Last week I was finishing up a mural project with my buddy Darrell when during our fabulously catered lunch break our conversation turned to the idiosyncrasies of language, particularly greetings between acquaintances. “Hi how are you doing?”, rarely is a genuine question. And the indifference can leave a person feeling like they can’t ever truly express their feelings for fear of burdening the acquaintance asking the question. I’m afraid that this leaves everyone feeling a bit more lonely and isolated especially in these times of social distancing.
I believe this lack of empathy comes from many different directions. Leadership especially from high corners or power doesn’t help matters. I think many elites make certain they are far from actual people so they can be insulated from over-worked over-burdened people. In fact I often find it funny that we obsess about the lives of celebrities and elites when they do everything possible not to know their fans or the public at large. Well, anyway as our conversation delved deeper into this topic Darrell and I were left wondering how do you express you needs and feelings in that way that people can hear which doesn’t sound like an obligation-to-listen. We resolved that there’s really no solution to this other than choosing a select group of “real” friends to share yourself with, making us all liars when we say, “I’m doing fine” when responding to “the question”.
I don’t enjoy this state of affairs and am often the one giving real answers leaving – I fear – people to think I’m overly dour. One thing that I admire in friends who are relentlessly happy, or let’s just say well adjusted, is that they are confessional. My friends Kathleen Rosario and Al Johnson come to mind. Both carefully scalpel negativity out of their lives and are good story-tellers, always ready to draw you in with a good yarn or salacious gossip. On this last observation, I think that goes a long way towards eliciting interest in ones’ life, tasty bits of intrigue.
When I was a kid growing up in Plant City Florida I worked at a local grocery store, Kash N Kerry. I worked in the lot, wrangling carts and bagging groceries. I remembered at night when customer traffic was light looking up at the stars and dreaming of this time in my life when I’d be free to do what I wanted to do. Now looking back at those same stars 30 years later I’m left wondering if I did it all wrong by allowing the wrong people in and focusing too much on art. I’d like to look back at 74 and think I used this middle-aged time of epiphany and self-discovery to my betterment. I’d like to look back and say the focus on the creative was the right one and that all those wrong people met along the way made me wiser and stronger, less lonely and fragile. And that I can say I’ve surrounded myself with more Kathleen’s and Al’s who I can respond truthfully to when they ask how are you.
Oh as a side note BLM.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Sango still over the past few weeks. It’s turned into my perfect body-moving sound track. Unfortunately it doesn’t always make for good background music, especially if your entertaining during cocktail hour. So I’ve been branching out a bit. I liked this song called “Tired Boy” from Joey Pecoraro a few weeks back on Pandora which I feel back in love with. I also found this Mustard and Migos collaboration “Pure Water” for that booty-shaking itch I get from time to time. Here are the Youtube videos of these songs.
It’s not exactly been the productive time I had anticipated this last month. I’ve been swept here and there and have not had the time to work that I anticipated. I’m hoping some projects I started like “Adela’s Bouquet” and my new cedar board work, which I’ve provisionally titled “Malik’s B-Boy Blues”, can be completed early in September. Also the drawing series “August” is on my plate along with another large landscape work. So many ideas so little time. I hope everyone is doing well. Talk to you soon.