Bridging the Gap

 (Yes, let’s be literal)
I.  Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The trip down to Keystone College was a great trip of remembrance.  The two hours down was a quick a great ride aside the consistent inconsistency of rain spurts. To keep my mind going, I highly enjoyed free radio instead of mixed CD’s or the iPod; the randomness and sponteneity was definitely needed.  Normally, keeping track of the songs is imperative on road trips, and that happened. 
However, let’s start at the beginning.
I woke up a bit later than I wanted to, but it didn’t put me behind in the least bit.  The previous night was a blast.  Alexis and Emily came over for our last practice, because our first improv show is March 1st.  After practice, Mike S. and I headed to Beer Belly Deli & Pub for a pint and conversation.  Em and Aislinn were there as well, and fruitful banter burned through the evening. 
The next morning was a bit of a struggle to to my bed being so damn comfortable.  There is usually an apology coming from my person every morning, telling my bed not to worry that this is just a break, and the blame is all on my shoulders.  The mirror then greets me upon entering the bathroom; the mirror never has anything good to say about anything–damn pessimist, showcasing the harsh reality of life just waking up.  The next step is staring into the mirror, rubbing my eyes, and asking myself What are you doing? in rhetorical inquisitions; sometimes it takes more than one.  However, I still did not get the full drift of life in this moment–anyone’s weakest and most vulnerable part of the day. 
Everything else–the daily prep–went according to plan.  I just had to prep myself by telling my reflection (and it echoing back) that you look fucking horrible and that you should be ashamed and let’s not forget to mention you’re pathetic.  I almost forgot the crowd pleasing favorite:  look at you.  The latter is stated with an abrupt point.  If you go on from there, the emphasis and intention is completely lost.
Ugh.  Look at you.
There was convincing, I must admit; this was primarily my realizing what was going to take place in a few hours.  Like Katie the Student’s interview and following Emily and I around for the sake of improv, this taped interview at Keystone College was to collect my insight as to what is The Gathering.  Being nervous was definite.  I treated the day as if I was leaving for a weekend, a week, or even longer.  I saw my parents, and bid them farewell; they told me to drive safe and have fun.  After their house, I made two stops:  Dunkin’ Donuts and Green Hills Market.  The Dunkin’ staff–all African American women with strong and distinct personalities–treated me as if I was diamond in the rough; apparently, they may have thought I was cute.  It was as if I broke up their morning a bit.
I have yet to “go black.”  It’s a consideration.  Why not?
[shrugs shoulders, smirks]
Friendly and spontaneous conversation–I have said it before–is always a good thing.  If you are having a bad day, it breaks it up; if you are having a good day, it adds to that euphoria. 
I stopped into Green Hills, because (a) I love that market, and (b) it’s been forever since I have been in there.  The market’s baked goods are so damn addicting; the double chocolate muffin with white frosting drizzled on top is the best (and probably unhealthiest) muffin I have ever had.  Nothing has compared, and nothing will top it.  There are even chocolate chips thrown in there.
II.  Interlude:  The Music
Free radio: thanks to Galaxy and its crew of stations (K-Rock, TK99, Sunny 102) are my favorite.  You all help me get to work in the morning, and you provide me with tunes when I go around town. Gomez and Dave, Hunter and Josh, and Big Mike:  thank you! 
In between Binghamton and Pennsylvania, coming across a certain radio station–stations, I should say–convinced me to start keeping track of songs.  I came across this 90’s station and they were playing “Time Bomb” by Rancid.
That hooked me.
I have not heard “Time Bomb” on the radio in such a long time.  My foot definitely put pressure on the gas.  What else kept me going throughout the trip?
Beastie Boys – “Sure Shot”
The Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize??”
Jason Mraz – “I’m Yours”
Fun – “Carry On”
Boys II Men – “Motown Philly”
Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait”
Eurythmics – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
Oasis – “Champagne Supernova”
Third Eye Blind – “Jumper”
Alanis Morissette – “You Learn”
There may have been some Taylor Swift and Ke$ha thrown in there.  Kidding.  “Trouble” did pop up several times, which I had to change the station.  However, there was a song that did not cause my finger to punch the button.  The song “Hands to Heaven” by Breathe yielded a flashback to riding in the car to New Jersey as a kid.  Yes, this song caused some childhood flashback. 
You don’t remember it?
I know you clicked on that. Don’t even deny it. Deep in your soul, maybe the abyss of your soul, you love late-1980’s British pop ballads.  If you think you’re ashamed, just realize I am the one posting this.
