as little fear

April 10, 2017 5:49PM

2017-04-10 17.54.51

I rode my bike to MoMA Ps1 today, feeling the last piece of something unlock. Feeling the hold of the subway loosening – nothing miserable in between me and whatever it is I’m going to. Getting on the subway in the morning drains my will I have to feel good. To be crammed on the train with so many people all wearing puffy coats with agressive bags, refusing to be taken off. Today my bag was clipped to my bike, leaving me free to feel air and movement and warmth and also dust and grime and sweat. At Myrtle, a girl on a bike asked me what kind of pannier bag I had and when I told her she said, it’s really cute and to have a nice day. Girl compliments are worth their weight in gold. I rode up Kent Ave and thought of all the times I’ve done so. Like the time I was going to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July and hundreds of people were lined up on the waterfront, stepping in the bike lane, flagrantly and drunkenly. I got to practice all the sounds a person can make who doesn’t have a bike bell to signal that someone is in their way. Ay! Hey! Woop! BIKE LANE! I thought about what my sound might be this year. I’m already prepared for people to be in my way.

The museum was blessedly empty except for a few groups I kept running into, in the same way that you always finish at Ikea about the same time as the people that you walked in with. One family, parents and a few teenagers were by the coat check bickering. I could hear the mom saying “you are 17 but you are acting like you are about 7 right now.” I’d see her again on the third floor, storming out of a gallery because she was told that she couldn’t have her oversized bag but she’d “had it with her this whole fucking time.” I had to check my cute pannier too and was little huffy. People don’t like to part with their things. Admittedly, it’s much easier and better to walk through a museum without a bag.

They have an exhibition up now about the history of MoMA PS1 and the artists that started it, transforming it from an old school building into whatever it is now. I thought about the New York art scene in the seventies and what it must be now, something I am several degrees of career removed from. I thought about if this world is something I should know more about and if it’s important to know these names. John Baldessari. Robert Irwin. Etc. I decided no.

I sat in the James Turrell permanent installation, Meeting. For maybe two full minutes, it was just me and two other young women in there, sitting very quietly, writing and listening and occasionally looking up to the sky through the square at whispery clouds, finally getting some rest, exhaling like we were in a sauna. I wish it had been longer before more people, first an older man, then the cranky family, came in. I wonder how long we could have all sat together in silence before deciding to meet. One girl wearing white sneakers and taking a couple photos. One girl with gold sneakers and a “Yellow Peril” patch on her backpack. Me with my little kids haircut and the hole in my leggings where I fell off my bike last year revealing the scar from the incident.

I went to walk into another gallery but I was told it was virtual reality. I looked around the room briefly and saw a couple people with headsets on, swinging their arms around and summoned a polite okaynothankyou before I walked away. Nobody, I mean nobody, is going to make me do virtual reality.

I spent a long time in the gallery that held Ian Cheng’s Emissaries. I have a mental block around anything that reads as “video games” to me but there was something about these eerie simulations and the speculative fiction premise that stuck with me. You should spend some time. I want to write stories now.

I rode back into Brooklyn over the Pulaski Bridge and wondered about why it always seemed so hard to bike over this bridge. It’s easy now. But lots of things are more easy now and I am grateful for that.

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