Talk is Cheap, Listening is Free, Good Vibes are Priceless

[for background see Talk is Cheap, Listening is Free]

Remember Parents’ Weekend your freshmen year of college? Are you thinking of the belly button and/or nose piercing you had to hide, how your mom wouldn’t shut up about how you’d gained the Freshman Fifteen and/or needed a hair cut, how your dad mortified you in front of the cute girl and/or guy from Intro to Sociology?

I went to college in Massachusetts, 3,000 miles across the country, away from my parents in San Francisco. In addition to the blessed 3 hour time difference which insured never called me before noon, the distance also meant they never made an appearance at Parents’ Weekend. My memories of Parents’ Weekend are only of meeting my friends’ parents. How meeting one’s parents provides so much information about a their past and how they grew into their present self. After Parents’ Weekend, I felt like I understood people better.

In post-college life, it’s rare to meet people’s parents. When meeting a stranger, there is often absolutely no common ground on which to begin. No mutual friend, no class you’ve both taken, no institution you share. You both live in New York City, that’s something. Something you share with 6 million other people.

So you size up a stranger by their appearance, the way they talk, their “vibe”. Even from a distance, when I could barely decipher the print on his sign, I could tell The Free Listener had a good vibes. Approaching him and chatting only confirmed this.

Can you tell he has good vibes just from a picture? http://onepuzzledlife.blogspot.com

As I stood talking with him, I was fascinated by people’s reactions. Some shook their heads and chuckled. Others stared in bewilderment before snapping a picture. The majority averted their eyes, “If I catch his gaze, he might follow me and listen to my breathing! If I ignore him he’ll leave me alone!” On the streets of New York, one is crazy until proven sane. Vibes are much more a California thing.

A man stopped approached us. He was my parents’ age, but unlike my folks, he seemed to be holding on to a hippy past. He was outfitted in a worn leather jacket, jeans paired with worn-in boots, an a backwards newspaper-boy cap. His speech was peppered with “man” the way a teenager’s Facebook is with “lol”. “What’s this all about, man?” he asked. The Listener told him (the short version of what I told you in Part 1). The man smiled. “That is the coolest, man. I gotta hand it to ya. This is really great. In my youth, I should’ve done this. Man, people used to tell me I was a great listener. Now, in my advancing age, I’ve forsaken listening for talking.” His presence was gruff yet extremely charismatic. Good vibes. I got the impression he’d traded listening for talking because his stories were better than any one else’s.

“So what are you doing in the park?” the Listener asked, “On your way somewhere to enjoy this beautiful day?” This seemed to be his go-to line to get people to talk about themselves. “Yes, he is on his way somewhere!” said a woman standing several paces away. It appeared she had kept walking and had to back track when she realized the man, no doubt her husband, was no longer with her. Her demeanor pleasant, her smile warm, she was the kind of person you just know gives good hugs. Good vibes. Beneath a knit red beret (you know I have a thing for hats), wavy gray hair fell to her shoulders. Her sweater matched the hat- I imagined them gifts from a dear, crafty friend. Sparkling blue eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses completed the look. She was, by all accounts, adorable. I wanted to sip green tea with her at Alice’s Tea Cup while she told me the story of how she met her husband.

Standing beside her was a young man my age, their son. From the bemused look on their faces, it was clear this had been happening all day. “Dad’s at it again! He has to talk to everyone.” It looked like a situation of mom and dad visiting their grown up son who now lives on his own in the big city. I hoped so, because the son had caught my eye. “He doesn’t pass up a chance to talk,” he said to me, in that apologetic way you use when your parents vaguely embarrass you, “Are you with this guy?” he asked, gesturing to the Listener. “Nope,” I said, “I just saw his sign and had to stop.” He smiled and his eyes twinkled. I’m a sucker for what I can only describe as “the tangible twinkle”, a spark. In that moment, I felt a connection. He was a bit harder to peg than his parents, but I knew I wanted to know more.

The question “Where are you from?” was raised, as it always it, and the reply, from Hippy Dad, was “out west”. I had the hunch from the moment he’d said his first “man” that they were from California. “Where out west?” I asked. “California.” he confirmed. “Born and raised in San Francisco,” I grinned. “Get out! We’re visiting from Santa Cruz.” We were all smiling now. People from the Bay Area just “get” each other. “I should’ve know. The only people to stop and talk to the “Free Listening” guy are from California.”

