Safety dance

Yesterday Harry and I went to see Everything Everywhere All of The Time at The Alamo in Brooklyn.

It’s so great in so many ways. Think The Joy Luck Club meets The Matrix.

I cried even.

The message was extra special because I got to watch it with someone who for me embodies the core values of the film.

We took the elevator to the basement and got peanut butter Jojos and soda and placed Google eyes on Everything Bagels and Everything Bagel seasoning as an homage to the movie. We also danced in front of the meat aisle.

Then we walked back to my apartment and made spaghetti sauce with vegan sausage and noodles. Kim joined us. We scarfed down dinner so that Kim and I could get to Jack’s solo acoustic set at Pete’s Candy Store.

I’ve never been inside before. The venue is tiny. It’s basically the size of a trailer. Very narrow. Jack did good.

Caithlin joined us there and we continued on to Barcade after Union Pool wouldn’t let me in without ID. Lucky for me Caithlin had two IDs on her so I borrowed one to get into Barcade.

And then we all caught the B48 out of Williamsburg.

I got off the first bus and checked to see when the bus that would take me closer to home was coming.

Fifteen minutes away. And then a 14 minute bus ride. Or a 19 minute walk. At 2:30 in the morning.

I don’t walk through the world feeling I’m invincible. I have quantifiable observable data to the contrary. I got aggressively hustled/kidnapped at Penn Station when I was 20, leading, in part, to a mental breakdown, leaving Princeton and severe agoraphobia. I dropped out of college. I wouldn’t leave my apartment except on short trips to buy alcohol.

I also have a neurodivergent brain that takes information in differently. It’s constantly registering tiny details that escape the notice of others. Yesterday on our walk, I pointed out several things to Harry, one of them being a broken bottle that we’d passed on a previous walk a month before.

I sense danger differently. I’ve been conditioned by certain people in my life to acquiesce even when engulfed by fear. I have a very difficult time lying. And a very difficult time saying “No.”

I have to live in the world. I have to be able to function.

So what did I do? I started walking. And I prayed. Not for safety. I just picked up the conversation where it left off. Talking to whoever listens. I wasn’t alone. Mostly I asked for some clarity about this panel that I’m going to be on at the end of the month.

On my walk I saw a mouse and I heard a disgruntled cat whine. I passed a man walking in the other direction. I passed a couple holding hands. And when I was two minutes away from my front door, I heard a voice. Gravely. Deep. Older.

“You going home?”

It came from inside a parked car with the driver’s door slightly opened. I couldn’t see the man’s face.

“Yup.” Yup? That’s me not being able to lie in the moment. Not being able to not answer in the moment. That’s me being something that everyone worried about when I first started coming to NYC.

“You have a good night.”

“You too.”

That was it.

It was grace. No angels with harps. No clouds parting and a ray of light shining through. No booming voice from on high. Just an older, presumably intoxicated stranger wishing me a good night.

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