Sunday, September 12, 2010

The End of the Beginning

In this lovely video of Paul discussing the key, he states "you have to give something to get something from the artwork." This has been, mostly, a blog about love. About relationships and excitement, of disappointment and trying not to dwell. I've covered love of the city, love of yourself, love of the confusion. But what of the art?

Paul later states, "the artwork is a virus that infiltrates" well, isn't that the same of love? In turn,when you walk into a modern art museum there are more often than not moments of "huh. I think I get it. I think I like it. But do I? Do I really know?" I've certainly been there with the loves in my life. And what of the inaccessibility of so much art, how the more hidden it is the more it's sought after, do we not go after the most withholding of men? If someone gave me a key to the city or, as Paul says, "threw it off the back of an ice cream truck" would it work as well for me, would it hold the same power and magic? Does love that's come without the slightest of effort mean as much to the receiver herself?

On Sunday, September 5th, 2010 at approximately 5:30pm I ventured with the project's most wonderful find Tom to the Whitney Museum of art and turned the last key into the last lock, uncovering a 3D model of plans for the Whitney's latest extension in Chelsea, near where I live. I was sick and Tom was kind, even in my cranky cold-induced moments, and we discussed life plans, growing up, and, what else, love. We later dined on grownup Ramen noodles in the East Village (another of Tom's first) and when we hugged (I had a 100 plus degree fever at this point) my belly button glowed warm with his connection and it was the first time that I truly felt this really may turn into something.  Something beyond a project or a key, but a living breathing work of relational art, all on its own.

The project still felt unfinished, however, even after the 24th lock was turned and even though Tom provided a wonderful companion and holds, I believe, promise, it was not an end that adequately reflected my entire summer. So, on Monday September 6th, 2010, I put on most favorite vintage fairytale shipwreck like dress and head to where it all began, Bryant Park. 

Before the park I go on a dinner date, just me myself and I, and the hard-flipping folks at the not-so-secret Burger Joint, (a wooden paneled, graffitied hole in the wall hidden behind lavish curtains in the upscale Le Parker Meridien) didn't bat an eye when I ordered the works with fries in blue silk. I sat across from a cute guy but instead whipped out a book and when Tom texted me I smiled, but kept my attention focused on myself.

Walking to Bryant Park I noted every person walking by and tried to guess the impact they could play on my life. I took stock of every door and wondered what may lay behind its threshold.   I've always been on the lookout for extraordinary moments in every day life, a leaf imprinted in concrete or the way a child wraps her hand around her mother's pinkie finger, but after key to the city every door front has the ability to bring you to a new world, every person the possibility to make a connection. Even if it’s just empty beer cans and dead fish, a split second romance on a subway platform or a three week love affair. It’s about living, truly living, every moment of your life, noticing the small details, getting lost in the treasures of opportunity and risk, that makes our lives, our loves, and ourselves, all the more interesting to be a part of. I’d never be a passive observer in my own life again.



Finally, after half an hour of sitting, I built up the courage to walk up to the little lock box and get ready to turn the switch and shine the light that evaded me three months prior. The excitment to the moment which I was missing in my dayquil induced haze the day before is here and the key literally feels heavier in my hand, as if it knows it's to be used for the very last time. I crouch down onto my knees and my eyes dart for the lock and....

It's broken. The lock was broken. Someone, some person who came before me, had snapped their lock into the key hole rendering each follower dumbstruck at the inability to render it fixed. I pried at the broken piece of metal, attempted using a bobby pin like Nancy Drew, willed it to slip out with my mind, nothing works. Finally, staring up at the unlit light, I stood and turned to walk away. As I did a young woman approached me, surrounded by three friends. Aren't you that girl with the blog? She asks, and I laugh saying I am. Her and her friends inform me they came to the last site similarly disappointed that the last lock didn't work but they decided to make a night of it any way and were enjoying hot cocoa perfectly temperatured for the new fall weather.  Finally, as I turned to go, the first girl stopped me and asked, "wait, how will this end? Don't you need a date for your blog?" "or at least a functional key site?" questioned one of her friends.

       I paused and looked around at the glow of the garden, remembered the taste of my burger and how liberating it felt to eat it alone with a book, and the quiet beauty on a night with myself and answered

       No, tonight this was enough.

       And, finally,  it was.

         When I first got to Bryant Park, I watched the unfolding of evening Monday-labor day life beneath the floodlights illuminating the space. I saw couples with children, lovers from Europe, teenage hipsters falling for the first time and realize that, all of it, all that emotion and gooey eyes and romance, that is what I want.....eventually, and only when it's worth giving up all the fireworks that come with being by myself. Some of the adventures with men this summer have been fantastic belly-rolling journeys full of mishaps and sparks, others have been more work to make something out of what most likely will last no longer than an afternoon. But I am the common denominator. The moments of wonder must, in the end, come through my own eyes and my own heart, because truly, I have the ability to make my own magic, with or without a key, a map, or a man.


And it only took me 24 dates to figure it out.

Always,

L.A.

