I was walking around San Francisco this morning when I came across a pair of jeans left bunched up on top of a public trash receptacle. Not stuffed inside, but sitting on top of it. Not given to Salvation Army or recycled or thrown out with all the other trash that one throws away from behind the veil of secrecy at one’s own home, but here on display in public, and left in a manner that suggested some hurry and desire to be rid of them in a flash. What is the story behind these pants? Did they have a rip and someone did a quick change on the street into a new pair and left these crumpled in place? Did someone have a sudden urge to galavant naked around the (very cold, I might add) streets of San Francisco this morning? Had someone been carrying around this extra set of pants with them for some time, hoping against hope to find just the right tailor to repair them and finally gave up the ghost after one last heartbreaking head-shake from a local seamstress? Perhaps they had refused to BeDazzle them with some lewd image? Maybe someone had been carrying around their partner’s pants and just at that moment learned of some infidelity and tossed them and the relationship aside in a huff? Maybe someone was carrying a huge pile of clothes down the street, so big that they couldn’t see in front of them, and this lonely pair slid off at just this place? What stories could this pair of jeans tell if it could talk?
Lest you think I haven’t been up to much the past few days, here is a small sampling of memories:
– On Thursday night after dinner Roland and I went for a drink at another famous gay bar in the Village known as “The Monster”. There were a bunch of portly theater queens belting out show tunes around a piano played by someone who looked amazingly like this muppet.
– Two nights ago, while coming home late on the train, a nervous woman approached two officers and started off angrily telling them that she was threatened by a group of young women on the train. The woman (who was white) then mentioned that they were black and that they had called her a “white bitch” and threatened her. She then started to cry, and told the officers she had voted for Barack Obama and had previously had an African-American boyfriend. She was afraid that they were waiting for her at the next stop and one of the cops (himself African-American) offered to walk her home. She thanked him, took his hand and started to cry again as they got in the subway car.
– Yesterday, I met Gabe, Chris and Jason (and a few others) in the Lower East Side for a fascinating gallery walk. Our group was led by a lovely young Israeli woman who is a graduate art student here in New York. As we were walking back from the tour towards the food and drinks at the main gallery, I made the stupid mistake of talking about Israel with an Israeli. I have noticed that even while they may be very left leaning on a huge number of other issues, in general (in my experience) they are quite nationalistic and right wing on the subject of Palestinians and the peace process.
– Also yesterday during the gallery walk, met a wonderful friend of Gabe’s named Regina. Among the many conversational gems she shared with me was a fascinating story about a lecherous guy (in attendance) who is infamous for showing up at every gallery opening for the free food and drink. He then proceeds to hit on every young woman in the place. Regina told me there is a blog dedicated to him (I could be wrong, but this may be it) where people post sitings and generally complain about him.
Yesterday, in an effort to promote my new site and get some work, I did something I very rarely do: I emailed everyone in my address book. Out of some three hundred or so email addresses, about a fifth of them bounced as undeliverable, which is fairly normal as people swap email addresses all the time, and the probability that an adress from five years ago or more will still be valid is fairly low. Still, a large number of mails reached people that I hadn’t spoken to in a long time, and many of them responded with questions, comments or news of their lives. I love the randomness of who responded and in what manner. They were as varied as a friend from high school, people I have met on my travels, former colleagues, and distant relations. And just like that, we (re)collect pieces of our past, and reconnect with something, whether a time or place or memory. I am most fascinated by the nature of the act of reaching out to everyone (even if in a somewhat mundane way of looking for work), because some of the most amazing things come from the random and the unexpected. The intersections present in those moments of receiving contact, the particulars of each person (their humor or mood, whether they are in a rush or relaxing) all contribute to possible responses or none at all. And out of the past, something new and different is created in the present.