The bike share system in New York City, Citibike is rolling out a new program called Bike Angels where you can get rewards like free rides, extra time on your membership and $$ for taking bikes from stations that are overfilled and returning them to stations that are low.
I run 2-3 times a week and randomly take whatever street I feel like most days. Today I tried something new and ran to a station that was overfilled on bikes, rode to a station that needed bikes, and then did it again. Having a goal made the run more fun and I got 6 Bike Angel points. For every 20 points I’ll get a week of free membership. so if I run every other day and get 6 points each time I’ll get 90 points per month! Even if I miss a few days a I’d be able to extend my membership by a month, every month!
We had our work and one other. We didn’t have the money to go to concerts or movies or to buy new records, but we played the ones we had over and over. We listened to my Madame Butterfly as sung by Eleanor Steber. A Love Supreme. Between the Buttons. Joan Baez and Blonde on Blonde. Robert introduced me to his favorites— Vanilla Fudge, Tim Buckley, Tim Hardin— and his History of Motown provided the backdrop for our nights of communal joy.
This is one of the scenes that really stuck with me from her memoir about her and Robert Mapplethorpe’s time in New York City, their relationship and determination to become artists. This passage was in the Amazon sample and one of the reasons I had to buy the book.
It struck me personally because I have been so inspired and creatively energized by New York. But my time has been different than hers. I’ve had a steady income and the freedom to go out and see as much New York as I can soak in. In doing that I keep getting inspired, my mind is changing, I have more to say but when to say it? I’m always going! The scene speaks to me for so many reasons but the most direct is that it is an inspiration and example of what you need to do if you want to get what is in your mind out.
The entire book is a celebration of the desire and dedication it takes to even attempt to be an artist. You see the fun of it, the amazing people she met, the experiences, successes and failures. When I walk around the streets here I can imagine those scenes playing out today. But that scene of her and Robert working all night to the same few records over and over, that is the work that it actually takes.
I’ve been a bit of a nomad lately. I’m in my third sublet in as many months. It’s a good one and I’ll be here for another 2 months. The best thing about it is the couple who lives here has a component stereo with a record and tape player. Patti and Katie’s song has me inspired. I could listen to the records, but I think I’ll take Patti’s example and do it my way. I’ll just let YouTube keep playing songs while I and write.
During the summer in New York the wind really gets me. About once a month, I find myself riding my bike back home at night and just full on laughing and tonight is one of those nights.
You know those days where kismet happens? You overhear some weird conversation that makes you giggle. You meet some randos that take you into their group for the night. Or just see something that makes you say WOW or WTF or even WOW-WTF! Well when I have one of those nights, and I have them often in New York and then I ride home I just LAUGH. The streets are flat, it’s easy to fly, and in the people and things I zip by I see all the unique, all the weird, all the possibility in each of those moments. Each one has the same potential of some amazing bit of nature or humanity or love like the one I just stumbled on. I see all those scenes in full color like a wall of HDTVs at Best Buy. But I’m not at Best Buy. The warm wind is on my face, things just seem like they couldn’t be any better and I just. fucking. laaaaaaaugh!
2000 pigeons with LED lights? whoa. hahahaha
Is that Erlich Bockman from Silicon Valley?’ It is. hahahaha!
And in flying down the street laughing out of joy literally at the top of my lungs because I’m alone and moving and I can, I become a mad banshee and just another weird thing that all the people I pass saw in New York City.
There is a lot there to think about but the part that really interested me is,
“How did this happen? It stems in part from the belief that this generation has little to offer in terms of culture, that everything has already been done”
I don’t disagree that the feeling is there because it is an old axiom we all accept. “Do I have new stories to tell? New photos to create or art to make? Probably not, ho hum.”
But culture is not just the art or style we create. It is also how we communicate, what we fill our day with, and the community we create. In the last few decades technology has changed what we can imagine and how we communicate so fast we can barely keep up with it. Facebook, Twitter, Jeggings, Kickstarter, Pinterest, smartphones, iBeg (a game about being homeless to help raise awareness), Creative Commons, dubstep. All of these come with questions of how to make them part of our life. How do we best use Facebook to communicate with our loved ones? What privacy protections will we accept from social networks and our government? What is the etiquette for checking your text messages at the dinner with family or on a date? We don’t have a set of cultural norms we all agree on for using these new tools yet, but we are all working to figure out what they will be. We talk to friends about frustrations with Facebook. Ignore calls when we prefer texts. (Except from grandma who doesn’t get it.)
The everyday how-to of defining this may not be all that exciting, but in figuring out how it fits in our lives we’re asking questions, interpreting it, and building on top of it we are creating lots that is new. We aren’t making new colors. But we are using colors in ways that no one has ever seen before.
This generation has lots of new to bring to the world and a huge opportunity to shape culture. Regardless of if we’re using irony I think it’s stepping up to the plate and I only hope we realize it. The truth of that old axiom seems incongruous with the time we’re living in because it is.