       

28 comments:

  1. Hey! You were in my dream last night! One of my first thoughts this morning was to check your blog to "see how it all ends". I'm glad you had a fun adventure! I know you have lots of memories and pictures to look back on!
    And I hope things with Tom are fun! But I am so happy to hear that you have found yourself - that is infinitely more important than any guy!
    Happy Fall!
    -georgia

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  2. Loved loved loved your blog! So sad it is over :(

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  3. I don't want it to be over!!! What's next?!!!!

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  4. You've inspired me so much this summer and all I can say is THANK YOU. Dating in the city can be so hard and I'm always tempted to just give up. But you are my inspiration and I'll go on... and even if there's no one else, I always have myself and a great big city to keep things interesting.

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  5. Saw the piece about you and the project in the NY Times - very cool. You should write a book!

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  6. This has been an amazing adventure to follow! I have loved reading this and greatly appreciate your writing style and commitment to the project. Awesome job!

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  7. Keep making the magic, Lauren! (and keep telling us all about it!)

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  8. Thanks for the summer's worth of entertainment... your blog became a daily must read for myself and many colleagues

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  9. this project, this idea, this blog has inspired me so much! thanks for sharing.

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  10. Have loved reading your blog. So sad it's over. What will I do now when I don't want to do my reading for school!? You have had quite an adventure, and it's been so exciting to read and be a part of your experiences. Have loved every minute....maybe a sequel? Key2thecityKey2myheart take2? Or a book!? Good luck! And thanks!

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  11. You have such a unique perspective and write with refreshing authenticity. I have loved reading every detail about this Key2thecity experience. I am sad it's over but I am still thrilled by what you did/how you responded to key2thecity. Don't stop writing! MORE MORE MORE. What's next?

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  12. This was so much fun to read. Can't wait to see what your next creative adventure will be!
    "Wherever you go, go with all your heart." Confucius

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  13. Congrats on finishing the project!

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  14. You're amazing and brave to have committed to this journey. And what a great conclusion. I have a feeling your adventures are only just beginning...

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  15. This is so beautiful. You honestly touched my heart. It's true, you need to find yourself before love finds you.

    I've loved following you as you visited all of the locks. I only got to 3. I live out of state, but I had high hopes that I would get to more than that. Spraining my ankle while leaving Trinity Cemetery wiped out a whole month though. But I loved everyone I did.

    I'm happy that your last date went so well. I also love that you're like me, 'on the lookout for extraordinary moments in every day life'. It's amazing what people miss every day.

    I'll keep checking your blog because I like the way you write.

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  16. I am sorry this is ending; I very much enjoyed reading about your adventures!

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  17. Wish it didn't have to end.

    Thanks for putting yourself and your adventure out there for any of us to take part it. I loved following each date and your considerations of what it/he/New York City revealed to you. Your blog makes me appreciate the little and the big things in life all the more.

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  18. Dearest Lauren,

    Your blog is an inspiration! Everytime I read it, I am inspired to start a similar relationship between Mumbai and I - I hope you will continue to write about yourself and New York so that more and more people fall in love with New York (too many people are in love with you already! I am pushing them away daily! YOU ARE MINE!)

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  19. Thanks for taking on this project and sharing so much of yourself! After seeing your article, I did the key ceremony with my Mom. Dating in NYC is still such a mystery for me. Does this mean that if you can make out here, you can make out anywhere?

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  20. haha was it the same ramen place we went to?
    miss you!

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  21. This has been so much fun to keep track of (and, I admit with pride, to be a part of). It's hard to believe it's over! Now I'm invested... I want to know how the trials and trevails of L.A. go from here on out. You'll have to find a new way to keep us informed. Good luck with it!

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  22. Sweetheart, I love you!! I always knew you were BRILLIANT, but I didn't know you were such a COMPELLING prose writer as well. You must be resilient for law school to not have extinguished your flame for the creative and emotional, because as know, it tried its hardest :)

    Also, can I please just note that you are a beacon of sanity for all the SMART people who love Love, but actually have two brain cells to rub together. It's a seriously under-served market. If I read one more "How to Sell Your Soul to the Patriarchy and Become the Paradigm of Codependency" or "Men are from Binary and Women are from System: Rigid Gender Roles and Your Love Life," I'm going to barf. Everywhere.

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  23. Also, does it really have to be done? Can you find another such project to continue to keep us entertained? In between your oh-so-relaxing day job, you know :)

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  24. every line that you wrote has made me inspired and i really appreciate it. Through you, i could soak another part of the world and come up with more refreshing and genuinely meanigful stuffs in my life.

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  25. This can't be the end! One might think this blog is only for the young (and obviously beautiful), but it has been a daily inspiration for me and my 50+ friends who are, like you, on the journey to self discovery. Wish I'd started out 30 years ago but it is wonderful to see realize that we CAN ALL work the magic- with or without a key, a map or a man. PLEASE continue sharing your adventures- The world needs your amazing insight and generous spirit!

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  26. but what happened with Paul?????

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