Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘How they met’

How they met…

they met in art class
admired each other’s work
went out for coffee
neither liked Picasso
both loved Basquiat
they talked about technique
about spontaneity
about the way time stopped
when they were in the zone
they talked about color
about those who sold out
they talked about the art
of falling in love
and said that it was
something they wanted to try
so they did


Photo:  Nina Hill

How they met…

He stood in front of her tiny outdoor cafe table and said, “Excuse me.  Could you please tell me how to approach a beautiful woman without coming off as threatening, or sexist?

“No,” she said, without looking up.

“I’m attracted to her,” he said.

“Being male, my guess is that you’re attracted to anything with two legs.  Get a cat.  Go drive your car a hundred miles an hour, and get over it.”

“A cat?” he said, frowning.

“The cat, like speeding, would work as a distraction.  You’ll spend your time looking for the cat, cleaning up after the cat, and feeding the cat.”

“I already have a cat.  His name is Ducky.  But I still want to meet the woman.  I asked Ducks for advice, but he doesn’t seem to want to discuss personal matters.  He’s more interested in talking about food, sleeping, catnip, curling up on things, and knocking stuff off shelves and tables.”

She looked up.  “What kind of cat?”



“Black with a white paw.”

“Where did you get him?”

“He came to the backdoor and I let him in.”

“Show me a picture.”

He took out his phone and showed her a picture of Ducky.

“He’s cute.”

“I think so too.”

“There’s no right way to ask a woman to have coffee with you. Just ask her.   If she’s interested, she’ll say yes.  If she’s not, she’ll say no.  If she tells you no, leave immediately.  There’s nothing worse than a guy who won’t take no for an answer.  Women HATE that.  It’s terrifying, once they get over the anger.”

“That’s really good advice.  Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” she said.

“Will you have coffee with me?”



How they met…

“Are you going to London?” he asked, sitting down next to her.

She glared at him.

“I noticed the book about London on your lap, that’s all.”

“The book, convinced me to never go to London.”


“You’re not from around here, are you?  You don’t just start talking to strangers on the el.”

“Why not?”

“It’s intrusive, and we hate it.”

“I thought people from Chicago were friendly.”

“All that means is, if you need directions when you’re on the street, someone might tell you how to get where you’re going.  But not always.”

“So friendliness doesn’t include talking on an el.”

“She turned away from him.”

“Why won’t you go to London?”

“Umbrellas, mist, fog, raincoats, pouring down rain, and darkness.   i’m guessing the people who live there know mold up close and personal.  We have too much of that here.  No sun.”

“So a book that was supposed to make you think London was wonderful, made you never want to go there.  Do you want to have dinner with me?”

“I don’t want to have anything with you.”

“I’ve been to London and can tell you what it’s like.”

She turned toward him.  “You’re pushing your luck.”

“So you’re saying Chicagoans aren’t really that friendly.”

“I’m saying that if you don’t get away from me right now, I’ll show you just how UN-friendly this Chicagoan can be.”

“Hey,” said the older woman behind him.  “Leave her alone, or I’ll call the cop over there.  What’s wrong with you?  She doesn’t want to talk to you, now go away.”

Mr. Camden stood up and looked at the lady.  “Is this what you call friendly?”

“You’re alive, aren’t you?” she said, poking him with her cane.  “That’s all the friendly you deserve.”

“Thank you,” she said to the lady, who moved into Mr. Camden’s vacant seat.

“Oh, honey, I could see you were getting angry and I didn’t want you to do something you’d be sorry for.  It’s so difficult not to beat them up, or stick a knife between their ribs.  Believe me, I know.  I might be old but things haven’t changed.”

“You’re right about that,” she laughed.  “I’m getting off at Irving Park.”

“So am I,” said the lady.

“Want to get a cup of coffee?”

“Is there a Bear Claw that might come with it?”

“As many as you like,” she said.  “My name is Lucy.”

“I’m Ethel,” said the lady.


And THAT, is how they met




Neon…How they met…

green Super helpful neon signage near window

“You’re Super Helpful, right?” she asked, looking around.

“That’s what the sign says,” he answered, grinning at her.  “What do you want?”

“I want you to get rid of the supreme court.  I want you to divide the country into blue and red states and make the people stay away from each other, so they can live like the Handmaids Tale in the red states, and be free in the blue states.  I want you to kill patriarchy.  I want you to make freedom of choice part of the constitution and I want more books on cats in stores.  There are tons of books on dogs and one or two on cats.  I want experiments on animals to stop immediately.  I want the war in Ukraine to stop, I want violence against women and children to end forever,  I want chocolate malts to be calorie free, I want equality to be an absolute, I want help with…”

He held up his hand.  “We aren’t that helpful.”