“Where do you live in the city?” Hippy Dad asked me. I pointed west.
“Over there.” I said, vaguely. “Well, not right over there. Way west.”
“Well it can’t be that far west, or you’d live in a submarine!” he said.
“That I don’t.” I laughed. “You’re right, I’m not that far west!”
“Do you feel the spirit of John Lennon’s in the neighborhood?” He asked, proving his penchant for the past.
“It’s funny you mention that. I’m actually having a Yellow Submarine theme party next weekend.”
Adorable Mom said to her son, “Oh isn’t that funny? Such coincidence.”

We chatted some more and then they departed, never having said where they were on their way too. Before he left, Hippy Dad said to the Listener “Man, you’re doing a great thing here. You must know that, right? I mean, you’re attracting energy like this.” he said, motioning to me. “Those colors, are just…yeah,” he said, appreciating my bright blue jacket complemented by a fuchsia scarf and matching sunglasses (as seen in my April Fools post), “You’re like a ray of sunshine.” Peace. Take care. Enjoy your stay in the city. Great talking with you. With that, this awesome little family, emanating nothing but the best good vibes, walked away.

Later, as I walked home from the park, I found myself thinking about the son. I had talked to his dad way more than him, but I couldn’t help feeling the connection. He was cute (but not too cute and not really “my type” looks wise: both things that get me into trouble), smart, and seemed sweet. Good vibes at least. Plus, his parents were so cool. That’s really what cemented my interest.

You had the perfect opportunity! Why didn’t you say, ‘I’m having a Yellow Submarine party, and you should come.’ That would have been so easy! I’d been at home for about 30 minutes and I was still thinking about this missed connection. I didn’t even know his name! For a second I considered craigslist Missed Connections but dismissed the idea quickly with a Yeah…no. There was nothing to be done, but I knew if I sat there I’d just keep thinking about. So I got up. And embarked on a wild goose chase.

photo credit: http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/scrapbook/

The thing is, with good vibes behind it, sometimes your shot in hell finds that wild goose. Stay tuned.

An Unbelievable Trip to Brazil

Spring Break. An American cliché. Cancun, Palm Beach, sun exposure, non-stop drinking, and general debauchery. During college, spring break was usually spent rehearsing a play. One I spent in New York City, opening bank accounts. I never had the cliché experience during college, so last week I went to Brazil! Spring Break 2012!

This was the gorgeous villa I stayed at, flowers everywhere!
Gorgeous cortyard with an unbelievable view of the Andies. I could listen to that fountain all day.
Day trips exploring the rainforest
You wouldn’t believe the incredible animals that live here..
So happy to be in Brazil!!

APRIL FOOLS!

You didn’t believe me for a second (well maybe a second), did you? What gave me away? The obvious ceiling? The crowds in the periphery of each shot? That the mountains are painted on a wall? The signs among the plants? That the toucan is a crafted topiary? That I’m wearing a jacket and a scarf in a supposed tropical location? All of the above?

 So I didn’t go to Brazil. Alas. I stayed in NYC and went to the Macy’s Flower Show! Every year, Macy’s puts on a grandiose show in the spring. It’s completely free and with out the insane line you find at their holiday Santa Land. This year the theme was “Brazil.” It was an absolutely beautiful day and it felt strange to go into a tent to see botanicals. The feeling is a bit of a flower zoo, you feel a little bad that the blossoms and greenery has been cooped up under a roof. I would recommend going on a rainy day.

The scene of Macy’s Flower Show 2012

The flowers were lovely to look at, the colors striking. The whole thing is essentially a photo-op, I was constantly dodging cameras. The stranger part were roped off areas, like in the above “courtyard” shot. These seemed like museum pieces, relics of the past. “Exhibit A: A 1990 Brazilian courtyard for simple rest and relaxation. This is from a time before Kindles: those visiting this courtyard would have been reading paper books or magazines. No cellphone rings punctured the warm Brazilian air and no one was texting. The only photos captured would be on film. Modern viewers can only imagine/dream of such a time, capturing the past in exhibits such as this. FOR VIEW ONLY, NO RELAXING ALLOWED.” Children’s imaginations are better than ours. They also have less clear social mores. Combine that with parents who are paying more attention to the flowers than their kid:

This little girl got to enter the Brazilian vacation untouchable behind velvet ropes. Lucky tyke. I was jealous. Maybe someday I’ll get the spring break of cliché, but New York is so glorious in the spring, I’m not sure why I’d ever want to leave.

