Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I See Your Doom and Raise You Happiness

Is it just me, or is the recession making people friendlier and life more serendipitous? Here are a few examples from recent days in the hood:

1. Stoop conversations with some of the long-time Italian residents on my block about job losses. "Do you have money?" Nick asked. I turned my pockets out: "Empty pockets." Pete: "Hey, that used to be a great bar in Queens."

2. A barista at Verb, my Sunday habit (bathroom art below), teasing me for my coffee-drinking skills when my cup kept dripping. I continue to maintain that it was a leaky cup.

3. Seven random encounters with Williamsburg friends (Tiffany, Keith, Janos, Daniel, and Rob, some more than once) on the L (did you know that between 1928 and 1967 it was the #16?), on subway platforms, and on the streets.

4. Another patron at Hana, overhearing my exchange with the counter guy (Me: I'm getting this eco drain cleaner 'cause I have cats. Him: Do you love your cats? Me: Do I what? Do I love my cats? Him: Yeah. Me: Ha ha. No, I HATE them.), saying, after I purchased Earthworm, "I couldn't help overhear...you have cats. Me too. Organic products never work for this sort of thing." After which we had a friendly conversation that ended with my saying I would go home, make my drain smell like lemon and thyme, and return to spend more money on something toxic.

5. In the spirit of a reviving Bohemia, a Japanese fellow at Verb this past Sunday interrupting my poem revisions to say that I had tiny handwriting that indicated I was a creative. He turned out to be a painter and asked me to write a poem in exchange for a drawing, on the spot. His offering to me:

6. Standing on the corner of Withers and Union, with empty lots on three sides and trees, now against the sky, one day to be silhouetted on buildings. A girl walking a dog crossed to my side of the street, despite the late hour, and struck up a conversation. "This is Ella," she said, pointing to a black-and-white bulldog. When I tried to pet Ella, her owner said that she's afraid of people because she thinks everyone has a camera phone and is trying to take her picture. "Well, she's cute," says I. "She looks like a cat."

Signing off with Andrew Bird:


Ajlouny said...

While you see happiness and positive outlooks of we are in this together, there are some families that re taking it to heart and finding this time so difficult and accompanied with feelings of despair and desperation.

Profile said...

What you say is true, but I don't think that the fact that the world contains despair is reason to give up on joy. It's the pain I've passed through, for instance, that accentuate moments of happiness. I know many people who are being hit really hard right now, but I still believe it is a lucky and blessed thing to be alive.