“That’s not what you said a few minutes ago.  You said you were SUPER Helpful.”

“Look,” he said.  “I can tell you where to get the best coffee in town, or where to bring your clothes to be cleaned.  I can tell you who sells the best pizza, or where to get your eyes checked, and…”

“I don’t want help with those things.  Besides, everyone has different taste and what you may think is the best coffee, might not be the best to anyone else.”

“What do you want,” he asked.

“I was telling you what I wanted when you held up your hand to silence me.”

“Sorry.  You were just going off on a tangent and…”

“Tangent?  Going off on a tangent?  I was telling you how to stop the country from destroying itself.”

“When?  I didn’t get that part.”

“Seriously?  You didn’t GET that part?”

“The things you mentioned, are never going to change, so I thought you were kidding.”


“Men will never relinquish power, and they keep power by using violence and inequality.  Therefore,” he said, holding up his hands, “nothing will ever change.”

“You’re male.”


“What are you doing to change anything?”

“Nothing,” he said.  “Why should I?  The world was made for males.  Your problems are not my problems.”

She turned, walked away, then released her flying monkeys.



Neon…How they met…


“Did you make that sign?” he asked, starting at the words, as they stood in the street staring at the neon.

“Yes,” she said. “I did.”

“I like it.”

“Thank you.  Without art, the world would be a living hell.”

“The world is a living hell,” he said, turning toward her.

“Yes, but art makes hell bearable.”

He nodded.

“Do you believe everyone is an artist?”

“No.  Do you?” he asked.

“I think everyone is creative.  Some people are naturally creative, talent oozing from every pore.  Others can become more creative, with practice.  Some refuse to accept their creativity, but for the majority of people their creativity is put to sleep by the establishment.  Creativity is not rewarded, but frowned upon.  Those who are able to over come their conditioning, become, while those who believed they have no creativity, no longer recognize it.  But creativity is in the way people dress, decorate their homes, walk, etc. You can’t keep creativity down, at least not all the way.  Not without doing a lot of damage.”

“That’s really dark,” he said, taking a step away from her.

“Maybe.  But it’s still true.”

“So you believe everyone has creativity deep inside of them?”

“I think creativity is what we are.  The establishment thinks creativity, and thinking for one’s self, is dangerous to the point where they do everything possible to take it out of children, so they are more easily controlled.  Creative people are difficult to control, that’s why art, as a way of life, is usually frowned upon by parents and others.  Being an artist can be a tough way to make a living. The men in power hate artists, unless they’re having their picture taken with one of the famous few, during an election year.”

“You should wear black and carry a sign that says, END OF DAYS,” he muttered.

“I tried it, but it’s boring and no one really reads signs anymore.  That’s why I did this one in neon.  People might not read, but they do like lights.”

“That’s true.”

“I know.  That’s why I said it,” she snickered.  “What’s your creative thing?  I mean you dress…kind of cool.”

“Do you want to talk about it over coffee?”

“Sure,” she said.  “Why not.”

“Come on, let’s go to Cup of Delight.”


Photo:  Viktoria Alipatova



How they met…

“Hi,” he said cheerfully.  “Welcome to Paradise.”

“Where is it?”

“Where is what?” he asked.

“Paradise,” she said, looking around.  “All I see is a seedy bar and a tiny dance floor.

“That’s all there is.”

“So there IS no paradise?”

“I guess it depends on what your definition of paradise is,” he said,

“It’s not this.  It would be more of a beach, ocean, palm trees, which are on your sign, by the way.  More like a true warm, sunny, blue sky sandy place, where I could sit and sip cold drinks until there was a spectacular sunset, after which the sky would fill with billions of stars.”

“We don’t have that here.”

“Then it’s false advertising.”

“Maybe someone else’s definition of paradise is different than yours.  Maybe another person would say that their idea of paradise is a smallish room filled with tiny tables and stools, a small dance floor, dim lights, and a little stage for live music on weekends.”

“If that’s a person’s description of paradise, they don’t need much to be happy.:

“Is that aa bad thing? he asked.

“Not necessarily.  Could just be that all that person’s dreams have been destroyed by life and that’s all he or she is left with.”

“That’s sad.”

“So is your sign.  You promise something you can’t deliver.  At least not for me.”

“I can make you a drink and put a palm tree swizzle stick in it.”

