We did get up to NYC yesterday. Adam was excited. He loves New York, and I reminded him over and over again that there’s no reason we can’t go whenever we want. When I was single, I would go up at least once a month, and he said the same for himself, twice a month, even. I guess it’s easy to get caught up in household responsibilities and get lethargic about “going out,” especially when any interesting person that you might want to meet is already sitting in your living room.

Yesterday was gorgeous, wasn’t it? Today equally so, but I’m staying in. I’m wrapped in a blanket, feet up, laptop on my lap, laundry chugging away downstairs; I have no interest in getting out of the house.

It occurred to me too late that I could have started my week of free dance lessons at the dance studio today, but I missed the salsa class already. I’m obviously happier here, anyway, otherwise I probably would have remembered the class.

Anyway, before we left yesterday, Adam agreed to the “no agenda” agenda easily enough, but kept compulsively trying to make plans while I got ready. He sat on his computer downstairs calling possibilities to me upstairs and I kept calling down, “No! I don’t want to make plans! That’s having an agenda!” Finally, I told him to look up vegan pizza places. The only thing I wanted on the agenda was NYC pizza and that he should find a good place where he could eat, too. He hunted around and said, “I can’t find a good place that isn’t too far out of our way.” I called back, “Out of our way to what? If that‘s where we‘re going, how could it be out of the way? The only way it could be ‘too far out of our way’ is if it’s in Canada!” Then he responded by asking me if I’d ever been to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I told him I’d never been to Brooklyn, and he let me know that’s where he wanted to get vegan pizza.

We ended up in a lovely neighborhood filled with such beautiful brownstones, it looked like a TV neighborhood. I had pizza and Adam had two soy cheese calzones. We took a walk through Prospect Park.

It’s funny how we’re both from the city and we both love urban areas, and yet, we’re both drawn to the park. When it started getting dark, we took the train to The Met and saw the mandala exhibit and the special samurai exhibit. I love seeing ancient art from civilizations that were so surprisingly advanced so long ago. There‘s a certain humility and reverence in their work that doesn‘t translate the same way in modern art, which is a bit ironic since the only art I‘ve ever felt was worth my creating was abstract.

It reminded me again how much I miss art history sometimes. I miss drawing sometimes, too, but my real passion is in art history. I know that’s not nearly as exciting as saying that I long to be an artist, but I don’t. I don’t long to be a visual artist, anyway.

Also, how fabulous is it to walk into The Met on a Saturday night and see it packed?

After leaving the museum, Adam contacted his sister and we arranged to meet at a café in Greenwich Village. She allowed us to be wowed by her incredible beauty and larger than life personality. She, Adam and their father are strong, loud, E’s and J’s on the Meyers-Briggs typology. As a strong I and P, I’m often amused those attributes, but sometimes it gets old. After seeing her and being reminded of their father, it occurred to me that Adam has started to take on some of my I and P tendencies, or maybe brought the E and J stuff down a couple of notches. Most of the time, I’m happy to listen attentively, and ask questions to allow them to get more stuff out and reflect on it. It’s not something I want to do 100% of the time, though.

The wonderful thing about them, is that they truly value people. They’re good to people because they value people.

My first example of how to relate to people came from my father. A person whom I wouldn’t even try to guess what goes on in his mind. I wouldn’t say that he’s a cruel person, but he is someone who truly doesn’t understand love. He doesn’t value relationships of any kind, yet, as a human being, there is something deep down which causes him to recognize it’s necessity (I believe). It must be true, he joined FB, after all. Of course, as a human being, growing up, I craved some kind of human connection, but believed that my need for human connection was a dysfunction. I was somehow at fault for needing love and I was willing to flog myself in any way necessary to make sure I grew out of that.

When most people grow up with some reality that is incongruent with the rest of the world, we cling to it, we’ll dupe ourselves to hang on to our definition of the world because that’s where the world makes sense to us. This is regardless of any evidence to the contrary or how painful that definition is.

Well, somewhere along the way, that definition of the world stopped making sense to me. Other things made more sense to me. As a matter of fact, I went from believing that human interaction has no value to believing that how we treat other people is the only thing that really matters.

I can’t go into all the details of that right now, but this makes it possible to appreciate those people who truly care about other people, rather than to be suspicious of them. I’m sure I’ve talked about this before because well.. It’s important.

For some reason, Adam’s sister reminds me of one of an aunt of mine, a little bit, sans that one of them is a petite jewish girl and the other was a large german woman.

My aunt was a big fish in a small pond. She had the kind of personality like a sudden, wild bear hug that both delights and frightens as a person almost gets knocked to the ground with the passionate violence of it. She lived in a small mid-western town and she kept her hair short, curly, and platinum blond. She drove a late model gold Cadillac with nearly every option included (replacing it periodically, so it would continue to be a late model car), which she paid for by being a lucrative realtor. She was fat, happy with her body and comfortable in her own skin. She was brutally honest about who she was and refused to apologize or be meek about it.

Being reminded of her also reminded me how lucky I was to have any kind of an example of a whole and functional human being as a kid. People admired my aunt, but there were also people who found her brazen. I obviously fell into the former category. I could see and accept the latter category, but I could also see that she was functional, healthy and happy.

I think I liked her so well because she paid special attention to the struggle of us kids. When most of the adults in my family would ignore or enable bad behavior, she was the one who would make waves to point out something is unethical, destructive or just plain wrong. She was the one who would try to protect those who were too weak to protect themselves.

I did not grow up to be like her. I grew up to be like me. I learned to aspire to be like me, through her.

I remember a conversation she and I had when I was a kid. We were talking about celebrities having plastic surgery. She adamantly supported anyone who wanted plastic surgery. If they could afford it, then more power to them. Let them change their bodies to their hearts content. I disagreed. My reason being that it wasn’t fair that rich people could change their features while the rest of us poor people just had to live with what we were given, so it just shouldn’t be allowed.

She asked me what would happen if someday I am rich enough to afford plastic surgery myself, to which, I responded, “If that ever happens, then it should be allowed.” We both cracked up.

She died young, barely 40, I think. I was a teenager at the time. If she had never died, I wonder how life would have been different. I’m sure that I think of her with rose colored glasses, at least a little bit.

When I got old enough to be independent, I really pushed far, far away from my past. I ran so hard that it was years before I was willing to slow down and look back. Because of that, I worked my way through school and started on a career. More importantly, I re-invented myself whenever it was necessary and I worked so hard to not let fear me from doing what I really wanted to do. That doesn‘t mean that it doesn‘t, sometimes, of course. I wonder if I would have been motivated to do the same if there had been anyone in my life as a kid that I still wanted in my life? Maybe I would have, but I’d have had more support when I did it.

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Sunday, Nov. 08, 2009 at 5:20 PM