It was winter on a late afternoon in 2000 in a small community college located in Rockville, Maryland. The weather was brisk, and you could hear and feel the wind nibbling at the tip of your ears. Everywhere you looked, it was dark and gray…not even the late afternoon sunshine could change that. There was ample space in the main parking lot, and there was barely any activity around campus. It felt as though the world had come to an end, and it was only myself and a few others on campus who didn’t get the memo.
In all honesty, I preferred it this way. One of my greatest fantasies is exploring an abandoned town…satisfying my curiosity with everything I found from abandoned family pictures to diaries, to books and personal items. Anyway, there I was…walking along a curved path from the parking lot to the Art building with dead leaves quietly floating around my feet while the naked trees barred me from indulging in any sense of isolation.
As I enjoyed the trance ambiance, I made my way to my figure drawing class thinking about the beautiful figure model assigned to our class. I figured the day was right to have her all to myself. May be I would share her with one more student at the most…may be two or three if everyone was quiet and laid back. Even better, the instructor might leave the classroom for the entire session. And as soon as he was gone, the model would undress, and the classroom would change into a garden overlooking a timid waterfall on a nice summer afternoon. She would float around the garden in her naked awesomeness while I chased her around with a chalk and a drawing board.
Needless to say, I soon arrived at the classroom, and to my disappointment, the classroom was crowded and noisy. I felt as though I had gone back in time and attended a spectacle at a coliseum in ancient Rome. What the hell is this shit? Everyone was chitchatting and moving around unnecessarily while this beautiful creature lay vulnerable and naked in the center. Even though the student’s conversations were tangible and appropriate, it felt as though they were barbarians chanting for the blood of this creature to be spilled only for the emperor (the instructor) to appease the crowd and give the order. It wasn’t what I had hoped for. Sadly, as I started to draw in the middle of all that noise, unnecessary chatter and restlessness, I actually felt alone.
One of the frustrating things I observe in Maryland is that people are afraid to present their real selves out to the public. On one hand, I am eager to absorb people no matter how crazy, silly, goofy, angry or immature they think they are in private. I mean…whats there to judge; I was off the charts too the last time I checked. On the other hand, there is always the fear that people may see you for what you really are and may threat you accordingly or avoid you all together.
I find the latter annoying just to say the least, and it does make Maryland a somewhat difficult place to live compared to California where a day doesn’t go by without you running into someone with a fresh personality.
Thankfully, my lack of enthusiasm for Maryland was somewhat broken during a gig I worked on a few weeks back. It was nice to see people let loose and be themselves for a change. Even though it was all work for me, I felt encouraged to get into the grove with a few dance steps myself. Why waste a good moment? Let it all out. The clients didn’t mind. No stress, all fun. Good gig.