I was able to sleep with reasonable comfort on my amazing yoga mat (it's woven & padded, not rubber) & a mattress made of scattered Indian pillows. Duvetyne became my blanket and with a couple of old black sheets I'd packed with me I suddenly had a fort! 6-year old Andy was giddy.
The thought occurred to me, "Does this make me a vagrant now?"
I wondered, "Where's that line between hobo and traveler?"
Then I concluded, "Why do I care?"
Before I drifted off to sleep I could hear the occasional passersby on the street. Sometimes they'd comment on the "Burn Bright" words and shooting star symbol in blue paper tape on the side of the van. Some chuckled. Some merely read it aloud. One teen exclaimed, "yeaaaaah!!!! He's talkin' about smokin' trees!!" I should just park her somewhere and record people's reactions. Maybe I can camouflage a GoPro on the roof or something. So many art projects...
The process of this new logistical consideration; i.e. space to sleep, helped me to figure out how to strip-down the van even more. I'm going to need to drop some more stuff in storage. Less baggage to weigh me down. More understanding of want vs. need. That means back to Brooklyn, briefly.
Today was spent working from inside my van on my laptop. We're getting to know each other well, Eshe and I. I was utilizing the coffee and wifi of a local dunkin' donuts. In the afternoon I went for a 2nd visit to refuel and found the door was locked with a small sign up saying:
We will be closing our
dining at 1:30PM today
for couple hours to
celebrate our Christmas
in our store but we
are open and very happy
to serve you thru our
Sorry for the inconvenience.
HAVE A MERRY
Two employees at a time would work the window taking orders while the rest all sang karaoke together and had candy canes and cake inside the dining area. Every now and then, they'd rotate around, so everyone shared the work AND the play. It was beautiful.
karaoke on the counter
Taking time to appreciate your fellow members of any given group and take a break together is so important. I think I used to take that for granted when I was in white collar jobs. The office Christmas party, the obligatory birthday cake arranged by the sectretary or office manager...these things actually ARE important. The ceremony is really just an excuse for us to come together, to feel like 'we.' It's an important feeling...connection.
As I stood at the window waiting to refill/refuel on coffee, I got to watch them all sing some song I could not recognize. They were extremely enthusiastic about it. The couple of employees having their own conversation near the back looked over to smile and join in too. The people at the microphones all hugged when they finished the song. Some laughed. So simple. So nice.
If anyone got annoyed at the small inconvenience of having to line up outside, I did not see evidence of it. There was an overhang from the roof to keep people out of the rain, and they were being entertained.
The hugging part was my favorite. I don't think people hug enough. Sure, we may give that polite hug hello or goodbye, but I mean a REAL hug...where you CONNECT with that other person, right through your chest.
Not everyone is comfortable with that, and that's okay. When I meet you, I want to offer you the opportunity. You can say no if you want, or keep it polite if you want. But...
But maybe it's been a while since you really hugged. Maybe you really need it. Maybe you don't know how to ask.
When we fall into a comforting hug with someone and we truly let our guard down, even just a little, something happens. Something restorative. Something magical. I love that feeling. Not that feeling of someone else hugging me, although that is great. I love that feeling of me hugging someone else, that feeling of healing someone.
I don't need to know what's wrong. I don't need to notice you being sad. You don't even need to realize that something from your life is bothering you. But chances are there's something inside you that makes you need a hug in your life. And even if everything is incredible, wouldn't a hug make it feel even better?
So I strive to give you the guilt-free opportunity of being offered one, and not having to ask. Asking for what we need can be hard, because something about asking for a hug implies weakness. You don't need to do that. All you need do is accept.
So when I meet you and you extend your hand out to shake mine, I will open my arms wide and say, "We hug around these parts!" If you reciprocate and come in for a hug I give you as deep a hug as you go for.
If I don't do this when I meet you, please feel free to be the one who offers a hug, because that usually means i am the one who really needs one.