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friday favourites 27.05.11

ahem. i'm a little late on this today, but i promise, it's actually because i've been working on blog-related material. it's just that i seem to have had a lot of stuff i want to cover lately... i suppose that's not a bad thing at all.

i looked back on last week's friday favourites and i have to say that it was intimidating. i mean, that was quite the list. it's just unlikely that any week is going to compete with that list... and, as expected, this week didn't really compete in terms of stand-out high points. that's not to say that there weren't things i really enjoyed. i loved getting acquainted with nars skin care and their summer colour collection, but those are both posts in their own right [summer collection review to come]. likewise, i had some fun trying out new products from lush [and getting dom to help me, because it's that much more fun when you can do this in pairs], but again, this is something that deserves its own post[s].

while the young turks continue to be all manner of awesome, of course, i don't feel like i can include them again in my friday favourites because if i start mentioning them every time they do something i love, this is going to turn into the "kate's unseenly worshiping of cenk and his cohorts blog that is prevented from contacting them by court order because they find her a little bit creepy" autonomous zone]. once again and at the risk of ending up with a restraining order slapped against me, cenk, if you ever need a token white chick to provide the fairness and balance that seems so important in u.s. media, i'm right here.

so in the interest of keeping friday favourites a little more vibrant and less repetitive, i thought i'd use this forum [it's my blog, after all] to share a different kind of favourite: a favourite memory.

i won't say that this is the best memory that i have, but it is one of the ones that is closest to my heart and it's one that, despite it's lack of immediate ramifications, has struck me as a truly defining moment in my life.

let me set the scene:

i was in tampa. it was january and i was spending a few days there because my mother was invited to a conference and got to have me along for only the cost of air fare. pretty sweet deal if you're me. i was in my late teens, which for me meant that the best way i could spend those hours where my mother was in conferences was by trying to find out where there was a good record store i could explore. i have no idea how i found this out, because it was before the age of the internet. all i can imagine was that i used a now obsolete method known as the phone book and somehow managed to come up with an address that looked as if it might be a likely candidate. i got directions to the address from someone at the hotel. [i'm pretty sure that i even remember what record store and what hotel were involved, but that's beside the point for the moment.]

i set out on foot, because that was basically my only option [i have always been a little uncomfortable committing to use public transit in a city where there isn't a very clear map provided] and left the hotel, which seemed to exist on its own little island, for more musically inclined pastures.

the fact that the hotel was on its own island, as were all the hotels in the immediate vicinity, meant that the first thing that i had to do was cross a bridge over water in order to get to the mainland of the city. that didn't sit well with me, but i was determined to find the music somewhere and i only had one option to go on. as i was leaving the hotel, however, i saw a man standing on the bridge who seemed way to excited to be trustworthy. he seemed to be moving to the edge of the bridge and then stepping back for no reason.

of course, as soon as i noticed him, he seemed likewise to notice me and starting gesturing that i should come over. while i didn't have the benefit of years [i think was was just over 19 at the time], i was aware that an excited man gesticulating on the side of a bridge in a strange city known as the home of death metal was not something that most people would flag as a welcoming sign. at the same time, a distressed soul standing on a bridge wasn't something that i could ignore. perhaps it's because i've felt too close to the suicidal edge myself, or perhaps it's because i believe myself capable of saving anyone or perhaps it's because the young don't fear things the way that they should, but my reaction, against the advice of my better judgment, was to approach the man to see what was the matter.

i have to say that among my considerations was the fact that i am and have always been a strong swimmer. i figured that, at the worst, if he decided to try to hurl both of us to a watery grave, the most i stood to lose was my purse and the cash i had on me.

as i approached, i was aware that the man seemed pleased that i'd responded. having talked people off proverbial ledges before, i took this as a good sign. i approached, smiling and trying to keep my body language as open and purely friendly as i could, i walked up to him. then, as i got within earshot, i heard him say:

"they told me you could see them at the hotel, but i didn't believe them."

i will say that, heard from the point of view of someone who thinks she is approaching a potential suicide case, that is a very strange sentence to hear. instead of seeming cautious, the man seemed oddly open. i have to say that this was really only enough to shift my opinion of him from "depressed" to "crazy", meaning that i went from expecting to have to jump into the water after him to save him to expecting i'd have to break free and swim to shore to escape some perceived suicide pact. the bottom line is that one way or another, i thought this guy was bad news and that one way or the other, he was my bad news to deal with.

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as i approached him, however, he seemed to grow calmer and move pack towards the railing overlooking the water. he said nothing else, but he did seem insistent that i join him, so, my curiosity having outweighed my common sense [my curiosity has not heard of a diet plan], i walked right up to him, so that we were standing side by side in a little, vulnerable nook on a bridge from our hotel to the city of tampa on a misty january morning. i don't quite recall what he said to me once i got close, but what i remember is a lean arm waving towards the water and exclaiming "see?"

and see i did.

pasing underneath us was a huge population of rays. some were lighter in colour than others, but whatever their differences, they were all shockingly close to the surface and they were all moving en masse to the wider part of the bay. for what seemed like an hour, they passed beneath the bridge, their perfect diamond forms unmistakable for anything else. there was something almost poetic about the way they floated by underneath us- tourists waiting to experience the real. [and, at the same time, i have to say that our mutual excitement for that moment makes me believe that we were both people seeking to experience something beyond the normal tourist circuit.]

as for the man who waved me over, i can honestly say that i have no recollection of what he looked like. the two of us shared what seemed like not just a memorable, but an important communion, standing side by side there on the bridge between the hotel and the city. the fact that he seemed so very excited to share the experience leads me to believe that he enjoyed the moment as much as i did. but the fact that we were both so perfectly hypnotised by the ballet beneath us makes me think that he took no more notice of my particulars than i did of his. to this day, i find it odd to think that the two of us could meet and have no idea that we shared this peculiar and perfect moment. we stood together, watching the school of rays pass beneath us, until we were simply looking at choppy harbour water and then we moved on with a smile and a nod. we never exchanged names or formal greetings.

as strangely still as this moment was, i continue to reflect on it as both a defining moment in my life and as an epiphany. it was an epiphany simply because the beauty of the rays moving heedlessly past us struck me and, to this day, the memory of it makes my heart flutter a little. but as a defining moment, it is something that i can point to as evidence that, even in the face of all rationality, my instinctive consciousness gives me a strange confidence that no rationality can explain. with every step i took towards that unknown man on the bridge in tampa, i could have been taking a step further into danger. but something in my brain lead me to believe that fear should always be secondary to my curiosity. people can tell me that they disagree as much as they want, but they can never change the perfect memory of that moment, where i gave myself over to my irrational, intuitive side. and that is the most exquisite form of validation.

if you have any singular moments you'd like to share, or any comments at all you'd like to make, please feel free. until then, all the best to each of you.

of course, there is someone who was left very unsatisfied in the last week. in fact, he was quick to point out that in my multi-cat image of last week, he was left out, indicating that i favour quantity of kitteh over quality. nothing could be further fromthe truth. and so, without further ado, here is this week's regal feline, kind arthur:


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