[Part 2 of Talk is Cheap, Listening is Free coming later this week!]

Talk is Cheap, Listening is Free

Yes! And..” This is the first rule of improvisation. You accept your scene partner’s offer (for example: We’re bloggers updating our blog!) and build on it (Yes! And if we don’t post by the end of the day, New York City will collapse!) It’s teamwork, crucial to trusting your partner, and as long as you Yes! And.. your scene won’t suck.

Sounds easy enough. The problem is, especially as New Yorkers, we have the opposite utterly engrained in us: “No! Fuck off!” If we Yes! Anded the world, we would be conned, abused, and likely sold into human trafficking. Yes, but the concept of being open to saying yes isn’t a bad one, as long as you combine it with a healthy dose of street smarts. At the least you’ll end up with a better attitude. You may even end up with the prospect of a date and something remarkable to write about in your blog. Of course I speak from experience.

I was walking home through Central Park when I saw something out of the ordinary from all those other sitting in the park in the beautiful spring weather.

He was a friendly looking guy seated by a cardboard sign with the words “Free Listening” drawn on it. I couldn’t help but smile. We exchanged “Hellos” as I walked by him. I got about 10 yards before I stopped dead in my tracks. “You can’t just walk by a sign like that!” I thought to myself. “Yes! And.. I will turn around, talk to a stranger, and see what he’s about.”

“Well you caught my curiosity. I didn’t get too far. This is my double-take.” I said to the guy with the sign.

“Glad I caught your attention,” he smiled, “Thanks for stopping.” He was younger than me, likely still in school (yes, I learned, and he’s studying nutrition not psychology.)  Growing up in San Francisco and going to a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts, I have seen a lot of people with signs. Many of these sign holders are attention seeking: annoying at best, dangerous at worst, even if their sign is for a good cause. The sign holder seated in front of me was quite the opposite: calm, unthreatening, his demeanor inviting.

“So what’s this about?” I asked, an entirely unoriginal question, one he was asked no less than four times in the moments I stood talking to him. He just decided one day to sit in Central Park and offer his ear to anyone who wanted to take it. A lot of people just want someone who will listen, he’s a good listener, he made a sign, and there you go.  That’s the short of it. “Do you just listen, or do talk too?” I asked. The Listener laughed, “Sure, I talk.”

Perhaps surprising for an actress, though certainly not for a blogger, I much prefer writing down my stories to speaking them aloud. I was much more interested in hearing his story than telling him mine-I already know my stories. He tried several times to get me to a story, I mostly resisted and instead asked questions. He was quite obliging with answers.

He started sitting in the park with the sign summer 2011, really just for fun. The day I met him was the first time he’s sat in 2012. You will find him on weekends when the weather is nice. He doesn’t have a schedule, but he usually tweets his location (@thefreelistener). He generally sits by the south end of the park, he listens to a lot of runners and tourists. He’d never charge for listening. There is no “catch”. He doesn’t do it to pick up girls, to the dismay of some ladies. He’s never turned anyone down. Yes, he’s had some ranters and ravers. He listened to a guy who sat for an hour telling a string of one-liner jokes that got uncomfortably racist. Yes, he is sort of similar to the “Free Hugs” people, but he never invades personal space.

“Do you have a blog?” I asked. Of course I was thinking about blogging
“Not yet. Everyone tells me I should. I’ve been thinking about starting one.”
“You should. I’d read it. You’d have great stuff to write about. Though, I guess you couldn’t exactly blog about what people tell you. Is there listening confidentiality?”
“Haha, yes there is! That should be the fine print on my sign. Do you have a blog?”
Yes I do,” I said, “And I’m going to write about you in it, if that’s all right.”
“Go for it. What’s your blog about?”
He had me. You want to get me to talk? Just ask me about my blog. So I told him all about New York Cliché. He wrote down the URL and promised to check it out. I promised to follow him on Twitter.

We kept out promises.

Followed later by:

Newyorkcliche.com, inspiring bloggers (maybe just one) since April 8th.

I haven’t even reached the best part of this story. Stay tuned.

Next Post: 

Easter Flowers All Around NYC

Easter: a holiday I don’t really know what to do with. I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t have kids. Since my first Easter away from home, it’s been a day where I feel like I should do something, but I don’t really know what.

