“jeez, get your mind out of the gutter,” i said. “i’m not a kardashian sister!”
i was explaining to maximillian my photography adventure with facebook friends carolyn quinn and azusa watanabe. it’s not oral it’s aural–a form of photography that is meant to capture the inner essence of a person.
“it’s meant to capture the subtle color radiances that surround a person,” i said. “also called the life field.”
“we went to a place that did aural photography right after our lunch at laconda verde.”
“how was the restaurant?”
“well, the food was middling but expensive and the atmosphere was chaotic, but otherwise. . . “
laconda verde is a restaurant in manhattan owned by robert de niro. my facebook friend michele persiak has agoraphobia but so wanted to go to this restaurant that she managed to get out of her house, take the staten island ferry and come to the restaurant with us. at his morning staff meeting, mr. de niro no doubt was determined that his waiters and waitresses deliver the highest standards of new york service. mr. de niro starred in the 1976 movie taxi driver as an angry, depressed, homocidal young new york man. but a taxi driver, not a waiter.
after lunch, michele went home and i hope she is aware that if you can have lunch at laconda verde, you can make it anywhere! but i wanted to spend a little more time with carolyn and azusa. i was particularly intrigued by azusa. we became friends in february of last february. a japanese social media site mixi.jp did a story about my facebook new year’s resolution. when azusa was traveling in the united states this summer she made a point of contacting me and figuring out when we would be in the same city. i really appreciate that! azusa is a teacher of conversation english in tokyo.
the new york lunch bunch–carolyn, azusa, me, and michele. none of us would be friends without the help of facebook. so thank you mark zuckerberg!
carolyn suggested that we go to china town and get our aural photographs taken. she has done so before and it turns out she is what is termed an “indigo girl”. . . which means that she has a great degree of creativity and spirituality. we went to a small little shop that sold crystals, jewelry, herbal supplements. each of us sat for our picture. the photographer was a little strict.
as it turns out carolyn again was revealed to be an indigo girl! which meant that her picture was a fuzzy melange of purple-ish tones.
carolyn is hard to see with all that life field around her!
azusa and i turned out to be sort of yellow and red, meaning we had a great deal of creativity and verve. oddly, all three of us were advised by the photographer that our chakra showed that we needed some sleep. well, azusa was jetlagged, carolyn has bronchitis and me? i hadn’t slept the night before because i was starting to worry about how i was getting home. and i had a right to be worried!
mapquest said it was going to take me four hours and forty seven minutes to get to f2fb friend #317 if i walked and i just couldn’t believe that a city could be that big. i also couldn’t believe that the funny, witty, supportive, beautiful facebook friend michele piersiak was housebound. i figured she’d meet me at the ferry station in staten island. or that she’d catch me at one of the places downtown.
i was wrong. well, i wasn’t wrong about her being funny, witty, supportive, and beautiful. that was definitely the woman who answered the door of the house near forest avenue. but she is (was) housebound. for about a year and a half her world consists of reading, the treadmill, dvd’s, the computer that sits next to the couch in the living room, caring for her pets and keeping a house for her and her boyfriend.
stewie is a caped dragon lizard. she may be very lovely to other caped dragons, but i didn’t find her all that attractive. in fact, i got sort of nervous when michele took her out of the cage. after all, who’s to say that caped dragon lizards want a little fifty one year old human flesh after a regular diet of crickets?
michele can sometimes leave the house for brief periods with her “safe” people–her boyfriend, her parents, her sister. but by herself, she doesn’t even try to check the mail on the curb. it’s been this way for a few years but was exacerbated when she lost her job. i’ve noticed a lot of my agoraphobe friends have a major shift inward when there’s a job loss. and with eight percent official unemployment, i think there’s a hidden group of people that is affected.
michele wakes up every day mad at herself and sad that she is in this condition. the couch is starting to feel old. even playing xbox is feeling pretty old. for me, since i’ve never done it, i thought it was a kick!
this is not wasted time. well, it’s wasting time for me to be bowling on xbox (and nobody should have to witness me trying to play golf!). but it isn’t a wasted year for michele to have been housebound for a year and some months. every day has increased her understanding and sympathy for those who are afflicted with panic attacks, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder, ms, etc. she has a major goal of someday being someone who helps those people. i think she definitely has something to offer the world in that respect. she already has helped–for instance, she set up a group of ten people from around the country who set a goal of walking around the block. at a prearranged time, everybody got on a conference call with their cell phones and walked around their respective blocks together! isn’t that an amazing use of technology and an amazing creative idea?
she also has a minor goal. and it’s something tantalizingly out of reach and will require her to do some work. some planning. some practicing. and it will need YOU! but i’ll get there.
i was insanely honored that michele let me be a “safe” person for the day. we walked to her boyfriend’s place of employment (man, he was a little freaked out by that!) and then we pushed the boundaries a little further. we saw a house that had a three foot wide, five foot tall shrine out front. i like it when people of all faiths feel good about presenting their beliefs to the world!
so the minor goal, an interim goal if you will, is that michele would like to dine at the robert de niro restaurant laconda verde at 377 greenwich street in new york. it would require driving to the staten island ferry, taking the ferry into the city, a cab or bus ride, then being in the restaurant and actually staying long enough to eat and then to return home. to michele it seems out of reach. but the day after i left staten island, she went on several walks with her parents and her sister, pushing herself a little more than usual, to get a few blocks outside of the “safe” zone. she has made a deal with me that if i return to new york she will go with me to the restaurant.
mr. de niro, i’m betting the prices at your restaurant are a bit dear. but i’m sure if you’re half as good at cooking as you are at acting, the food’s great! michele probably would also like just to shake your hand. to meet you and say “thank you for motivating me to change myself!”
so this is where YOU come in. if you know mr. de niro or if you know someone in the restaurant industry, if you know someone in new york, i think a gift certificate to laconda or a menu from the place, a message from de niro — even just an autographed picture — would do the world at motivating michele. and once she achieves the minor goal, she will know that the major one is, okay, just a little harder but perfectly doable. and that’s the one that helps everybody!
so i’m happy to hear from YOU about whatever you come up with for ideas or inspiration or maybe mr. de niro, if you’re reading this blog???