TRADITION

I have had trouble finding a dermatologist.  For a while, living between SC and MO, the fabulous Sam SaMIMI in St. Louis helped me.  That transitional time ended and the local crop had to be explored.  Now my insurance company dictates some choice, but I found a lady that is great.

We live in a majority minority county and my new dermatologist is a black woman about my age.  She comes to Orangeburg only once a week.  She is very busy.  In her office yesterday, I counted 25 chairs in the waiting room, and all were full. Two patients were standing.  Her office manager has an interesting way of organization, and patients are liable to wait for hours.  I take at least two books and my smart phone, reframing the problem as a way to get some reading done.  Then the wait is OK.

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Black people, unfortunately have always had to wait.  It is their history.  They do not complain.  It shouldn’t be this way, but it has been, and is.  When you are a client of a black business, you must understand this.  Yesterday, and I have experienced this before, a new patient, upon entering the waiting room,  door opening from the outside to 25 pairs of eyes looking up, said “GOOD MORNING!” to all.  Most everybody said “Good Morning” back.  It was such a humane interaction.

Glenn thinks it comes from the black church.  Maybe like a “call and answer” thing.  I wonder if it comes from strong black mamas and their directives.

Another interesting thing that happened in that waiting room was that two women were having a conversation across the entire room.  It was kind of like white noise to me while reading; I could not understand what they were saying.  Looking around I thought, would I have asked someone to move so conversation with my friend would be easier?  Think so.  But that did not happen in this case.

At the end of my stint (as it turned out to be) in the waiting room, a very tall and elegant black man came in.  “GOOD MORNING!” he bellowed and just as loud, all 25 of us responded.  I expected him next to say “You may rise and sing Number 112 from our hymnal”.  Loved it:  we need to speak to each other much more.

The Waffle House restaurant chain in Winston-Salem, North Ca

Have you been to Waffle House?  They do this too when you enter the restaurant.

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A LEAN AND HUNGRY LOOK

Went to a meet and greet  “all the arts”  interface at a private home recently.  It functions as a way for people working in the arts to kind of cross pollinate with other artists whose projects they may have not known about.  Some simply advertise as to what they are doing and invite others.   This took place the night before most of the Columbia, SC artists open up their studios for a well advertised self-guided tour and sale.  This event has been building for the past few years, and we cannot participate because we don’t live in Richland County.  Some in our situation rent spaces in downtown Columbia for the weekend so that they can cash in on the possibilities.

We met a dancer there that looked exactly like Selma Hayek  when playing Frida Kahlo.

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There was a tiny opera singer there, a very fancy person.

There were magazine publishers there, and wives, and many “assistants” who ran the event and tried to sell the art on the walls.  I was able to meet and thank the publisher who just included an article on my recycling in his magazine as an Earth Day story.  There were journalists, filmmakers;  my raison d’etre.

It felt false.  I put some postcards in my purse, but did not give any to anyone.  I have two jobs right now and do not feel pushed in any way.  What about finishing my pool, my gardens, laying brick, sanding old windows?  We just created a gallery on the top floor of the barn and cannot find time to paint it.  What about my upcoming hike on the AT?

The life comes first, not the art.  If the life is artful, then the art will come.  Do not confuse the two.  The visual artists from last night looked lean and hungry.  Darting eyes.  I have been in that place and it is an uncomfortable and heavy place to reside.

I had a dream last night.  A good friend, not an artist, was making MY art and doing it better.  I tore off the fabric which made up my art from its stretchers, and found that the structure supporting the work was interesting.  I decided that the support structure would be the art instead.

It looked very much like this, only all the lines and shapes were contained within a square perimeter.

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One of my current projects is to create two new embroideries,  something I have not done in years.  One is finished, and it was easy to slip into that old obsession.  It is my only thing where the expertise is unchallenged.

THE PEOPLE WHO STARE AT WHEAT BREAD

We will have ice today.  Glenn went to The Pig to participate in the bread and milk ritual just to experience a true southern impulse.

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He came away from it just as “other” as ever.  There was a knot of people around the bread section, which shares a wall with the restaurant, with the entry just beside.

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There was a gaping hole in the bread inventory.  No white.  People were milling around, checking, rechecking, making sure.  Not sure what to do about this discovery, they hovered.  A cook came through the door of the restaurant to get more white bread for the customers.  She went back to the kitchen with nothing.

Glenn plucked a loaf of Martian bread, commenting to the crowd that it was healthier anyway, and left the group still trying to make a dollar out of 99 cents.

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