We wake up each morning to enter a workplace, to step into “there.” We work diligently and often exhaust ourselves, at times feeling like we are strapped to a treadmill and can’t get off. All too often, we remain on the treadmill, forgetting to take time to travel, to experience and, most importantly, to learn.
I have come to the conclusion that it is just as important to take time to travel and step into a new “there,” as it is to remain in our typical everyday “there.”
I recently went to New York City to see a profound production of the play “The Glass Menagerie.” The production actually has a movement coach who has created gestures to accompany significant words within the play. These movements reminded me that it is not the objects that we hold onto in life, but our daily movements, that create our memories.
We might have our favorite book, piece of artwork or technological gadget that we recently purchased, but it really is our movements between one moment and the next that shape us as individuals.
Thus I know that taking time to board a train to New York City is essential to finding my true sense of “there.” Once I arrive at Penn Station, I step onto the ascending escalator, move through a crowded pack and proceed up another escalator, so that I can exit onto Eighth Avenue. I quickly grab a cab like a regular New Yorker who puts his hand up with authority.
These are the movements that in fact really matter. It is not the material objects within the diner, café or Italian restaurant that matter as much, but rather it is the movements of each person within a certain space and the memories that are created within that location that become me.
It is the way the waitress stands at the old-fashioned diner, how she talks and how she uses her left hand to write down a person’s order.
It is the facial features of the worker at the café, as she figures out a way to give me a discount since I’ve been visiting that café for 12 years.
Or it is the expression of the manager with the charisma of a leading Broadway actor as he smiles, his dimples showing, his hand waving, his head poking out of an upstairs window on the second floor of a Seventh Avenue restaurant.
These movements, like the movements of the actors who portray Tennessee Williams’ characters, are natural, poetic and, at times, symbolic. However, if I didn’t take time to leave my regular “there,” then I would not be able to own these memories.
We all have our regular “there” and our other “there” that we are fortunate enough to step into throughout our lives. For many, it is Florida, North or South Carolina or perhaps an island such as Hawaii, if one is fortunate enough to save enough money to travel.
However, for me it is New York City, a place where I can see a deeply poetic play performed on a Saturday evening, after having a great dish of pasta and a glass of Montepulciano with a good friend who allows the conversation to linger, who allows the memory to reside within the depths of the mind. Thus taking me “there.”