Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Surfing a Vibe

A few years back, one of my ambitious New Years resolutions was to become sensitive to the subtle currents that pulse through our lives and to become proficient at harnessing them to my advantage. On a grand scale, it’s a path to success. On a quotidian level, it can turn an everyday hour into a boogie board ride.

For example, I was on my way to work the other day. I got off the L train at Union Square and found the platforms for the uptown trains completely packed with people. No trains, so why not go upstairs and have a coffee in the square? No use getting pi$$ed off. On a whim, I decided to scoot the two blocks to Utrecht to pick up some spray fixer I needed. I walked in just as the store was opening and asked for the product. They showed me the empty space on the shelves and apologized. I poked through some nearby boxes and found just what I needed. They asked at the counter if I had a discount card.

"Expired," I replied.
"We never check the date."
"As I was saying: I do have a discount card, thanks!"
Back at the square, I drank my coffee and watched the pigeons overhead. Then I boarded a very fluid subway uptown to work.
At the end of the day, I had a crunch: I needed a workout but I also needed to stop by the Turkish Baths to see if I had left my credit card there. And I was in a hurry to get home some I could read Sebastian’s bedtime story. I decided to run home (7 miles) which had the added advantage of avoiding any subway annoyances.

Running all the way from Central Park to the East Village along 5th Avenue during rush hour is exhilarating, like riding a storm surge and almost as dangerous. Bombing past commuters, making eye-contact with cabbies, finger-waving at bus drivers, I was feeling very fit and completely plugged into the fabric of the City.

When I got to the baths, David knew just what I wanted and pulled from his drawer a little bundle of credit cards, removed the rubber band and laid mine on the counter. Then I unleashed a wonderful uninhibited kick across the Williamsburg Bridge to my home and dinner with Meredith and Sebastian. Four birds with one stone! I felt exhausted and delighted.

Like a New Yorker.

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