Showing posts with label diary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diary. Show all posts

26.7.14

A Lagniappe Of Dumplings At Xi'an's Famous Foods

Have you ever been to Xi'an's Famous Foods in the East Village (or their other locations)? It's stupid good.
A trio of my friends decided to eat dumplings on Saint Mark's. Xi'an's Famous Foods serves up a delicious spinach dumpling in a sour soup; it's fast, savory, and filling food. I was craving a heap of deliciousness,  and I had a tenner in my pocket. I was freelancing at the time  money was tight.
Spinach dumplings at Xi'an's Famous Foods
The eatery is small, and hungry weekenders (it was a Saturday afternoon) fill the space. Two thin, attractive men seated already had gotten up to leave. I offered to dispose of their plates since I was already adjacent to the trash bins.

"Hey," I said, noticing the blonde hadn't eaten the remaining four dumplings that sat green and plump on his plate. "Are you going to eat that? I'll eat it." 

The guy, nonplussed, said "sure," and he and his companion, both wearing crisp white shirts and chinos departed the restaurant.


I ordered a second round of dumplings, and one of my friends suggested we walk down Saint Mark's and ask people dining on the sidewalk to give us their food.


Yeah, we didn't do that, but the lagniappe of dumplings and a carbonated apple fizz soda was my delight for a day in the East Village.

8.3.13

"Who AM I?" And Do We Ever Change (Also A Brief Reflection On "Is Being Together Possible?")

Looking Back At March 31, 1997

Pencils in My Pocket
I spent last Saturday reading my journal from 1997. Look at what I wrote on March 31, 1997.
It’s proof that I have not changed. At all. I will be sixty and still wondering about my place in the cosmos (and hopefully with a better HMO):

How do I fit in the grand scheme of the cosmos? I am seventeen, medium height, medium weight, hazel eyes, brown hair, mild complexion, have acne, am Catholic, attend a public high school, love to read and participate in other cultural activities, learn about historical events, visit art museums and view fine films. That’s me in a nutshell (into clichés tonight). I am an independent person and don’t care for much intervention. I get the most joy out of completing tasks by myself, not because I like doing it by myself. I don’t get my joy for performing and doing things for others, when I act I please myself. It is fun to see people laugh at my jokes or comment or something. I do, but frankly I don’t do it for them. People who know me well may think I am cold-hearted, I don’t think so. I love people and love seeing people happy. I desire the best for anyone I know; I am talking about the core of my being, what gives me most enjoyment: people or myself? The answer must be myself. I’d rather ride my bike alone or walk my dog alone. I’d rather cook a meal or read a book alone. I’d rather tour a museum alone or view the stars by myself. But I do love sharing my experiences. I am not shy when it comes to depositing my knowledge. The gift of teaching resides in me. That is what God gave me. I never grow tired of friendships and good conversation. I would get lonesome being by myself too long. I would want to escape and experience something else …. I have more to offer the world than wash dishes, get braces, being obedient, etc. I am impatient, but am hanging on the vine.
  I am not sure I agree with my seventeen-year-old self that teaching is depositing knowledge but I will forgive him because he had not read yet Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I no longer have acne and I am not sure where I stand on Catholicism but the gist of what I wrote that night in March of 1997 still rings true in 2013. Is this the same for everyone? Even if you don’t have access to a journal entry you wrote 16 years ago it is still interesting to reflect on how much we change. It's interesting I wrote that entry during my Senior year of high school. So it makes sense I would be thinking about what I want out of life. Now after having finished college and two graduate degree programs, as well as some years of teaching - and don't forget my six years as a Benedictine monk - I still think of what this seventeen-year-old boy was thinking: who the hell am I?
I think I am thinking about this more than ever because I feel this persistent push to be something, to do something, but at the same time I have this other feeling inside of me that I am (and have been) doing it all along - I just hadn’t noticed. It’s like I spend so much time thinking about what I will be or will do that I have forgotten what I did, what I have seen and heard. My seventeen-year-old self is telling my thirty-three-year-old self “to please myself” and continue to take pleasure out of art, novels, friends and all that jazz.
It sounds like what I am saying is that if I am ever going to find someone else to share my life with they also have to know their joy. We come together and share what joys we know. When I first read this entry I thought, shit, I will be alone for the rest of my life. But I read it again and it struck me, something I did not notice the first time I read this scrap of paper from the past. It’s so human to want to please yourself and to think of the future but at the same, I sense a longing to share that something with someone else and to know their joy. Is that what they call interdependence? It's when I say “I love sharing my experiences.” That’s the art of being together. That’s what I crave and I think it is what a lot of human beings crave. I love how at the end I say I am impatient and holding on the vine. That’s very Greig Roselli.