Photograph by Jose Padua
In the middle of the crowd this woman standing
next to me swinging her hips, doing a dance that
looks like a leisurely swim except she’s standing,
keeps saying over and over “Good stuff. Good
stuff. Good stuff” and I know she’s not talking
about the band on the stage a few hundred feet
away from us, because when you’re that far back
from the band without slowly inching closer and
closer, you’re not as interested in seeing the band
up close, or even at all, as you are intent to reach
a certain almost out of the body state of being,
where you’re almost watching yourself make
the most absurd movements which in any other
setting would be what causes hundreds of bewildered,
bemused, or frightened looks from everyone witnessing
these strange motions, but here, I’m the only one
looking at her, and the reason I’ve been standing
next to her for so long instead of moving closer
to the stage as I usually do is that, I guess I somehow
hope that some of the incredible high she seems
to be swimming through will rub off on me, but
so far, although I’m enjoying the music, and am
doing a slight, barely noticeable bobble head dance
of my own, more than anything else, I am afraid.
Afraid of this stranger, somehow, and her state
of mind in which a total lack of self-consciousness
has led her to comment ceaselessly to herself, like
a living advertisement to herself, on the quality
of the product she has purchased and consumed,
and which has taken her away like a beautiful
balloon from 1967 when I was too young to feel
the way she does now, and landed her in a world
she is consuming and which we must consume
along with her, and I am sad, because human beings
are disappearing from our lives and becoming sets
of trendy activities and interests in bright,
easy-to-see colors, are becoming the owners
of significant objects and the livers of insignificant
styles of living, talking to themselves, not out of madness
or guilt, but because it really is such a disgrace—the way
we lie down wearily when there’s no way to escape,
and all the days we spend alone with our thoughts.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua


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