Tim Folzenlogen

"We are what we experience. Experience something new and become someone different."



Day Ten – Washington Square Park – Greenwich Village

My wife is Japanese. She grew up in Japan.

She never wants to do the social thing with me, because she’s always afraid that she will look foolish. Japanese people are extremely concerned about what they call “face” (public appearance).

She’s always afraid she wont understand the joke, or that she wont be able to follow the conversation - so she thinks that people will think less of her.

Of course, from the American perspective, this is silly. If you are so lucky to get a Japanese lady of her generation to attend your party – you want her to be authentic. You don’t want her to think, talk and act like the white lady next door.

People are most charming when they are themselves.

Everyone is charming, when they are themselves.

But it’s very hard for people to truly be themselves with others, because they seem to think that they have to be like the other person.

This is why people don’t like to interact with people who are different. It’s exhausting trying to be someone who you are not.

I’m very good at being me, because I’ve never tried to be anyone else. I’ve always pretty much said what I think to anyone.

Being that way, allows more room for the other person to be who they are too.

It’s like a more relaxed way of doing life.

Drop the concepts, the judgment, and simply enjoy each other’s presence. Let the other speak for him or her self.

It’s kind of sexy, in a way, because it makes interactions much more personal - once you start to feel what they feel – which is incredibly easy to do – much easier than trying to hold all the walls in place.

The people I met at Washington Square Park were mostly NYU students.

They were much like the Columbia students, in that they all seem to be relatively affluent – but my take on these kids is that they are a bit more into the arts and fashion – whereas Columbia students seem more scholarly.

After the intensity of Union Square, setting up at a subway stop – and the Wall Street experience, being right on the sidewalk – this day I wanted to set up somewhere with a lot of room around me, in the shade.

I could see the people approach, and they could see me, from a considerable distance. The path was wide. They could choose to walk by at a distance, or closely pass by.

People with kind faces would always walk over and take a card after we made eye contact, and I flashed them one.

People who have a curious nature would always make the trip.

I’d always compliment both types, as I think this is a good way to be. You get to experience more in life that way.

The people who didn’t take a card were, by and large, people who were too preoccupied with something else – oftentimes themselves, their image, and not wanting to be seen as being the kind of person who interacts with those who seemingly exist lower than.

Which is not a judgment. They are the stars in that kind of movie. Theirs is simply a movie with a more limited cast.

I like watching all the movies.


September 24, 2003

H