We’re easily detonated by the trivial - while conversely - maneuvering with grace the true hardships that require strength and fortitude. A tragedy that should buckle the knees becomes an unexpectedly straight-forward affair. While something as dumb as being stuck in traffic, invokes enough anger to destroy anyone in sight. Oddly, the traffic light scenario is the one to ignite greater emotion. The little moments in which every land mine inside of our souls is triggered.
I was walking around the East Village with a bucket of wheat paste and stack of mürmur flyers - looking for the perfect spot for my mürmur mural. I came across an empty wall - next to Decibel, a sake bar that I used to frequent. Using my bare hands, I began slathering the wall with glue.
Just as I laid in the final piece, I felt a figure hovering over me - an employee of Decibel.
“You can’t do that”.
“Why? This wall has nothing to do with you”.
“Doesn’t mater who the wall belongs to. What you’re doing is a crime. If you don’t remove it right now, I’m going to call the cops”.
I sensed my nerves slowly rise. “How dare he defy my passion? How dare he prevent my poster from welcoming new friends to my home - friends who need a shoulder to cry on, strangers who need their voices to be heard.” I wanted nothing more in the world than to stumble upon a poster like this myself - to reinstate faith in humanity - so why was he trying to demolish it?
Despite my explanation, he was blind to the purity of the message. All he saw was a criminal at work - a deviant desecrating a wall.
“Will you really call the cops if I walk away form here?”
I looked at the poster for a good minute - a good gaze. I thought about what was written on it. Namely the part about mürmur being a vanguard for non-judgment, respect, and authenticity. The emphasis to make an effort to understand others, instead of quickly shunning them. At the end of the day, this was a man who was upset. I did something to upset him. Though I didn’t agree with his reaction - this was an opportunity to turn things around - to reach a compromise. One that would allow us to go separate paths without ill will.
I began peeling the paper from the wall very slowly. At first, it was like removing my own skin - but quickly, I sensed the beauty in the moment. Though just a few feet away, he was intently watching me with his arms crossed, I felt strangely the one in power. The mural I had built with my own hands, was now being taken down by my own hands. I suddenly felt very in control
When he went back to his bar, I hope he was in a better mood and made better conversation with the customers and made better tips in return. My father had talked to me about the ‘The Butterfly Effect’ on one of our very final telephone conversations - so I’m glad that I was able to honor him by putting his teaching to use.
I’m happy a land mine was triggered today.
(Originally published 6/10/18)