It’s awesomely horrible… just like Air Supply.
III.  Something Completely Different
I met Don and Suzanne at a restaurant:  Patsel’s.  Upon my running late, they ordered me a chicken sandwich, and it was mindblowingly delicious.  I stuffed my face, or so it seemed, because eating it was necessary in order not to share it.  Stuffing my face was kept classy.  I am not surprised that it was fantastic. It was the look of the place that got my curiosity flowing.
Patsel’s is a big yellow restaurant.  No, there is no comma between big and yellow, because it really is a big yellow restaurant.  Not only is the exterior yellow, the inside is as well, and the yellow is accompanied by other very vibrant colors.  There is nothing bad I can say about the restaurant.  The food was great, reasonably priced (I checked out the menu online), and the staff is more than courteous. 
However, it looks like Mickey Mouse’s acid trip experience.  I am not talking about Contemporary Mickey, but Steamboat Willie Mickey.  The vibrant colors can only be thought up by the trip of a black-and-white animated character.
IV.  Pause
Yes, it was really exciting for me to hear The Flaming Lips on free radio.  I love it, and the song is currently embedded in my head.
V.  This and That
An experience like The Gathering–this is after the interview–is priceless.  I felt comfortable talking about my first experience last summer at the three-day conference, and it never really clicked on how much I was moved. 
I had written about the gathering in a previous post:  Leap or How/Who/Why/What am I to Write?.
Speaking about my being uncomfortable and uncertainty when first arriving was crazy; it is always in the afterthought when you realize how reluctant you are to do something out of the ordinary. 
Don thought this would be a great experience for me, because I enjoy reading and writing.  It was months after the relationship ended, and I was hoping the three days out of Syracuse would loosen me up a bit.  I spoke of my relationship briefly, and I associated my lack of freedom and encouragement to explore more literary aspects to life as what hindered my enjoyment in the latter part of that chapter. 
The notion of not knowing anyone, being intimidated by brilliant minds of well-read individuals and scholars and authors, and just being in a new place (a state–in all definitions–where I little to no time at all) was a lot for me.  It was easy to catch oneself being quiet, off to the side, and reluctant to speak; it was fear of not making a good first impression.  However, everyone was so kind and welcoming that I opened up at the end.
Everyone is there for their own self development, and everyone around are helping catalyse this.  It’s all about who you are with, so they say.  Surround yourself with intimidating intelligent individuals:  you’ll only grow.
My interview was from the beginner/individual aspect.  Don’s interview was from the consistent attendee and active involvement perspective.  Suzanne’s perspective came from overseeing this conference. 
VI.  Tea Time
The three of us went to Suzanne’s house for tea.  This was a great moment to relax before I hit the road. 
I may have mentioned this, but Suzanne is an author, and a very good one.  I first heard about her in college while taking education courses.  A professor of mine pushed Young Adult literature, and she had several carts filled with books.  Suzanne’s books were within those.  It’s just amazing to me how things come back around.  I distanced myself from teaching, but what I have learned in all the education classes returns in some form or another.  It’s truly a great feeling. 
To be in the presense of an author (authors–when attending The Gathering), is inspriational.  Just simply speaking, honestly, with Suzanne and others is therapeutic.  I definitely have to thank Don for all of this opportunity.

VII.  Moving On

That night, Emily and I joined the cast of improv troupe Gentlemen, To Bed and other Syracuse Improv Collective members for the Upright Citizens Brigade show at Syracuse University.  The show was absolutely great, as you can imagine.  Watching how tight UCB is gave me some inspiration and confidence to take this improv thing even more seriously.  It is a lot of fun, therapeutic, and helps with personal development. 
You may register for classes through Syracuse Improv Collective here.
Life has been moving fast, and there is so much opportunity that I am taking advantage of.  It’s a great feeling.  As busy as I am, I am recognizing this and it’s great to report and spend time with friends–old and new.  Writing is happening more, ideas are rampant, and my ambition is growing steadily. I even made personal business cards, which I consider an absurd thing to do, because my blogs are simply for pleasure and my writing is not officially published. 
Could there be more than this?  I love Syracuse.  I’ve lived here my whole life…
Yeah, it’s time for bed.  The detail in my writing is dissipating. 

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