Saturday May 12. 2001

south street in spring

I've gotten into the habit of watching Saturday morning cartoons lately. Why, I have no idea, but I especially like Recess and Teacher's Pet. I like the fact that all these shows have their own warped logic independent of the rest of the world, and that I can usually figure out of the plotline of the episode two minutes in. They usually come on too early for me, so I'll lay on my couch, half-asleep, watching cartoons. When my mother arrived this morning, this is how she found me. After she insisted on vacuuming my apartment, we set off downtown.

South Street was in bloom today. Garden shops moved their overflowing merchandise onto the street, flowers, ivy, small plants lined up on the sidewalk. The large building that had been under constructing between 9th and 10th was finally done. I had thought it was going to be just a parking garage, but it turned out to be a Fresh Fields supermarket, complete with a coffee bar.

We were passing Isaiah Zagar's mosaic garden when I noticed the large wooden doors that had always been clsed when I passed by it before were now open. I crossed the street quickly, dragging Mom behind me. A white haired bare-chested man with twinkling eyes sat comfortably in a lawn chair near the entrance, conversing with some people as he peeled a mysterious piece of fruit. I recognized the artist from pictures, but was almost too overwhelmed to go up and talk to him.

Instead, I went farther into the junk garden. The part where I entered had an arching framework above me constructed of bottles, concrete and what looked to be long fluorescent lights. It reminded me of rib vaults in ancient European churches. I left that anteroom and went out into the garden, where there were small paths where you could walk and get a closer look. The strangest things were grouped together, but generally a lot of bicycle tires, mirrors and bottles (it was amusing for me to see an Absolut bottle embedded into wall).

Such weird textures, stuck in the middle of a city like this. I think public art is the best kind of art.

We spent the rest of the day visiting all these crazy antique markets around South Street. These places had EVERYTHING, and I mean, everything you can imagine. Of particular interest to me was some vintage postcards that I'm kicking myself for not buying. Once when I was in an antique store in Florida, I found a bunch of postcards and notecards that actually had stuff written on them. It was kind of weird and voyeuristic to read what these unknown people wrote to each other, especially when it was 70 or 80 years ago.

Mom tried to persuade to go home to Lebanon with her, and since I had nothing keeping me here, I agreed. This whole "I have no obligations" thing that's been going on for the last week or so is really fucking with my mind. I need to get some project going, it doesn't do for me to be lazy.

Shortly after we got home, I got the itch to go out again, so I managed to rope my parents into seeing a movie. We have exactly 2 choices of movie venues here in Lebanon - the Allen, a refurbished old theatre/coffeehouse, or the Cinema Center, a trashy 9 screen multiplex that all the high school kids go to on Friday and Saturday nights simply because there isn't much else to do. The Cinema Center was playing every stupid frat boy film possible - A Knight's Tale, Freddie Got Fingered, etc. You get the idea. We decided to go see Bridget Jones' Diary at the Allen.

The Allen is a really great place. I'd forgotten that. As soon as I stepped inside, I remembered all the times I had sat there with friends for hours, nursing a cup of tea or coke. Talking, reading poetry to each other, playing board games, and listening to jazz, spoken word and whatever amateur talent open mic night threw at us. I remember my friend Mel reading me jokes she had just written for her stand-up routine. I remember standing outside the coffeehouse, in the freezing cold, the sweltering heat, smoking a cigarette bummed from John or Alexis or whoever happened to be smoking around me. It made me kind of sad, because I realized that now I don't have a group of friends or a coffeehouse to meet them at. I miss those days.

The movie wasn't bad, aside from all the times I want to reach into the screen and strangle Bridget for being so spineless. She had no self-respect or dignity, which kind of irked me, but that's how Hollywood likes its women anyway. The other thing that irked was the big deal made of Renee Zellweger's gaining weight for the role. Bridget was not fat, not by a long shot. In fact, when I saw her, I thought, wow, that's the first normal looking woman I've seen on the big screen in a while. But, you know how it works, the fat girl's always the comic relief.

(More mosaic pictures can be found here)

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One Year Ago:
"The car itself isn't bad, it's just my grandparents HATE having music on while driving (arrgh) and the speedometer (get this) only went up to 85."