Though I don’t remember the exact words Jane said, here are three related things to the lunch the xoJane staff went to the other day.
1) At lunch the other day Jane and Mandy were talking about how fast one should get back to another who is interested in them. Jane mentioned the idea of heterosexual guy time, or the fact that guys feel or wait three times as long as women do to respond. While I find this particular topic fascinating—it makes me think of Swingers and the whole “six days” line—it also waves me over to a larger conversation, and that is how we are and are not beholden to numbers, whether we believe them to induce fortune or fall into them as comfort, zoned.
Growing up in the Midwest, I recall how often the joke came into play that spoke of how drivers don’t speak of miles but minutes, as in “60 miles is about 48 minutes,” and that they’d answer stranger’s queries in minutes and not miles. I still remain active in this frame of mind while driving or visiting my home town, but what is rather wild is that New Yorkers will go a great distance across boroughs to go to a bar or event, at least in relation to other cities, and this changes time. Recently, while on a call with my mother, I was explaining to her how I was headed to a music venue that would take me roughly the same time to get to as it would for her to visit my brother in her car, which is fifty miles away from where she lives. When I first moved to NYC I tried to deal with things in time frames but I’ve since switched to number of stops or number of streets away. This way I know that I can count the stops if I shut my eyes on a train, or that at least I’m thinking of something more tangible—the number of stops aren’t going to change and in thinking about the stops you are allowing yourself to be okay with the disruptions that would alter the time it takes to get there, but not the stops; and in walking, say from the East to the West Village, you know how many streets you must pass.
Of course, all of this can be arbitrary if you wish it to be, but I guarantee that there becomes a routine for each of us at times, or that we hold onto at least one number and utilize its spirit in subscribing to an action. I don’t like going back the way I came to something so I’ll often walk all the way to a different train. In terms of numbers, I set all of my alarms, the microwave, and other variations and itineraries to the same number each time, or its reversal. What is your relationship with numbers, and not if you deal with them as a job, but in terms of how they guide or misguide your everyday ventures? Also, what are your thoughts on “heterosexual guy time?”
2) At the same lunch as above, which was to celebrate Jane’s birthday and which we celebrated at a raw food restaurant, a few of us mentioned how immediately invigorated we felt after eating the food. For me—someone who doesn’t eat wheat or dairy—I found the menu incredibly accommodating, even though it was replete with items I don’t normally get to consume. When dinner came around that night I still wasn’t hungry and I was ready to either work out or dance or allow what was becoming a natural glow to surface and alter the moods of whomever. I was energized, feeling healthy. So I wondered, why can’t I always be on this sort of eating regimen?
I think that we often eat what’s within reach or what we know to be of the type of hearty sustenance often associated with warmth, and season. I am incredibly content with rice, chicken, and a vegetable, mostly because I can handle these things without a stomach ache and because they were my go-to for so many years, as it doesn’t cost a lot to make a lot out of these three things. Because of this I think I built up a sort of digestive expectation where I now eat chicken almost every day, and not because I necessarily love it but because I know how it works with my body, and it’s easy to find. Not to mention it feels in season, capable of momentary warmth.
I’m at once in awe of the lengths many people march in order to absorb only what they deem (can it all really be known?) healthy. I’m in awe less because of the dedication and what can often be called sacrifice and more because it’s a separate commitment to adhere to—it’s an additional and focused lifestyle characteristic that may not be within grasp for some unless they are at a certain moment in their lives. I think I might be nearing that moment, where I will take the stride to eat much more, if not only, raw foods, because it’s an incredible feeling. How far have you gone to maintain constancy with your eating life that makes you feel good? I remember being a vegetarian the entire time I lived in Ireland and that wasn’t easy, but I went to many lengths to make it happen. For what … I’m not sure, but I went them anyway.
3) After lunch (over-mentioned above) some of us were randomly photographed by Bill Cunningham, who’d emerged from the park with a big smile and the agile grace he is widely known for popping in and out of--this happened so fast that we all sort of scooted through it. Madeline and Emily were poised and knew what was happening but I was too busy telling Mandy that I’d just seen a famous poet I admire sitting on a bench. It was one capture after another, snap-snap. After it happened it reminded me of how significant just looking around, slowing down, and observing can be, especially in clearing our minds and reminding us of what is good about where we are, what is real. While at a dinner the night after I was taken aback by how much a friend of mine was stopping all the time to look at certain buildings on our walk to the restaurant—she’d pause, gesture inward and outwardly, and breathe a tone or two in. And she’s lived here for over forty years, so this wasn’t a touristy gaze. She wasn’t ignoring our conversations either, just totally engrossed in everything that encircled us. Of course, I have to tie this all back to Cunningham and the poet, to the idea of capturing images, to marking down what you notice or … just noticing. I also have to tie this into how at lunch Mandy spoke about Jane’s powerful eyes (she used better adjectives here, of course) and how Jane, being the great editor that she is, tends to hear everything while it happens—all of us bantering between bites, speaking about the new and old—and how this too is a form of noticing, equally as significant as looking up at the buildings we rapidly pass. So, I don’t have a question here for you, perhaps only a nudge, or wish: notice a few things this week, silently note them, and remind yourself that you’re surrounded by them. If compelled, share them with us here.