The Easters of my youth were classic: dying eggs, a basket from the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, church, a fancy spring dress, Easter dinner with roast beef. In college, most Easters were spent rehearsing for plays, which always opened around beginning-mid April. The most I celebrated was by giving up something for Lent. Not for religious reasons, but to see if I could handle the challenge. I successful refrained from meat, corn syrup, eating outside the meal plan, each for a string of 40 days. Last year I went to a Passover Seder. This year, I’ve decided to celebrate spring. That’s something I can fully get behind. It’s a glorious day and there are flowers everywhere.

Tulips at Columbus Circle
Cherry blossoms on Fifth Avenue
Tulips and street art on Park Avenue
Tulips in Washington Square Park
Tulips and my shadow: am I making a peace sign or a bunny shadow puppet? Your call!

Can you tell tulips are my favorite (gentlemen callers, take note)? Now I’m off to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Happy Easter! How do you celebrate?

A 20-Something in a Toy Store

FAO Schwarz. A place where dreams come true. Second only to Disneyland. Immortalized by Tom Hanks in the movie “Big”. A New York cliché.

FAO Schwarz 5th Avenue

This childhood mecca is directly across the street from the building where I am temping all week. Ah temping, almost as cliché as waitressing. Every day I have a mandated hour-long lunch break that I don’t quite know what to do with; it never takes me an hour to eat lunch. The gorgeous weather of last week has cooled to typical early spring weather: chilly, windy, April showers. Not wanting to stay in the office but seeking refuge from the outdoors, I found myself wandering around the legendary toy store.

FAO Schwarz NYC

I thought perhaps “Visit FAO Schwarz” would be number four on my list of “Ways to Feel Like a Kid Again“. Turns out, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. It might, in fact, be number one on the list of “Ways to Feel Ancient at Age 25”. I wandered the aisles all but muttering to myself these choice clichés: Back in my day… Little hooligans! Kids these days! You want to cry? I’ll give you something to cry about!

I have yet to be bit by the baby bug (as I’ve mentioned before.) However, I am no longer adamantly anti-kids. Two of my favorite blogs, Fraught and NYC Taught Me (recent discovery, her photography is fantastic) actually make motherhood look pretty fun. I sometimes wonder how I’ll know I really want kids. This week I figured it out. When I go to FAO Schwarz and am not over come with the urge to smack every child in the store, that’s when I’ll be ready. Presently, that day seems miles away. I would never actually hit a child, but simply overhearing all the whining around me drove my patience. FAO Schwarz: my new birth-control.

But in the end, it’s still a toy store. It’s fun, even at my advanced age. I should’ve just worn earplugs (help me, I’m turning into my mother). FAO Schwarz is celebrating its 150 anniversary this year. It hasn’t been around that long for nothing. In celebration of the milestone, they have exhibits through-out the store displaying old toys from their history. You can buy toys and learn some history at the same time!

FAO Schwarz barbie
Who knew Barbie’s middle name was Millicent! Think she’s embarrassed?
FAO Schwarz mr. potato head
Mr. Potato Head has certainly evolved from his original prototype. They certainly took “Potato” literally for a while.
FAO Schwarz legos
LEGOs have come a long way too. They were never my favorite as a kid, but put me in front of LEGOs now and I am sure I would play with them.
FAO Schwarz teddy bear
Teddy’s haven’t changed much in 100 years. Bear cute-ness appears timeless.

Did you learn something? Were you quiet and well-behaved? No crying/whining? I’m so proud of you! Since you were so good, I’ll let you pick a toy!

FAO Schwarz trains

Would you like a train set? Classic and timeless. Oh, you think it’s old-fashioned and boring? You wish it was Thomas the Tank Engine? Remember, no whining or we’re leaving. Let’s look for something else.

FAO Schwarz patrick the pup

Oh look! How about  a puppy that’s almost the size of my apartment? You’re afraid it would crush you and you’d suffocate to death under it? Me too. Moving on…

FAO etch-a-sketch

Who doesn’t want a $1,500 jewel encrusted Etch-A-Sketch? Perfect! What? It’s the most frivolous thing you’ve ever seen? You’d rather have an iPad? My, my, aren’t we practical.

FAO Schwarz life size goat

Ooo, it’s a life-sized goat! Did you know I directed a play in college called “The Goat or Who is Sylvia”? Did you know one of the props I needed was life-like goat carcass and I actually considered buying the very goat you see here? Too bad $349 was approximately the budget for the entire show. What’s that? Its utters kind of freak you out? Tough customer!

