— Hunter S. Thompson
i feel as though i have been all around the world in the last month. not just in place. but in my mind as well.
i sat there. after a long day. one that was new in every way and yet extremely familiar. i was feeling very alone... despite the fact 3 people i had known for half of my lifetime were within walking distance. i was trying to act casual... although i felt awkward. really awkward.
you know... like those people you see solo at the movie theater or hunching over a laptop on a lonely saturday at a coffee shop.
my diversions of choice were a spy novel and a glass of wine. i was paying much more attention to the people on deck than the book or the wine. i was feeling a little sorry for myself... even though i had no right to... when i noticed something. a man, about 60... with very nice slacks and a tripod,... setting up shop directly in front of my table. he pointed his camera at the sunset... methodically sinking into the ocean. he took several test shots before positioning himself in the cross hairs and to my shagrin... smirking ear to ear with a thumbs up as the timer snapped his mug. not just once. but again and again. until he got it just right.
at first i felt sorry for him... and thought... this poor fella is here all alone. how sad.
after the 10th or 11th take my opinion changed dramatically... what a brave soul... him there... all on his own... and proud to tears about it. it was almost comical. i saw others shooting him similar glances but not many people brave enough to stare. i did stare. i would be surprised if a fly or two didn't land on my tongue. because i stared him down. curiously. because he was parading his solo experience right there in front of me. when i was feeling alone in a crowd. what a brave man. a goofy... happy... not lonely man. my grin mimicking his by the end. oh, the power of the individual. he changed my whole night. without a word.
i found a lot of inspiration on my latest journey. but i won't lie to you. it was one that hurt me too. i am excited for my future. because for the first time... maybe in forever... i can see myself from the outside looking in. and maybe... just maybe ... i have something in common with that goofy sap and his tripod. i guess i am just happy to be where i am. with me. because... i earned it. and i am not afraid to look like a weirdo.
i met a lot of great people on this trip. as i always do. but today.... charlie turned to me... and told me that his first trumpet teacher told him to... play like you are playing to your girlfriend... or, your boyfriend... you know.... he said to me while i smiled... knowing exactly what he meant. and i told him i did understand. and i know he knows ... that i do...
i am lucky to have found myself in this place. i am glad for all of the moments that take ahold of me and make me realize how lucky i am. I AM. because it is the unique experience we have that makes it worth while. i don't believe much in fate. and i don't believe really in karma... but i do think that we each offer something unique. if my only place is to be an eager observer and commentator on the things i see... then i am happy with that. it makes for good stories... it makes for great art... and it makes my heart smile.
thank you puerto rico....