Search This Blog

Monday, March 26, 2012

Of Dancing Bags and Balls Discarded

by Steven P. Velasquez
March 26, 2012

"Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it.  And my heart is just going to -- cave in."  -- American Beauty

To describe my past day or two, one would have to combine two great American movies into one film, starring me - of course.

Two days ago, an online discussion with someone I hold in very high esteem led to a difference of opinions and a bit of a social media clash.  This happens often when one has the courage to put their ideas, thoughts and convictions into text and publish it for all to read.  The person I offended was someone I valued highly and not someone I wanted to lose as a friend over said differences.

The day-long debate finally ended in a phone call to discuss our differences/ideas verbally where we had the added benefit of tone and inflection; two things often absent in text that can lead to conflicts and larger problems.  We talked, explained, heard each other out and mended fences.  While doing so, she quite unexpectedly paid me one of the largest compliments I've ever been paid by a woman, man or beast!  She said, "Steve, do you know who you remind me of?  Have you ever seen the movie "American Beauty?"  "Yes" I replied "of course I did.  It's one of my favorites."  She continued, "You're the guy in the movie who's paralyzed by the beauty of the world around you; the one who filmed the dancing garbage bag.  You see things that others don't.  I see it in your words, your writing and your photography."

The conversation ended in both of us seeing what each other meant on the opposing sides of the original argument.  My heart was overwhelmed however with the kind compliment she had bestowed upon me.  For someone that I don't spend a lot of time with, or know incredibly well, I felt that was a rather high compliment and my day, my week has been changed as a result.

Today, I left the New Brunswick area of NJ and headed north to my home.  I traveled the Garden State Parkway, more affectionately known as the "Garden State Parking Lot" especially during rush hour.  I was tired and eager to get horizontal before having to report back to work tonight.  As traffic slowly coiled through the Newark area, I came to a stop.  I glanced at the tall buildings, saw the tree tops swaying with the increasing winds and the weathered head stones in the aged cemetery on my right.

There on the side of the road was a discarded ball, a volleyball I determined after a closer glance.  It was dirty, half deflated and rolled slowly to and fro, dancing in the wind, beside the busy roadway.

With the loudest voice I could muster, and not realizing my passenger window was down, I yelled, "W I L S O N !!!!!!"  I startled the ever loving shit out of the commuter beside me, then shrunk down in my seat laughing hysterically to myself.

Sometimes it's not easy being me, seeing the world as I do, often separate and apart from those around me.  And sometimes, it's just a lot of fun.  You laugh alone a lot and with others on occasion.  You feel like a "Cast Away" and a beautiful American all balled into one.