Surprise Visit

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.

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8 Responses to Surprise Visit

  1. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin,I have to agree…people watching is certainly entertaining. Try watching people on the Las Vegas Strip…unlike anything you have ever seen! :-)How long is the mohawk now? I have actually dated TWO guys who had mohawks. They werent really making a comeback yet at either (they were about 8 years apart) time, so they really drew some attention. Keep posting some pictures of the \’do in progress!Take care!Shannon

  2. Patricia says:

    That is so cool that you got to visit with friends. Fun and great!! I know the feeling of that dream-like state you were talking about and it isn\’t because of my brain injury I used to get it before. It is hard to explain but I knew pretty much what you meant and was surprised to see it in words. interesting. I love that you love to watch people. me too I love all the small little things that teach me a little something I think it is one of the reasons that I like photography so much. I love the little things that can be noticed by a look on someone\’s face etc. I recently read Hemingway\’s Old Man and the Sea -I don\’t know why I stopped by to tell you this -I guess because you are a thinker and I thought a bit about the book. It was interesting – it was different. It had pages that I earmarked becasue I loved the description of something. When I later went back to look over the earmarked pages I realized that they couldn\’t be seperated from the whole. It is a short book, but you might like it. Hope you are well. Cool a mohawk! best to you -patti

  3. Colin says:

    Shannon,Two guys with Mohawks? I don\’t think many women can say that, even though they would probably like to. I\’m surprised how many females actually like Mohawks. I thought it was a total turn off for them. Live and learn.Colin

  4. Patricia says:

    Mohawks are cool cause I imagine the person to be pretty daring, creative and I don\’t know interesting in regards to your comments here -but those are generalizations. Yeah, it is weird to take pictures of people sometimes. most of the time I ask them and then hang out for awhile and they forget that i\’m there. I used to do this with the Lobstermen in Maine on the Harbour. Sometimes when I photograph during a photoshoot i\’ll end up listening to people talk or watch them work or play with kids or pets and they typically forget the camera is there. most of the people in my family are so used to having their pictures taken that they don\’t even pay the least bit attention. Lots of times when I have been asked to take picutres of other people\’s family members they get psyched because somehow the personality comes out when the person becomes themselves. I bet you would be great at catching people\’s small moments of being themselves for some reason. A guy I knew had his camera thrown into the street and smashed when he didn\’t ask and started taking pictures of the Italian Market down in South Philly. i\’d hate to take a pciture of someone that didn\’t want their picture taken -it feels almost like stealing in a way. The old Man and the Sea took me awhile to get into – I think I was on the first two pages for like two months cause I kept putting it down and picking up another book. I don\’t know somewhere in the middle it becomes interesting to me for some reason. i think because of my life changing -but I can\’t really explain it. Sorry long comment. -patti

  5. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin,Yeah, TWO guys with mohawks. One was when I was a junior in high school (1991) and the other was right before I moved out here (1998). Mr. 1991 was a complete loser, and certainly did nothing for the hairstyle…especially when I tried to cut it for him the second time! They were two totally different guys, just with the same haircut. 🙂 As far as it being a total turn off, it just depends upon the person..but thats the case with everything I think.

  6. Unknown says:

    Okay, Colin…great way to pick up chicks… "I think mohawks are a total turn off to women. Hey! Why don\’t I wear my hair like that?" ha ha ha ;0PI don\’t think they\’re a turn off, either. One of the guys at my local pool hall has a mohawk and it looks pretty cool. Of course, the smiley face tattoo he just got on the side of his head makes him look reeeally funky!Anyway, I enjoy your blog. Hope to see a pic of your mohawk posted soon!Take care and have a great day!

  7. Amelie says:

    first… i\’m only in october?! i thought i was farther than that… second, i completely understand the people watching. seeing how they enteract, who\’s friends with who, how they walk, body language (i love watching people on dates… analyzing if one is more interested, if it\’s going well… k, i sound creepy. i swear i\’m not) i\’ve also noticed that groups of friends tend to dress in theme…

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