Saturday, March 8, 2014

Odilia's Metropolitan Diaries by Odilia Rivera-Santos

Odilia Rivera-Santos

I sit in Starbucks, watching myself disappear into myself because being public in public is exposure. I just saw Annie Leibowitz and told her I love her work. She looked startled and said "Oh, yeah. Thank you."
It must be odd to have your life out in the world like a balloon at the beach bouncing from light tap to light tap -- kept aloft by strangers. I enjoyed a morning of being the center of attention at one of those impromptu presentations one ends up doing in this cozy city of ours. I sat down, picked up the New York Times Magazine from last weekend, and allowed the magazine to lie open with big sharply-photographed faces with small print underneath. The clean unmade up faces with one of the men sporting a chipped tooth was stunning because you don't see imperfect teeth in the media anymore.
I would love to speak to Annie Leibowitz and call her Annie and it also doesn't matter. Perhaps, that will be the complete scope of our engagement on this plane -- one giving a compliment and the other receiving and back into the respective work/life spaces without exchanging another word.

My mind meandered over to anxiety. I was watching the behavior of anxiety at Starbucks -- what I perceived as anxiety, not the predictable hiccups of an overly-caffeinated New Yorker with requisite over-work and under-sleep.
Anxiety doesn't make people more efficient, or run faster, or more creative, or live longer or better lovers, but it does produce really good internal meds. An adrenalized state is all the rage for those who live a clean lifestyle of just work and more work.
Today, I was on an Artist Date, which was simple: sitting in the sun at a coffee shop in the West Village, attentive and full of a desire to sketch moments without judgment.
Does appreciation of the greatness life has to offer require comparison with the shittiest life has to offer?
Are a Writer and Photographer, when conjoined in coitus maximus, seeking the missing part of themselves? Articulating with words what the other articulates with visual imagery. I narrowly avert a long boring conversation with a woman who'd like to clamber up into my uterus and be reborn my child. What horrible imagery, Odilia!
You're terrible, Muriel.

Australian film is so beautiful -- why does it strike me as so perfect?
Australian films are so dramatic, full of events and the personalities are almost too idiosyncratic and interlaced in each other's Koolaid -- all the ingredients for an overdone drama, but the writing makes it authentic. I would love to make a film about Puerto Ricans who relocate to Australia, with an Australian director.
Scenes from The Year My Voice Broke and Flirting drift past, as the eighty-five-year-old man starts quizzing me on film.

Marty was a great movie! Remember the scene when he says no woman would want him ... cause he's fat and I forgot what else?
Yes. That was a good movie.
He doesn't think anyone will want him . . . But then, he meets a girl!
Ernest Borgnine, right?
Yeah. That's pretty good.

The old man had a lot of newspapers, like one of those New Yorkers who's consistently afraid of not catching up with the multitude of information and does anyone ever really finish reading about the last war before a new one breaks out?
Having an opinion is very important in the city, but having an informed opinion is an obsession.
A gay man with a beautifully groomed beard makes eye contact with me
Honey, you have something in your hair.
He reaches over and picks some sweater lint out of my hair and adds "I can't help myself."

People talk to me when I don't put the buds in my ear. I am on-duty to listen and talk and mull it over with people who seek company in their solitude in crowded spaces.

And when the old man asks what movie is good, I suggest This is the End
Did it win Oscars?
Probably not.

Buy my book here: Love When You Say Love

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