Monday, April 18, 2011


Favorite Places: North Carolina.

We're all surrounded constantly by the idea of place.  It's coming up a lot in the Race (and 'friends') household, what with the new digs ever nearer, and it's coming up in my friend's blog, and it's coming up in basically anyone who's going, or who has ever gone, anywhere.  And here, furthermore, my very own Christmas present took the distinct form of place!  It was North Carolina.  Greensboro, specifically, for Cirque du Soleil. 

Justin and his leaves.
After an 8pm - 2 am drive, we crashed in our swank hotel in preparation to live it up the next 24 hours.  The hotel room is its own "place" microcosm; it tries to be your home away from home, with your hair dryer and your ability to have milk and cookies whenever you want, while stepping it up a notch with a pool and a gift shop.  In the second floor restaurant the next morning, Justin and I were both just so calm and happy; somehow, North Carolina afforded us a sensation of pure delight.  We have talked about NC for years.  We idealized it!  And now, after a long and stressful journey, we were there.  Was it that we were removed from house drama -- both the housemates and the buying process?  No, it was still very much on our minds, and we're not out of the woods from it yet.  Was it the weather?  No, it was nice in DC too that day.  Was it different, in some way?  Not really, it mostly looked like any other darling town with a historic district that we love to visit.  The breakfast, the acres-big farmer's market overflowing with flowers, the shops along the main street, the people were all the same!  We were just experiencing them in Greensboro, and they were unmistakably lovely.

I love my North Carolina flowers.  The same as, but way better than, Lanham flowers.
After we had done the whole literal side of place, we went to that symbolic side at that crazy show, Alegria, where the ringleader marched around the crowd, pausing at parts of the overture to cry, "Alegrrrrrriiiiiiiiiaaaaaaaa!!!"  Luca's question is about your sacred space -- where do you go when you need to calm and just be?  I don't have a good answer yet, but something always in the running is theater.  A theater, a (live) show in a theater, etc.  Maybe because that arena formed me in high school, and is forever filled with those most important memories; maybe because my soul just jives with the idea of plays and performances in general; maybe because when you go, your job is to suspend disbelief and be with the scenes.  I firmly believe that an unspoken implication of theater (really, of books, television, paintings, movies...) is that the audience, ideally, is supposed to believe that they're just glimpsing these people's lives, that when the curtains close, the characters just go on being themselves, just not watched anymore.  You know, when they come "on stage," they're not coming from "backstage," they're coming from another room in their house or field or whatever.  We're supposed to be getting that one tiny window to see what their life is like, and when all those crazy acrobats are done flipping around for you, they go back to wherever land they came from and they keep flipping around there, for each other, because that's what their life is.  How magical of a sense of place is that!

Just another Tuesday afternoon, hanging out

PS, Speaking of flipping, I hope you will flip out just as much as I did when I discovered this friendly notepad in a gentle basket at one of those independent, local-artist-supporting stores (appropriately titled "Just Be") in Greensboro, NC:

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