesses."