Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Adventure a Week, or "Deeper Traveling," or Something I Always Wanted to Do But Thought I had Enough Time to Wait

I realized recently, mostly because of a series of personal failures (for lack of something more poetic), that life passed me on the right somewhere between Mt. Katahdin and the puddle outside my front door. Like many of my ilk, I've been spending too much time huddled on my oddly shaped couch, chucking comically heavy weights at the phantoms of self-lust (or whatever), or reading--with near obsession--student journals, papers, and posts. Therefore, I've decided to tailgate life, if I can catch her, and see where she might lead.

Once a week I will try something new or something I haven't done in a long time and report on it here (brevity will replace wit). It might be something as small as eating mountain oysters or as blissful as riding the beach in far-off Roatan with my nearest and dearest. Think of it as an instance of "deep travel" in its frantic, manic, and ecstatic forms. Something like a lunch break in Schenectady. Nothing all that preconceived, just go and see and once there pay more attention or less. I'll begin with two things and then go from there.
1. I will start with a trip to Starbucks this afternoon to finish something I've been working on (yes, school stuff, but then I've just started this thing). This is a place I've visited, but maybe one that I haven't really seen (or maybe I have, but this time I actually try to care).
2. On February 16, I will go listen to an opera singer at the Grace in Bangor, Maine (I know, but who knows, right?).

After these, I'll see what else there is to climb into, over, or around (I'll take suggestions, even stupid or dangerous ones, but nothing that will get me fired).

Adventure #1, Starbucks: Jogging Pants and the Dynamics of Dating

Week of February 5

After maneuvering through Sunday traffic and the shenanigans of retirees and twenty-somethings trying to park, I wiggled my way into the cafe, a freezing breeze dogging my heels.
People occupy every seat, with a few insipid undergraduates taking up four-seaters with their laptops, IPhones, and IPads arrayed before them like defensive ramparts. No, the gadgets signal, I won't be leaving even if my ass fuses the pillowy lint of my jogging pants with the lacquered particulate-board of this chair. But, if you're lucky, I might managed to saunter back to my IKEA-furnished apartment once I've worked out my thesis on the mating habits of the middle class; however, at this point, I've only included two of the five required sources.
Littered elsewhere, even on the ledge of the propane fireplace, are couples who seem, from the molten atmosphere and wrinkled foreheads, to be on either their first or last dates. The uncertainty of a word's worth, poised as one so earnestly is between licked or lipsticked lips, creates a feeling of suspense as one idea catches, another misleads, and a third enrages. With the slightest blip in tone, lives crumble or rise, left in a half-and-half slick of sadness or exalted in the amber crust of raw sugar. I just feel sad, wondering how "I love you" becomes "I hate you" overnight. Given the tortured faces of those cranked into these tiny seats and bloated with caffeine and chocolate mix, I'm almost certain the feeling turns on the timing of a fart, and a few (it seems) haven't timed theirs quite right.
So my "skinny" something comes whizzing up to the counter followed by the barista's inane joy, "have a super scrumptious day" (she doesn't even look at me, and I don't blame her), and I'm off into the apocalyptic and cold Maine air, wondering at the physics that allow one foot to follow the other.