Sunday, August 09, 2009

Inside the fortress of solitude

I haven't said very much this weekend. L went down to Florida to see her grandma, so I've been on my own since yesterday afternoon. I have taken this time to briefly withdraw -- from the world, into myself. I feel like I needed time to regroup. Today I only left the house to go to the farmers market, and then again to eat lunch and read "The Power Broker," and finally I went on a walk around the block a couple of hours ago. I have spent a lot of time reading and watching television. I watched "Sophie's Choice" and "The Contender." I thought a lot about writing, which I've put on the backburner after a couple of daunting weeks at work. I've been listening to a lot of music, too, and when John Mayer's song "Home Life" came on, I felt that strange feeling of nostalgia that music can provoke. It is almost palpable, like drunkenness, like feeling something rolling over your shoulders and consuming you. Hearing that song made me think of how much my life has changed in three years, made me think about how I live and what I have now. It was one of those nights where I was just shuffling through all the music on my ipod, rediscovering old stuff and cobbling together a strange and rich medley of stuff, enough to put me in a reflective mood.

Throughout the day I wondered if I should call somebody up or try to meet anyone for a meal or a drink, but I decided not to. Not to mention that the list of potential invitees now seems pathetically small. It was a beautiful day and I felt bad for not running or spending more time outside, but it was enough to run my errands and feel the breeze coming inside, through the plants and the herb garden perched on the fire escape. I didn't even shower today. But that was my choice, and I figure tomorrow when L comes back I can get all spruced up and be sociable. Today it felt good to dig in.

Also, last night I went to an intermediate hip hop class and really got my ass handed to me. It was pretty tough, intricate stuff and I realized I was out of my league about twenty minutes in. There were only a handful of us in there. Two of the other people had clothing with dance studios' names on them, which was a bad sign. Somebody else was some high school prodigy who had learned choreography from our teacher's DVDs. And there I was in my running t-shirt and sneaks, knowing this may have been a mistake. The teacher, who is a pretty accomplished dude, taught really quickly and didn't break things into eight counts. Instead everything tracked the lyrics of the song, so it was tough to place it within the music. Once I realized that he was really hitting the bass notes, things made more sense. By the end of the class I was about 70% there, I would say. It was fun but also very trying. He was calling me out at times during the class, telling me to not think too much and get stuck in my head. There were moments when I would feel those first hot pangs of stress and panic and embarrassment, and I tried to push it as far away as I could. Beneath the immediate knowledge that you alone are very conspicuously not doing something correctly is a deeper and more gnawing realization that you are not as good as you think you are, Mr. Hot Stuff. It was not fun in those moments. And frankly, if I want to feel bad about myself and get yelled at, I just show up at work. No need to extend that into my...hip hop life, as it were.

Maybe that class is what set me on this course for the last twenty-four hours. Quietness, minimal talking, books and the tv, a few strangled verses of old nostalgic songs. Yet for one day it's enough.

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