Thursday, May 20, 2010

30 Days of Dinner Time, Day 19

In the window, Emily and Brittany. These two lovely ladies are contending with the award for youngest participants to date, late-teens/early twenties. Emily had originally signed up with her husband, Tony, but his schedule conflicted with the dinner. Emily explained that her and Brittany are the kind of friends who could spend hours talking about nothing but rarely get the opportunity.

For dinner they brought salad and spaghetti. Emily had water to drink while Brittany had two cans of Jumex, not sure which flavor. At one point they switched beverages for a while.

This was the second night of nice weather in a row... the kind of weather I anticipated the entire month of May. This may seem like a side note, but it makes the entire experience so much easier from the outside. Easier is not necessarily better, especially at this late phase which is already making me tired, but it is much more pleasurable. Hopefully it will improve foot traffic over the last ten days.

Tonight was much like other nights, pleasurable to watch and peppered with viewers. Two interactions stand out specifically. The first involved two men who sat down on the chairs for quite a while. With their open cans of Busch beer one viewed silently and the other engaged me in extensive conversation. The talker was a smart, inquisitve guy. He talked himself through his questions and I did my best to stay quiet while he worked. His final question was "is this art?", to which I responded by smiling and asking him the same question back. Then he smiled and restated the question "is it art" in a tone which sufficed as his satisfied answer.

The second stand-out interaction came long after the dinner had ended. I managed to catch the last fifteen mintues of our small group (for church) which meets Wednesday nights. I was able to have a quick but filling conversation with Tuwanda, a friend from group, about the progress of the piece. We were conversing in a thick layer of cocktail conversations, as ten people carried on five different conversations in one room.

I told her that in the past I had so often wished there was a way to turn off the white noise generated by group-chat in order to see a quiet version of their interactions. In saying that I realized I had actually created that through 30 Days... this ever-present wish in the back of my mind for years has finally become a possibility. But now, after so much seeing and so little hearing... the hum of their chatter felt like a warm blanket on a cold day. I still couldn't hear their stories specifically, but the sound felt alive, messy, non-sterile. To the degree that starving makes you appreciate food all the more, I found myself comforted by the tangibility of this sound which I have been fasting from for three weeks. Apparently I have missed viewing life with my ears, and I'm thankful to realize it's not a give-in, but a gift to do so.

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