Sunday, June 3, 2007

Night One

June 2, 2007
I am at DFW awaiting flight 1218 on American to Birmingham, Alabama for Project M. On the first leg of the trip, from SFO to here, I spilled coffee in my lap. I went to the bathroom to clean up and discovered I’d started my period. It’s fine. My face lotion with Vitamin C and SPF 15 and my African shampoo got confiscated because they were too big (must be 3 oz.; the lotion was 4, the shampoo was 5).
10:35 pm I am in the bottom bed of my bunk at an as yet unknown address. I’m in Greensboro, Alabama, at a house being refinished next to HERO (run by Pam Dorr). No rooms—just two floors. We built the IKEA bunk beds tonight. It’s 10:40 SF time, so I’m whipped. Especially because I woke up at 4:30. Sagrika from Dubai; Dana from Michigan (now SF); Ben from Georgetown, TX; Nate from DC (now NY); Tim from SF (after RISD); Ellen from Boston (now NY); and Laura from New Jersey at MICA. Of course, John is here, and Adam from Volume. Ages range from 21 (Sagrika) to 30 (me). We’ve got a 29 year old in there (Nate) so I’m ok.
Five of us drove together from the airport. Chatty for an hour, then silent for a solid 7 to ten minutes. Three of us sat erect in the backseat peering out the windows with our hands pulling the seats in from of us. Where the fuck are we.
Twenty minutes later—Main Street. We went to CVS and the supermarket. We ate at a Mexican place around the corner. We came home. This is the Deep-ass South, for sure. Two kids, then four were hanging around the house. They were in and out. I asked the younger one what his name was. He wouldn’t look at me or say anything. I finally understood it was Shawn. His older brother DeMarcus told me. Their sister, Lamisha came over later, and their friend from down the street, PeeWee. I talked to them about school—it just let out on Wednesday. Just in time for them to focus their full attention on us. I asked Lamisha what her favorite subject was. Science, she said, without hesitation. I asked her what she liked about it. She shrugged. I asked her what she learned about—animals, the body, disease, weather, the stars—she shrugged again. A few minutes later, she told me she wanted to be a doctor.
It always comes back to that—to them—for me. (I know that so certainly now. After studying design and working in that field for a year. It feels so good knowing that.) That [chasm in opportunity? widespread, mutually agreed upon indifference?] is what I’m here for, I mean that’s why I’m alive and thinking and working and doing. To pay attention to that and move it around, bring it above the surface, show it, write it­— to tell it so that it is exposed and work until it ultimately shifts.

1 comment:

Liz said...

I want to hear more! What is the day to day like? What are your cohorts like? Is it hot as hades?!