Friday, December 13, 2019

"We're going to need a bigger [boat] truck..."

Hi Santa Monica.
How's everyone doing this holiday season? Me, I'm in hibernation mode, avoiding as many people as I can (within reason, one has to get groceries, and when one goes, one has to answer the solicitous Trader Joe's employee who wants to know just what you're going to do with that dinky bag of trimmed leeks).

It's a common misconception that people (like me) who avoid large gatherings of humanity "don't like people." I like people just fine. I even (gulp) love some people. What I don't like is crowds. And yes, a crowd is a what, not a who, because a crowd is what happens when a group of individuals becomes so large that you lose track of where one person ends and the other begins, when beings cram and shove and stuff themselves into a maelstrom, or a melee, or any other chaos word that starts with m. Am I being dramatic? Well, sure. But you've seen those horrid black friday videos, right? You know what a crowd is?

This is why you'll find me hibernating. Because the holiday season means public places are more crowded. I'm really not sure why this is. Maybe it's because people are consuming more and the easiest way to consume is to leave home. Or maybe every single person, right after thanksgiving, gives birth to another whole person; a fully grown, impatiently driving, canned goods aisle space taker upper. You don't have to take my word for it, just try a grocery store parking lot anytime after 3pm and see what happens.

In addition to the pulsing hordes on sidewalks and in shops, I'm hibernating because I just finished a big project. It's almost a week since I shared my culminating performance with folks in the Sand & Sea room, and in that week I've found it challenging to handle some of life's simpler tasks. Don't get me wrong. I've gone to work. I've gone to get coffee. But I've felt less equipped to feel, well, crowded-- or maybe more accurately, I've felt less equipped to take up space, myself. I don't want my body, voice, or any fiber of my being to participate in crowd-ening. I want to be invisible, I want to disappear. And I'm seeing now that this is taking a dark turn. But don't worry. This treatise on extreme introversion isn't a cry for help. It's just a whisper request to be hidden, for now, and maybe through the rest of the year.

Am I alone in this? I don't think so. The end of the year finds lots of folks presenting annual reports, showing up for peer reviews, doing all sorts of stock taking. So on top of the shocking accretion of people in CVS, there's an added layer of self-examination, or self-awareness, or just "how am I doing-ness."

So I present to you the following: let yourself experience what you need to (again, within reason, and with some endeavor of civility toward your fellow people-- that Trader Joe's cashier REALLY needs to tell you about the best chickpea recipe, really!). If you can sit somewhere quietly, under a blanket or under a pet or under a lap top playing an endless loop of your favorite crime procedural, then do it. And if you don't have the privilege of a few nightly hours of peace, then take the 5 minutes you'd normally spend scouring the internet for in-law gifts, and use it to watch a puppy video, or listen to a favorite song, or just hang out in the bathroom pretending to fix your hair.

My final office hours are this weekend. And unlike a Whole Foods parking lot, the Beach House is a lovely, quiet place this time of year. Please feel free to stop by and talk art, or talk holidays, or talk least obvious methods of hiding at a family gathering.
be well :)

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