Following Directions is an Art Form
Not sure if it comes with age, but I don’t like to drive. Drive to work, no problem. Trip to the shore, I’m your guy. Anything over two hours, have a nice trip, call me when you get there. Drive in New York City? I’d rather walk.
My sister-in-law, Terry, was part of an art show in Bushwick, Brooklyn over the weekend; second one this year. Always one to support the Arts, I wanted to go and, fortunately for me, my sister, Diane, has no problem driving in New York. Saturday morning, I found myself in the back of her car, heading toward the city.
What should have been an hour-and-a-half trip stretched into three. I won’t go into detail about my sister’s driving, you can read about that here. Her driving habits were not the reason we ended up in traffic delays, but they didn’t help.
Her navigator, boyfriend Bill, held the GPS so she could hear and see the suggested route. I say suggested because, most time she ignored the metallic voice’s guidance.
Stuck in traffic, Bill cycled through different GPS voices (French, Portuguese, Germany) throughout the drive. Finally, in respect to our current destination, Bill turned on the Brooklyn voice option.
GPS: At the corner, make a fuckin’ right.
My sister, who ignored the GPS all afternoon, blew passed the turn.
GPS: whoa, hey, I said to make a fuckin’ right?
After a short pause, it continued…
GPS: Ok, ok forgetaboutit - listen, go to the place where Vinny went, and he met that girl who had the sister with the wonky eye - but don’t talk to the guy that works there, he’s an asshole.
Not having a clue where that was, my sister continued on her way.
GPS: What the fuck? You’re goin’ the wrong way. Don’t make me come over there and give you a fresh one.
Eventually, my sister reached the point where she needed the GPS to complete the journey.
GPS: Well, well, well (pause – then, in a low menacing voice) I knew you’d crawl back to me like the whore that you are…
OK, there is no Brooklyn setting on the GPS; just me bored in the backseat (future autobiography title?) as we crawled the forty-minute mile up Canal Street.
Finally, our destination reached the traffic gods took pity on us; found a spot right across the street from the venue. We ignored the faded ‘No Parking’ painted on the sidewalk and surmised it no longer applied.
The building was an old office/warehouse; each artist displayed their work in one of the many glass-walled rooms. Found my sister-in-law in the first office, with windows toward the street; her work could be seen from the sidewalk. The smell of spray paint followed us inside, a woman repaired her mural on the building’s front that vandals tagged the night before. The artist’s van, parked directly across from us, had a naked woman laying on her back, legs open, painted on the side. Something else was happening in that painting, but I don’t feel comfortable discussing that here. Let’s move on.
Took a quick walk through the exhibits. Paintings, sketches, photographs, videos, even a robot someone built from boxes and aluminum hoses. Most were interesting, not all my style, but must give creative people credit for putting their work on display.
After a second lap around the exhibit, I had to go the bathroom. When I walked out of the men’s room I was greeted by the sight of a tall, muscular, naked black man standing on a table. A fully clothed old white guy was painting him. Let me clarify. He was not painting him on a canvas. The guy was the canvas. Streaks of color covered the man’s skin, up and down his arms and legs, chest and – well, everywhere.
“They painted a naked white woman last night,” I was told when asked what exactly was going on. When I looked back around, a naked black woman joined the man, her body freshly covered in paint.
I don’t think this was exactly what Bob Ross meant when he said, “lets paint a happy, little bush…”
After another hour, we had enough of culture. We said our good-byes and headed back to the car (it was still there). With one last glimpse of the naked van lady, we pulled into traffic, the dread of the anticipated trek back through the city hung above our heads.
GPS: Hey, where the fuck have you been? I wanna’ get a slice…