A bit before Christmas I was walking to my car after work. Unfortunately I do not have parking at my building. I do not complain about this since I do have parking at the building next door. It is a quick walk out the door and across the street. I appreciate having it. Thing is, the building next door to mine is Wal-Mart and well, although I don’t shop there, I do park there. I have questioned whether my use of the parking at Wal-Mart despite the fact that I don’t shop there is somehow wrong (to fully come clean, I once went to Wal-Mart at like seven in the morning to buy a pair of jeans for my son for his school program which was that morning because that was when I realized he had outgrown the one pair he had. In my defense, there was no other store that was open. And I only did it for my son.)
Thing is there is something about a Wal-Mart that seems to be a magnet for the most, shall we say, interesting, members of society. There are frequently disturbances of all kinds in the vicinity which I only know because sometimes I have to walk past the actual store in order to get to Starbucks. I know, you are thinking what a hypocrite, Starbucks but not Wal-Mart. Think what you like, I have nothing to say in my defense. The first time I ever went into that Wal-Mart someone walking in was yelling at the welcomer guy at the door. I remember that and how giant and shiny and bright the entire place seemed. It is humongous. Gigantic. And bursting at the seams with cheap junk. In all honesty, it kind of overwhelms me. But is also attractive in a car wreck, can’t look away kind of way. It makes you want to wander about. Looking at all the stuff. Maybe touching it. Shudder.
Anyway, there I was at the corner waiting for the light to change to get to my car and go home. I had my gym bag with me which, although it actually has a zipper to close the top, it is never used. So there is my towel which I had used after my workout that day sort of bulging out of the top of the bag. I am standing on the corner with my bulgy towel bag and there is a girl next to me also waiting for the light to change. She says to me noticing my towel, “are you going to the beach?” Let’s stop here and say that it was a typical Hawaii winter day, blustery, rainy, chilly, not a beach day. I tell her, I wish I was going to the beach, which given the weather is not exactly true. Then I say that it is not the best weather for the beach. Then she says to me, “I am an artist” and goes on to describe how the weather messes with her ability to do art. I briefly imagined some sort of large outdoor installation. And then we parted ways as we crossed the street and I entered the parking structure. She seemed young to me this girl (although, I find nowadays everyone seems young to me). But I loved the conviction with how she told me that she was an artist. Like she meant it. Like there was no question. Like she believed it. And I believed her.
That brief crossing the street conversation made me wonder what statement I could make like that. So definitively and with as much confidence. There are the true, safe and very provable proclamations but that would not be in the same vein. No, really the words that would match the artist girl’s are scarier. Words that even you may not quite believe. Words that your self has not given full buy in to. She made me wish that I could have been able to say my scary words when I was her age. And funny enough, they are still hard to say, my words. Even now. Scary. Slightly still unbelievable to myself. But say them I will. And say them I must. I am a writer.