Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Then and Now 39 - Art Expo

Then and Now 39 - Art Expo
Time: Late 2007, single and at my apartment.

One day while wandering through the main city, I called up Tina to see if she wanted to hang out, and she did. In no time, I met up with her at a very busy intersection, a series of wide and tightly twisting roads with cars in every direction.

I had picked up a flier a little before, saying there was going to be an art expo for a few days, and it was somewhere in the area. I asked Tina if she wanted to go and see it, and she smiled and nodded without a word. Thanks to her, we found the place just a few minutes later: it was at a community center just a few blocks away. It was a very hot day that day, and by the time the two of us reached the center, we were both sweating like mad. I asked if she was doing all right, and she assured me she was ok.

We entered the center, and came into a massive hall that was several dozen feet high, with lights all over the ceiling. In front of us was a man directing people into a hallway in the back, where the expo was being held. I asked if I needed to buy two tickets, but he said it was free. Tina and I went in, and it was quite a bit darker inside. Some of the displays needed some soft light, but most of them were in little rooms to the sides and illuminated by a single light; the spaces between the art pieces were completely dark.

Just a few seconds after we entered, I saw a foreign girl talking with some locals in English. I saw the locals nodding at the woman as I began to walk past. When I drew closer, I heard the foreign girl proudly state, without a hint of self-awareness, "Yes. Art can look like anything." I stifled a snort.

Tina and I soon came to our first display on the left: it was a room with clear walls and a single entrance, filled to the waist with soft pillows. She went a little closer to read the instructions, and told me that we were encouraged to jump in and relax on the pillows for a while. I really wanted to, but I was so drenched with sweat that I didn't want to make the experience uncomfortable for whoever went after me, so I refrained. I asked Tina if she wanted to, but she didn't for the same reason.

The next exhibit was a wall completely covered in darkness, and some locals were scribbling on the side with some special pens, some kind of highlighter that could only be seen with a blacklight. Some of the people on the wall drew random circles and lines, some wrote "I love you" or other such things in the local language, and others doodled pictures of people or animals. The local man in charge of the exhibit saw me looking at the wall, said, "Do you want to write something?" in localspeak, and offered me a pen. I said sure, and Tina and I went up.

I drew a cartoon duck giving a thumbs up, and wrote "(This country) is number one!" I stepped back, then offered the pen to Tina, asking her if my writing was ok. She made a couple of adjustments, and a few seconds later, our message was complete. The man laughed and thanked us, then I gave the pen back, and Tina and I moved on.

There wasn't much else of interest that I remember, so I talked with Tina about how her college life was going as we went out of the art show. She was still pretty shy and evasive so I didn't get much out of her, but she seemed to be doing all right. When we got outside, the hot air blasted into us again like a sack of hammers, so I took Tina to a shop to get us some smoothies. We talked for a while about what we had seen, missing out on the pillow jump, and some fun things going on with her and her friends. A short while later, we got up and parted outside so she could go home and study, and I could go home to prepare for work the next day.

That night, I got an email from her. She apologized to me for not talking so much, and said she would try her best to speak up more the next time we hung out. I quickly replied, telling her that it was ok and I had fun hanging out with her, and I would see her soon enough. The next time we met up, she was quite a bit more talkative. But I'll save that story for another Then & Now.

As for today...

I woke up at 6:00.
I played video games.
I went to work by train, and played video games on the way.
I taught students.
I came home by train, and played video games on the way.
I ate lunch.
I hung up wet laundry.
I surfed the net.
I went to work.
I taught students.
I came home.
I ate dinner.
I started a load of laundry.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I watched internet movies with my son.
I hung up wet laundry.
I slept.

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