Sunday, July 15, 2007

Take a Tip From Eleanor

Last night my son slept at my parent's house. It was nice to goof off with my husband all night and to sleep as long as we could the next day.

In the morning, we decided to go up to the Whitney to see the show on the Summer of Love/Art of the Psychedelic Era. It was great. Great show. Works challenging traditional perceptions and cultural mores of the time abounded. The messages came wrapped in naked bodies amidst wild flowers, psychedelic music, and installations involving electronic light shows of all kinds. Beautiful colors everywhere.

I liked it. But I wonder how I would have fared during that time, especially the invitation to unearth yourself, to remove the obstacles that prevented you from enlightenment, a weightless voyage into your mind and your soul via hallucinogenic drugs.

It's all I can do to keep my two feet on the ground.

The way my mind works, dropping acid would be redundant - and extremely dangerous. My many drug using friends would become absolutely Mormon when someone tried to insist that I smoke or swallow something. Before I could politely decline - they intervened faster than an AA sponsor - even when they were stoned - which always impressed and amazed me.

There weren't many female artists represented at the exhibit...if any...another sign of those times.

Come to think of it - I would have definitely burned my bra. I would do it now if I had a match.

But this is not the point of my post. I've been thinking about Eleanor Roosevelt lately - and her encouraging words to do those things we think we cannot do - those things that scare us and challenge us to the core.

That said. I took a ride on my husband's Yamaha all the way uptown. I normally avoid riding on the back of Brian's bike. I'm afraid of what might happen. My son has been riding on it for years - daily - to school and back.

So I hopped on and tried to act very nonchalant about it. Brian was really happy because he loves riding. I kept my eyes closed for the first ten blocks up First Avenue then I started looking around and thought "Fuck it - just enjoy yourself. Who cares? If I go, I go."

We went up to 76th and Madison (to the Whitney) then returned on Park Avenue where we rode through the winding Grand Central passage. It was awesome to experience New York this way - especially the architecture. The towering buildings blow your mind along with the rows of beautiful brownstones and boutiques and grungy places too.

It was cool. And it made me feel good. A little more fearless. A little more alive.


Michael said...


I think that had I been alive during the Sixties, drugs would have been my undoing. I recall that even smoking pot as a kid caused a much more intense reaction in me than in my friends. Maybe I'm just wrapped too tight. These days, I don't even drink.

As for motorcycles and the like, I often fantasize about buying a vintage Triumph Bonneville or an old Indian -- but these urges are quickly tempered by sobering thoughts of all the physical things I like to do but wouldn't be able to do if hurt riding the thing. And, of course, I don't know the first thing about driving a motorcycle, but I dream anyway ...

I think I'll wind up sticking to Combat Flight Simulator.

east village idiot said...

Michael -

Trust me. I only let my son on the Yamaha because all they do is drive across 9th street to the west village. There is NO WAY I would let Ben go on major avenues everyday.

Your right about playing it safe and keeping off motorcycles/scooters. You've already found what you love to do!

I have a weird thing about my system. Drugs usually have an opposite effect on me then their purpose. Pot always made my heart race - cold medicine nearly kills me...I could go on and on.

There is no shame in sticking to the Combat Flight Simulator! Fly on!

HAR said...

Reading your post, I was smiling and feeling your words. Flying down first ave on the back of a Yamaha. What a simple way to feel alive. Ride on EVI.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to read about your bike ride and your joy while doing it. You and yours have been in my thoughts this past week, and to "see" you so joyful is terrific. Perhaps what you've been through with your niece made you able to take this chance.

And I did live in (and through) the 60's. Loved life then and love it now--just getting ready to go away with my 5 best girlfriends for our annual trip. We met as freshmen (ummm, freshpeople) st college in the fall of 1963. There will not be drugs (except for our arthritis, etc.), but I can assure you that wine will be consumed.

Thank you for a wonderful story of your day!

Ashley said...

I've never been to New York, but your post makes me want to go even more and experience the culture!

I'll be in New York in the spring!

Kranki said...

Hmmm, maybe being a child-free zone allowed you to cut loose a little. Or maybe it was all the residual drug fumes coming off the art-work. Whatever the reason it sounds like a great day.

jodi said...

I always thought of motorcycles and bugs in teeth, falling off etc. Your post has almost changed my mind :-)Sounds like a great time and a different way to experience NYC.