My cell phone went off Saturday morning around 10 o’clock. I thought, “Who could be calling me on a Saturday morning?” I was in the middle of eating breakfast so rather than rushing to answer the phone, I checked my messages afterwards. After punching in the password a female voice echoed in my right ear, a voice I’m always happy hear, and then to my surprise I discovered it was my occupational therapist, Julie, from the Shepherd Center. She was in the Charlotte area visiting her cousin and wanted to get together that afternoon. I love unexpected surprises such as this but they always tend to catch me off guard and throw me out of sync a bit. At the start of the day I usually have some sort of an idea of what my day is going to be like and the activities I will probably be participating in. When unexpected events arise I feel as if I’m not really awake but in some sort of a dream. I then have to really focus in order to experience the moments as real. This probably doesn’t make much sense but this is the best I can explain it. To some extent, I guess I feel this way on a daily basis.
However my crazy mixed up brain was reacting to her phone call, I’m certain I was very excited she was in town and was really looking forward to the approaching afternoon. Julie and her cousin arrived at my house a couple hours later. After the initial greetings and astonishment of my emerging mohawk, being the occupational therapist Julie is, she began checking the strength of my wrists and asking about how much e-stim I have been doing. Even though we are now friends, I suppose she will forever be my therapist as well. She was actually encouraged by the strength of my left wrist which hearing her say so was encouraging to me as well. After showing her my fancy room, with my humongous windows and office where all the magic happens, we headed out towards the South Park Mall. South Park was one of the first malls to be built in Charlotte, and I remember as a kid it being a normal place for normal people. It’s where I went to see Santa Claus, watch my sister shop at The Limited, and stuff my face with Chick Filet. Since then, it has now become the place for people with lots of money looking to spend it. Nordstrom’s and all other sorts of high-class shops have taken over and a mall that was once impossible to get lost in has now become inevitable to do so. It seemed like a good place to take a first-time Charlotte visitor. You get a close-up view of the local Charlotteans and it kind of makes the city seem much classier than it actually is. We’re getting there, but we’re not there quite yet.
Unlike some people I love going out to places where there are a lot of people. People are so interesting to me and the hobby of people watching has got to be one of my absolute favorite things to do. For those of you may not know what is involved with people watching, it is actually quite simple. All you have to do is take a seat somewhere in a public place, or stand if you prefer, and begin to take notice of all the people around you. Pay attention to people’s expressions, the way they walk, the way they dress, and the way they style their hair. Exercising judgment is not recommended by me and don’t be afraid to let people know your watching them. If someone happens to catch you in mid-observation, simply smile and throw a wave out if you like. Not enough people pass around smiles. I’m not sure about the rest of you out there but it’s always a warm and energizing feeling to have someone simply recognize your existence through momentary eye contact followed by a warm smile. I had one lady smile and wink at me, which I thought was a wonderful touch.
As I people watch, I do not judge or criticize anyone but I definitely attempt to categorize them in their respected niches of society. Categories may include the wealthy businessman, the trophy wife, the ex sorority girl, the proud homosexual, the American dad, the athlete, or my favorite category, trendy. I thought I knew what the category implied but other opinions have now skewed my judgment. I thought people who are trendy were people who were on the cutting edge of style or fashion. They weren’t necessarily unique but they stood out because they embraced a rising trend that was basically still in the underground stages or a trend that most were not aware of. Julie comes into town and totally destroys my belief system by telling me that trendy means you present yourself in a way that is most popular. Apparently, I am alternative which means I don’t really follow a pattern, I am who I am because it feels right. I could see that at the time, I mean I have a mohawk, people don’t have mohawks right? Wrong, mohawks are making a comeback it seems because I saw several while at the mall and they were all on people I would classify as trendy, although now I’m not sure what they are. They observed mohawk wearers basically seemed like people who dress like they don’t care but in actuality have very precise hair styles and outfits. So am I trendy? Alternative? Who knows, I’m not going to try and classify myself, just everyone else.
The three of us ate lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, a very happening place with a novel for a menu. I think it took us about 30 minutes to absorb the menu and decide what we wanted. Conversation was casual, fun and easy-going. After a couple glasses of wine we dove into the topic of the keys to life, a favorite of mine especially when I get a little tipsy. The waiter was nice but he was the type of server who is constantly trying to create conversation with his customers. You know the type? The server who will ask you a question about your life and then go off on the details of his own. I like outgoing waiters but it gets frustrating sometimes when conversations keep getting interrupted to hear about a guy’s life whom you don’t even know and then once he leaves you can’t remember what you were talking about. Yeah, you know who I’m talking about.
We spent the whole afternoon at the mall, something I’m not sure if I’ve ever done before. We strolled, talked, people watched, and shopped some. I investigated some extra strength styling gel for my mohawk. With the stuff she showed me, it would cost me $20 for 10 to 12 days of a nicely spiked mohawk. I’m loving the mohawk and the attention which comes along with it but the high maintenance factor isn’t too much fun. Who would have ever thought I’d be asking my mom and dad to spike my mohawk before I go out on the town. One out of many changes in my life I can manage to smile about.