FAO Schwarz muppets

Wow! Look over here! You can design your own muppet! Now that’s cool. You get to pick its color, eyes, hairstyle, outfit, everything! How neat, your very own, original muppet! What do you do with it? Well…uhh…you could do some sort of street performance with it. No? But you’re interested in other job options? Let’s see…

FAO Schwarz NYC

Here we go! You could be the doorman, constantly posing for photos!  I thought the men who wear those hats aren’t suppose to smile…

FAO Schwarz spider man

Or you could be Spiderman! How cool is he? No one can tell if he’s smiling behind the mask! Oh, you’re not a man? Me neither…hmm…we seem to like our gender roles here, but maybe we can find something…

FAO Schwarz baby dolls

Yes! You can work in the baby doll nursery! Wow, I bet this woman hates kids at the end of the day. Also, I bet one jewel-encrusted Etch-A-Sketch she’s a strugging actor, like me!

madison avenue

Uh oh. My lunch break is almost over! Awww, I have to go back to my temp job. Look, you can see the office out the window, as well as the reflection of the LEGO section!

FAO Schwarz piano

Before we go, you have to take a spin on the Big Piano. It completes the FAO experience. Did you have fun?

When was the last time you were in a toy store? Ever been to FAO Schwarz? If you’re a parent, how do you handle toy stores?

A Date with My Elementary School Nemesis: Running Uphill

I know I will never be a kid again, I’m no Benjamin Button, but I have discovered a few ways to feel like a kid again.

  1. See the Wednesday matinée of any Broadway show (excluding Book of Mormon). Sit in the orchestra. Notice that 90% of the audience is well past retirement age. No one can feel old in this audience. If you are 20-something, you feel like a child.
  2. Order something from an ice cream truck. Something with rainbow sprinkles, strawberry flavored, in a novelty shape, or all of the above. Walk down the street eating it. Focus on how good it tastes, not the looks strangers are giving you or the fact you will probably get some on your shirt.
  3. Go on a date with your Elementary School Nemesis.
elementaryschool
This is an actual picture of my second grade class! I believe it is the only picture that exists (on the internet anyway) of me and my Elementary School Nemesis. Taken almost two decades prior to our date.

We had a lot of ground to cover, both literally and metaphorically. It was the first day of my visit to San Francisco, his last. Both of us hungry to take in our home town, the city where we had both been born and raised. But first we were just hungry. So we headed down the hill to North Beach, San Francisco’s “Little Italy”.

North Beach
North Beach, San Francisco

As with any trip in a city of your past, our walk was full of reminiscences and memories. “Hey, that’s the tree where I saw my beloved pet parakeet for the last time”, and “See? That park is where I broke my arm 3 times” (he spent most of third grade with his arm in a cast. I never signed it.) More fun however, were the things we remembered from our mutual past in elementary school.

“I remember a poem you wrote about bees.” I said.
He laughed, “How the hell do you remember that? I don’t remember that at all.”
“I remember because the teacher read it out loud to the class instead of my poem. I was way jealous.”
He laughed again, even harder, “Of course you remember that.” He grinned and took my hand.
I smiled, “I never expected that story would make you want hold my hand.”

“Do you remember that Russian kid, Victor? In second grade?”
“Yeah, I think so, why?” I replied.
“That kid could barely speak any English but man, he was good at math.”
“That’s a random thing to remember.”
“Well, I copied off all his tests.”
“You didn’t!”
“Yeah I did!”
“Aw man, I wish I’d known that.”
“Why?”
“Because I so would have told on you.” I said and we both burst out laughing. It was too true. He squeezed my hand. There we were, holding hands: the little poet who cheated on tests and the little tattle-tale who wanted everything she did to be the best in the class.

“When I mentioned to my mother I was seeing you, she said, ‘Why? So you can push her in a mud puddle?'”
“You better not!” I cried, surveying the bone-dry ground for possible traps.
“I think you’re safe…for now,” he said. It was funny, we still pushed each other’s buttons (to use the cliché) like we had all through elementary school. The big difference was now there was chemistry, the pushing was blatantly flirtatious.

We ate lunch at a little café with drawings all over the walls. After a thoroughly satisfying pasta, we wandered around North Beach. Passing Washington Square Park (yes, there are parks with this name in both San Francisco and New York), Nemesis sighed, “Man, I wish I had my frisbee!”
“How SoCal of you,” I teased, “You wanna kick off your shoes? Toss a frisbee around the grass? Smoke some grass?” I’ve lived in NYC long enough to make fun of Californians, even though I’ll always be a proud native of the Golden State. “I’m so glad you don’t have your frisbee. I beyond suck at frisbee.” See? I still talk like a Californian. But I play frisbee like a New Yorker.

