Where do I begin? It snowed all day at work. Jake and I went downtown to Old Louisville to work on storm damage. We were in a back yard and there were these 3 rectangular fountain-looking things. They looked empty except for a layer of snow at the bottom. A cut piece of limb was in one so I stepped in it to pick it up and my foot broke through ice and went in water halfway up my shin. My boot filled with icy cold water and it was only noon, so I had half the workday left. I did my best to ring and air out my sock and boot but my foot stayed pretty cold till I got home. I also gave my boss my resignation today.
At home I took a quick shower and did my last preparations for my Zephyr apprenticeship interview. Then I drove and parked by Will’s place. I was way early, as usual, so I sat in my truck till 6pm. When I went in and met the girl who was also there to interview for an apprenticeship. She seemed a little shy. People trickled in and I had a piece of pizza and a beer while they began to sit in an oval of chairs. Brenda told us I would go second and that I could just take a seat while the other woman spoke. I sat right next the other interviewee as she read her notes from her sketchbook. She brought a couple prints and spoke in depth about very complex issues of childhood innocence and awareness. There were some critical comments and she had no questions for the members so I was up.
I stood up and handed out some pictures from the Daily Climb show and a binder with other work in it. And I just started talking. I made them laugh, got some good comments, questions, and reactions. I felt very good about the whole experience. Then it was time to go and I made plans to meet up with Michelle (another Zephyr member) after the meeting was over.
At first I was going to climb a tree but none of my reclimbs were close so I thought I’d wait till after dinner and climb at Oldham County High School on my way home. I drove to Cherokee Park and pulled into the lot closest to the intersection of Grinstead and Lexington. I made some calls and was talking to Drew when an old man in a hat, scarf, and earmuffs walked up to my truck window. I rolled it down and he said he had a truck just like mine, same colors and everything. We discussed that then talked about other topics. He is a potter and knows Sarah Frederick. He spoke a lot of his daughter who is a successful painter. I told him about my art and he asked if I wanted to go back to his place to see some of his daughter’s work. I still had some time to kill so I followed him through the park to his little apartment by Cherokee Triangle. When I stepped inside I asked to use the restroom. While in there I put some clues together. This guy was a little flamboyant and the parking lot where we met was quite peculiar. When I was parked and talking on the phone many cars pulled in and out. Some right next to me. Plus, if this guy was just going for a walk in the park he could have done it from his apartment. That lot is a gay pickup lot! And I just got picked up! I realized. When I sat in his living room to talk I told him I was engaged before but broke it off and moved back home. In retrospect, everything I said could have been interpreted as a man confused, maybe experimenting. But really I just parked in that lot to talk in my phone. I told him I had to go and he gave me a hug and his number. Then he stood there with a pen ad paper and asked for my number. I stupidly gave it to him thinking that he was an artist and nice, it couldn’t hurt. Then as I walked to my truck he suggested we go get dinner and see a movie soon. I drove away laughing in disbelief of what just transpired.
I went to Michelle’s and we drove to Skyline. She told me my interview went over well and I told her my story. Either way, it made for a good story and the whole day from quitting my job to a wet foot, the interview at Zephyr, and getting picked up by an old gay man and still having to climb a tree in this cold night air, it was incredible.
I dropped Michelle off and I drove to the high school to the back by the tennis courts.
I trudged through the crunchy snow struggling to find my tree. But I eventually did and began to climb. My hands hurt so bad I paused frequently to warm them. The climb itself was fun and slightly challenging due to the weather.
At the top I tried ripping off my ribbon but in the cold but it had become brittle and snapped in three pieces.
I took pictures of the school buses
and the trees and creek nearby.
The light reflecting off the snow was beautiful and I just felt so good up there.
It was a perfect space to reflect on the day and then put it out of my mind and take in all that was around me.
Tree climbing allows for great moments of thoughtful peace, but also intense focus on the physical present. It was a prefect ending to a crazy day. I climbed back down, drove home, and went to bed. I had so much to look forward to. One being telling all my friends that funny story.
2-16-09: This entry is one of the funniest and most memorable ones of the year. It was quite the eventful day. I knew I only had 2 weeks left at my job, the interview went well and I got voted into the gallery, and I let myself get into a really odd predicament. A little slow on the uptake I guess. That guy ended up calling me every day for the next week. I screened each call and he left messages asking to make plans. On his final message he assured me he wouldn’t tell anyone where we met. I could have called him back and made it clear that I didn’t know what kind of lot I was in, but would he have believed me? I didn’t care to say anything at all and he finally stopped calling me. Ridiculous.
Speaking of ridiculous. (The parallel here is truly uncanny) When I was a resident coordinator at the Mary Anderson Center in 07, there was one resident I met there that was a character. He is from NYC and a playwright. I found he lives about a block from my brother and he was always eager to talk when he was around. He told me if he was ever in the city to call him. So I did and we arranged to meet last Thursday. He’s busy with teaching and getting a couple plays into production so he didn’t have a lot of time to fit me in. We planned to meet at 4pm. When we did he informed me that we were going to the Y to swim. He had brought a suit, a cap, and a lock for me. I tried to tell him I didn’t not want to swim and that I’d sit out, but he just said, "no, you’re getting in."
So, I get in with my hair cap (since you have to in the NYC Y) and did some laps while he walked. He fell a while ago a ripped a bunch of tendons in his knee and had major surgery. His doctor really wants him to work out his knee and build his muscles or he’ll lose the use of his leg. But he hates the pool because it’s so boring. Which is why I was there… to keep him company. I embraced my situation and did some laps, got a good workout, and kept him company. After the pool, the steam room, then out to Sushi Samba for a drink. We walked right in and we sat on this couch that he said he sits in all the time. A waitress immediately brings him a martini without him ordering. He was a true regular. We shared a couple drinks and stories, then I had to go climb a tree. It was nice to see him, but I don’t understand how these old, flamboyant men keep talking me into these strange situations.
Finally to the climb. It was incredibly windy on Thursday. Not as bad as Kentucky got it, but pretty damn windy. I wanted to capture that but I didn’t want to travel to a big park because I was going to be meeting my brother and his friends for drinks soon. I walked to the pier and went out to the end. It was almost hard to just walk forward at some gusts. I picked a small tree at the end of the pier and climbed up a few feet.
I did my best to take pictures but I was getting jostled and tossed all over. The few I took I could tell were blurry since it was dark and the exposures times were long.
I decided to just make a video. I tried to talk to the camera but the wind was too loud to record most of it.
It was a pretty view of Hoboken, and I could even see the Empire State Building. After the video, I climbed back down and took one last shot securely from the ground.
In that you can see all the limbs are blurry from blowing in the wind. It was crazy but a fun experience.