I’m Out in Public! Whoo-Hoo!!

I’m out here, man. I’d doin’ it. I’m Experiencing Others.

I’m at a coffee shop. I’m sitting on a round stool that goes with the tall, round, shiny, 80’s-style oak table upon which is now my laptop and my Cwasant Le’ Tasty. Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like Sunday Morning” wafts through the air like a melodious, weekendy-inspired philosophy with which I have no particular affinity.

I grew up thinking of Sunday mornings as sheer hell. That’s when both my parents — or whatever Parental Combo I was just then living with — were home. I feel terrible  saying that (and know my dad, who wouldn’t know a computer from a shoe-box, will never read it). But … there it is. What can we do with the truth, but at the very least honor the sheer weight of its integrity?

I hated Sunday mornings. No use denying it.

When I was a kid, my #1 priority in life was to get out of the house as fast as I could, and stay out as long as I could. I was never home if I could possibly help it. For years, in fact, I would get up in the dead of night — one, two in the morning — climb out my bedroom window, and basically spend the next two or three hours roaming around my dark, eerily quiet neighborhood like some kind of skinny, pubescent ghost-freak. Being sure to remain in the shadows, I used to watch them making donuts at a nearby Winchell’s Donuts. Oil looked hot.

Hey! James Brown’s “Mother Popcorn” just came on!

This is the first record I ever, ever bought. I was 10 years old, at a garage sale, and I paid a dime for a 45-rpm (kids: don’t ask) for this record.

I was then, and remain to this day, a complete James Brown freak.

Anyway, I’m out here. And I pretend, a little, that it makes me uncomfortable — and, in fact, it does, a little — but the bottom line, for me, is that I’m rarely if ever more comfortable than when I’m out in the world doing Solitary Thing thing, surrounded by people I don’t know at all.

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  • John,

    "Get on the good foot, uh-huh!"


  • soulfaith


    Congratulations on getting out! Like you I was never home if I could escape outside to my friend's house or roaming the streets at night, so I know just how you feel. It's a great feeling when the music's right and all seems right with the world. Cool!

  • Being out somewhere by myself like you are right now scares that crap out of me. I am getting better at it though.

    I do like to people watch though. It is one of my favorite things to do but I usually like company while I am watching.

  • Check out the 45 at this site… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Popcorn

  • That's it. That's the exact 45 I bought!! How fun. Thank you so much for sending this.

  • Second Michele

    I'm proud of you John.

  • Winey: What scares you? Are you serious?

  • Seriously. Being alone in a crowded place has never been my thing. I went to a public high school that was huge and well over capacity for the building that it was in. I just always felt claustrophobic in the halls. I have been working on this for years and it has become less of an issue for me but I get almost into a panic state if I am meeting some one some where and get there before them.

    Lots of prayer and work to get over this!

  • And I grew up in a large family in a small town so I never had to spend time alone…I just never got used to it….

  • Oh, wow. What a unique challenge. I have just the OPPOSITE of that. I'm not keen on being crowded, or anything–like anyone, I need my space–but if I'm at a mall, or any kind of place where lots and lots of people have gathered, I actually catch this weird buzz. I really zone out. And it's a high I really, really like. I'll just … zone, and sort of … bliss-out, basically. I can sit in a crowded mall-type place for hours and hours on end. I'm insanely fascinated by people.

  • John,

    You’re most welcome.

    Winey: You sure must have conquered that fear somewhat on your trip to the aquarium because your blog entry about it was excellent. I would have thought you had more fear of I-25.