Washington Sq
Washington Square Park at sunset

The way back to his car was, of course, several blocks up hill. We were tired by the last block, the steepest so far. “Oh these hills!” I said, “Gotta love them.”
“I’m going to kick this hill ass,” Nemesis announced and then began running up the incline. I giggled like a kid and chased after him.
I didn’t have a hope of catching him, “This isn’t fair! You had a head start! I haven’t been through basic training! Your legs are half a foot longer than mine!” I wheezed. He stopped and waited for me, grinning. No sooner did I reach him then I saw something, and started running again.

Near the top of the hill there was a Christmas tree placed by the curb, waiting for trash collection (this dates my story and forces me to reveal this all happened months ago, in January.) On top of the tree was a Christmas wreath. When I saw that wreath I couldn’t resist. It was the perfect shape. I ran to grab it. Holding it triumphantly in my hands I yelled to Nemesis, “Look, it’s your frisbee! Here, catch!” I said, and chucked it towards the ground by his feet. He covered his face, afraid I would hit him. “What! You think I would throw it at your head? Who do you think I am?!”
“I don’t know! You said you were bad at frisbee!”
Then we were both laughing and a moment later we were kissing. Nemesis and Cliché standing by a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

[Want more on Nemesis? See my previous posts: A Date with My Elementary School Nemesis: “Background” and “He’s in the Navy“]

The Sky is Gray So Color My Face. Holi Hai!

I celebrate the arrival of spring with picnics, walks in the park, and blasting “Good Day Sunshine” as I pack away heavy sweaters to make room for sundresses in my closet. This is pretty standard for women in my age bracket in New York City. We celebrate spring with an iced coffee in hand, displaying freshly manicured toes, as we walk our winter coats to the dry cleaner.

All over the world people are celebrating the turn of the season. Some by hiding colorful eggs, others by eating bitter herbs, others by throwing colorful powder in each other’s faces.

The thought of having anything thrown at your face may make you cringe, but as I learned yesterday, it’s much more fun than it initially sounds.

NYC Bhangra’s great, super friendly event staff

Yesterday I found myself at NYC Bhangra’s Holi Hai festival. This Hindu celebration of spring has a religious aspect to it, but like an Easter egg hunt, that was not the focus of this festival. As I learned from Wikipedia (excuse my source) traditional Holi allowed for a loosening of rigid social structures. A joyous day where all people (men, women, rich, poor) enjoy the presence of each other and “no one expects polite behavior” (yes, I’m quoting Wikipedia). A main tradition of the festival involves colored powders, representing the return of color to the natural world. These are thrown in the air and smeared on people’s faces for good luck. The result is a colorful, messy, mad scene.

It’s a tradition that has been carried on for centuries, as you can see in this 1788 painting (image courtesy Wikipedia).

At first I tried to resist the colors. I was working a promotion. I was wearing my roommate’s new blazer. I hadn’t planned on getting messy. That didn’t last long. One of the guys walking around with a tray of colors came up to me and said “Happy Holi!”, dipped his hand in color, and brought it to my face. I let him.

These guys let me take their picture, but I paid a price: smears of green and pink on my forehead. Worth it.

Normally a stranger coming up to me and smearing sh*t on my face would send me into a fit of rage. But with the positive energy of the festival, the feeling of excitement, the togetherness with strangers who would normally avoid eye contact, how could I not participate? No one gets more excited about the return of color than me. Besides, as the cliché goes, “When in Rome…”

I was not alone in this experience, by 4PM it was a rare face that was not coated in color.

 And it wasn’t just young people either. There was good diversity, both of age and ethnicity.

Fabulous ladies and plenty of families.

There was lots of music, dancing, and food.

These tiny dancers were adorable and did a very good job with their performance. I bet that’s where these lovely ladies got their start!

An incredibly fun festival. The perfect day to inject with color: it overcast and cloudy, the first gray day New York had seen all week. I wish every cloudy day we could throw color at things!

I left the festival with a big smile on my face. It only grew bigger as I walked home and noticed how many people were staring at me. I had color smeared all over my face! Some of them were jealous, some of them thought I was crazy. If you saw me, or any one else with a colorful face yesterday, now you know why!

Happy Holi!

I love learning how other people celebrate spring! What about you? How do you celebrate the season?