After grinning and pissing and moaning, I finally have time to return to the matter at hand: answering various questions. This next one, from bonehound almost defies answering, but here we go
here’s mine typos and all :0)
firstly I want to say how much i have been relishing your Q&A posts this past week ..good stuff Mr.
tho I have many questions I want to save something for down the road for the course of actual conversation. so here is mine wrapped in a smidgeon of back story.
Back when I had first given up speed I was asked to speak before a large group of people/peers to tell my life’s story so far. Now normally these things ended with the speaker opening the floor for individuals to discuss what was on their minds, generally a lot of woe is me chatter wrapped in gratitude ( perfectly acceptable and encouraged as folks needed a safe space for that ). At this time I had done these speaking bits several times anywhere from gay rehabs to a room filled to the rim with men fresh from prison and felt I needed to take myself to a new level , draw something new from myself and hopefully a few others. With no real plan except to wing it I headed to my engagement.
It was a balmy San Francisco evening the sky overcast in gray , green and orange giving the buildings that golden glow. You could smell rain and electricity in the air. I was making my way up O’Farrelle between Jones and Hyde when i felt the first huge warm drop hit my neck , then my arm , then my shoulder. Warm rain falling in slow hefty drops. Folks darted for doorways as it began to come down . I was enjoying it just the way i always do when i looked down to my right and saw two tiny unkempt little girls with grimy knees and faces sitting on the edge of a Laundromat storefront. These grimy children sitting in the rain with the biggest smile on their faces as they devoured a snow cone without a care in the world. They didn’t seem to notice the rain at all .I All they knew was their bliss, their laughter and their snow cone. One beautiful moment . They themselves prolly weren’t even aware of it in the moment. But I caught it and I pray that someday when things are kinda dark and hard for either of them that they can cull from memory that one moment or one similar and use it to pull them forward, to inspire, to aspire , to hope, to comfort, to laugh, to remember, to hold on to.
thinking back on them now i can smell the rain and see the colors from the snow cone running down their dirty faces and hands . more importantly i can still feel what i felt in those very few seconds and it fills me with warmth and makes me smile. it frees me from the overwhelmingly mundane daily grind when i reflect on that moment and moments like it i had as a child.
so now the same question i asked the crowd that night after telling them what i had seen on the way. We( most of us anyway ) have all had moments like that as children and we have all been witnesses to others moments like that as well. Please if you can, share one of each with me?
Thank you for adding “if you can” in there, because I am hesitant to attempt it given the eloquence of your writing. The thing about this question is that it makes me want to ask dozens of questions. Clearly, once we are sitting in the same room we won’t be lacking topics of conversation.
But all of that is dancing around the question. As I reflect on my childhood, the most blissful moment that leaps out at me was my experience of the 1965 New York Blackout. I was at the movies with my Mom to see “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World” . I remember a shot of a bucket rolling down a hill, and then the projector dying. It took a while for people to understand that the problem involved more than just the theater and finally we wandered out into the last light of a November afternoon and began to make our way up Broadway toward our apartment. I remember we stopped at our local deli-rotisserie chicken shop and got dinner. People were putting candles in their windows, and on the streets everyone had slowed to a tender, drifting pace. It was of course very quiet, and I remember a feeling that people were looking out for each other, relinquishing their aggression. By the time we got home it was almost entirely dark, and my mother set up the candles she had bought on our table. We ate the dinner and then, in the absence of TV, she tucked me into bed. The apartment was utterly different in the candlelight, and as I drank in the newly mysterious surroundings , she brought a candle near my bed and read to me until I suppose I fell asleep. In my memory, however, sleep never comes: I am perpetually suspended in the low light and the warmth of familiar covers, rapt before my my mothers gentle voice, secure and complete.
As for witnessing a moment like that, that will require some additional thought, so I’ll have to beg off for now.