Archive for January, 2017

Road Trip to NYC

January 25, 2017

Day 5 and another pizza has been delivered to the hewillnotdivideus livestream. How many deliveries does that make now? Too many to count. I have spent the last several days home fighting a plague that is trying it’s very best to beat me. Trying its very best to bring me down. It doesn’t realize that I have strangers in New York live streaming to the world to keep me entertained.

I first started watching because I knew it was going to be a train wreck. I knew for a fact that it could turn into a platform for nonsense and ugliness. That it might be the platform on which the world saw something heinous, together, live, in horror. This was such a bad idea. I was going to be one of the voyeurs watching helplessly as it all unfolded. I got something much different.

I turned it on the other night to see a chain smoking, jittery young man smiling into the camera. The cynical side of me felt like he was up to something. Another young man stood in the background with a camera around his neck. They were friendly. The chain smoker bobbed in and out of camera view every now and again turning to the stream and smiling. The camera man stood in the background, coming forward to inspect something unseen near the streaming camera. They would chat with people as they came to visit. The camera man would take pictures and give them to the people that wanted them. I loved these two guys.

I kept checking in after this point. A tambourine man, a woman in an orange hat, a man bundled up who is apparently not a hero. I caught glimpses of them dancing, talking and smoking. I tuned in to see a man with glasses repeating He will not divide us over and over. I saw him approached and mocked. Then it became important to me. As the worst kind of troll stalked around this man. The mustached man spoke in slurs. He mentioned Hitler in a favorable light. He did all of this as the glasses man stood and kept saying it. “He will not divide us. He will not divide us…” The glasses man would look up now and again and smile at this man. Smile and just keep going “He will not divide us…”

I was getting frustrated for my new friend with the glasses. Why is he there alone? Is there not one person in New York that will join this man? That will stand with him? I was getting agitated. A shadowed figure appeared from the sidewalk. She had been tucked in bed back in Brooklyn and felt inspired to come down. They embraced in a hug and then stood side by side ad continued. That was the moment I was hooked. My own little Truman Show was going to be here for at least 4 years.

Other things happened that night. A Craig’s List ad was taken out in the name of the girl from Brooklyn, stating that she was handing out sexual favors. That in and of itself was bad enough a reality. But when someone showed up to try and collect on the advertisement was absolutely terrifying. It was past bedtime, but now I had to see how she was going to leave this place. Would she be safe? Creepy Craig’s List guy just stayed and stayed and stayed. She eventually walked off accompanied by another person and I was finally able to go to sleep.

What’s the point? What does it mean? They are calling it a living art project I guess? It is fascinating. I have spoken to my kids about it. Shown them examples of the kind of people that they will encounter in their lives. The people that we find despicable. The Hitler loving, Craig’s List creepers, and trolling instigators all looking for their turn in the spotlight. Those people fade away into the peripheral. They can come into your lives and make it uncomfortable for a moment or two. You can choose to challenge them with a smile. You can exhibit patience for them while showing the world the kindness in your spirit.

I showed my boy stills from the Twitter feed of the embrace in the middle of the night between strangers trying to show support. Images of a smiling young man who seemed to be enjoying himself even if he felt a little awkward interacting with a wall. A shot of another man taking pictures of whoever came through and were wanting to keep this moment forever.

To me it isn’t about politics. It’s not about being different or the same. It’s about those who want to come together. Having actual interactions and share moments with a stranger and maybe even enjoy a dance session. The Flower Boy said “If you want to come down and talk, let’s talk” and I hope people do despite who they voted for or what opinions they have. What it is all about to me is my boy coming home from school and asking me what happened last night and asking who is there now. And here is my boy saying that he wants to go, he wants to be there and meet these strangers. I kind of want to take him.

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