Wednesday, October 8, 2008

abandon your seat, let the beat unite you

Here is a paper that I wrote for Peter Coughter's Cultural explorations class. The assignment was to visit a Richmond attraction and write our thoughts about our experience. I visited the Armenian Food Festival. For the paper I drew a bird's eye view of the event and mapped out my foot steps around the festival. I'll have to scan in the drawing later (I'm not much of a drawer so it's not a great drawing!), but here is my story transcribed.

Lose the bike. Walk amongst a crowd to which you hold no tie. “Heck, I don’t even know where Armenia is.”

“Wow, check out all the families! Welcome to the suburbs! I wonder if I’ll ever really be a part of this? Is this my aim or my biggest fear?

(In the buffet line)
Two old ladies in line behind me discuss the high prices of the food this year. “I guess I can splurge, I never go out” one says, making me feel embarrassed by all that I take for granted. The convo moves to aging and I appreciate my youth.

Sit next to a girl around my age eating by herself. We listen to the live music and watch the costumed children’s dance group. Her father approaches and I hear him in his loving, musky voice ask “did you get a discount because you are Armenian?” I know she smiled back. I miss my dad.

The crowd joins the dance. Linked by pinkies, complicated foot patterns mingle with the music and I, ever observant of each step, begin to dance in my seat. Abandon the seat. Take to the floor, link pinkies and accept that failure is inevitable but fun.

We snake around the church grounds in the shadows the evening attempts to throw at us. Exhale into the movement any fear of cutting the flow, let the beat unite you. Let pinkies become arms when those who are losing their war with time celebrate their mortality, however quickly it may be fading. Understand tradition, become a part of it even if it was never yours to practice.

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