Friday, May 21, 2010

30 Days of Dinner Time, Day 20

In the window, Chris and BettyJo. Chris is a musician and researcher in Chicago and BettyJo works for Cutters Inc, a self described "editorial boutique" downtown. Chris and BettyJo had never met before their dinner and represent the first male/female stranger pairing of the piece. More than a few viewers mentioned the hypothesis that this would surely be the start of a love affair... probably the soap opera phenomenon left over in viewership, but funny nonetheless.

For dinner Chris brought a tortilla/guacamole combo and BettyJo brought cucumber salad. He drank cranberry juice and tonic while she had red wine. Chris also brought a stellar looking stuffed rabbit with a machine gun to sit on the table with them, as well as a large wooden wind instrument which they played for a while at the end of the night.

At the very start of the evening, a viewer mentioned something about the piece that they were drawn to: memory. He said most often he sees the piece later at night when the people are gone. Seeing the dining room empty always begged him to remember the reason for the piece and what might have happened in it just hours before. The emptiness activated his memory for life.

As I thought more about memory as an idea, so many interesting things happened. From far away the smell a man's cologne blew over me with the wind. As I didn't know Chris myself, the smell and the image mingled together creating my new memory for this man. Later in the night, while BettyJo tried her hand at the wooden flute, the music from an icecream truck played in the distance. The sensory combination tricked me into thinking she was playing that song on the instrument, just for a second.

After writing yesterday about the sensory divorce for the viewer over this month, tonight I was reminded that our perception and placement sometimes creates new memories out of varied senses. Surely Chris doesn't smell like that cologne nor does BettyJo play clown music on wooden flutes, but for just a moment they did, to me, because my world interfered and asked me to entertain the absurd idea that it might be true.

Also tonight Methaline stopped to talk, a semi-regular to the piece. This is one of a few times over the past 20 days where a person has poured their heart out on the steps of the window. We had the kind of conversation that brought tears to our eyes and bonded us indefinitely to one another... even in just a memory of that night. Again the gesture of intimacy is honored on both sides of the glass between strangers (as Chris recalled their evening was deep and unexpectedly intimate as well).

As this piece draws to an end, I want to dissect it for the elements of value and excess. But in moving to the next piece, beyond dinner, I hope to incorporate this powerful thing that keeps happening as a byproduct of 30 Days... the action and relief of unloading yourself into the arms of a caring stranger.

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