She looked at him for a moment and nodded.  “Okay.”

“We’re like the government.  All fake, lies, smoke and mirrors.”

She choked on her drink, and nodded.

“You okay”

She wheezed and squeaked out a small breathless, “Yes.”

“You’re really pretty.”

“Uh, thanks?”

“Do you think beauty is skin deep?”


“So do I.”

“The other kind of beauty people talk about should be called something else.”

“I agree.”

“The concept of beauty changes constantly,” she said.  “The other stuff, kindness, helpfulness, and things, are static in a way.  Those things aren’t on the magazine covers or on the big screen.  Kindness isn’t really beautiful, it’s kindness.”

“I see what you mean.”

“A nice personality is just that.  A beautiful face, or body is just that.  It has to do with looks.  It’s a visual thing you can see without knowing a person, or what they’re like, or knowing anything about whatever you think is beautiful.  People can do beautiful things.  Set the perfect beautiful table, dress beautifully, and any of those things have nothing to do with inner things.  Beauty is an outer thing.  One person can think their partner is beautiful, when no one else does.  Eye of the beholder and all that.  Why are we talking about this.”

“It’s actually a distraction from the fact that this bar isn’t really Paradise.”


“Did it work?”

“Yes.  At least for awhile.”

“Do you want to get married?”

“What’s your name?”


“Thanks Eddie, but I’m not the marrying type.”

“Just thought I’d ask.”

“Appreciate it.”

He nodded.  “What type are you?”

“I don’t have an answer for that.  Still working it out.”

“Do you want to go to see the new exhibit at the Art Institute?”



“Yes.  I’ll meet you there.  Front steps, what time?”

“I’m off that day.  How about noon and we’ll figure out what to do from there.”

She stood up, grabbed the swizzle stick and said, “I’m keeping this.”

He handed her more.  “Take all you want.”

“One’s enough.”

“You didn’t tell me your name.”

“It’s Page.  My mother loved books, so it’s spelled like the page of a book.”


“See you Friday,” she said.

“Can’t wait,” he whispered, watching her walk out the door.



Photo:  Logan Weaver?@LGNWVA




How they met…

Book signage

I need a book,” he said, throwing his backpack onto the counter.  “Will you help me?”

“What kind of book? I need a bit more information.”

“No, you don’t understand,” he said, frustration showing clearly on his face.  “Look at me, and then give me the book you think I need to read.”

“Okay.” she said.  “I can do that.”

He stopped fidgeting and exhaled.  “Thank you,” he sighed.

She took his hand, which he gave willingly, and closed her eyes.  He closed his eyes as well, relaxing into her touch.

“Got it,” she said, letting go.  “Don’t move, I’ll be right back.”

He pushed away from the counter, and watched her disappear into another room.  He walked over to a shelf, and ran his fingers lightly across the spines of the books resting there.  He thought he heard heard the books giggle, but chalked it up to his high level of stress.

“I have it,” she said.  “The perfect book.”

He returned to the counter and started at the cover.  “Are you sure?”

“Positive,” she said.  “It’s about deep and powerful unconditional love, loyalty, terrible loss and pain, and renewal.  It’s not an easy book to read.  It will stay with you.  Forever.”

“If you’re sure,” he said, taking the book.

“I am.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

The bell on the door tinkled as it closed behind him.

She walked over to the shelf he had been looking at and whispered, “You’re not supposed to giggle when customers, tickle you.”  The books giggled again, and she smiled.  “I gave him The Velveteen Rabbit.  it will devastate him, but he will see his own life in the pages, and it will help him heal.”  The books sighed, as she blew them a kiss, and went to help the woman who had just entered the shop.




Photo:  Paolo Chiabrando












How they met…

“Do you know, that if you close all the McDonald’s in Russia, it won’t save a single life?  If you stop Visa, IKEA, or Apple, not a single bullet will be deterred.  Nothing the world is doing to Russia, will stop the murder in the Ukraine.  Nothing.  Eventually, it will inconvenience Russians, but won’t bring back the hundreds of children who have been killed, or the people who have died. So, basically we are doing  NOTHING AT ALL, to help people stay alive.”

“Uh, I’m sorry” he said.  “Is there anything you would like me to do?”

“Like what?” she asked.

“I don’t know.  I think most people feel the way you do, but what can we do?”

“See, that’s the thing.  We are powerless. PEOPLE have nothing to say about what happens around them, or to them.  Don’t you think there’s something really WRONG with that?”

“Yes, I do,” he agreed.

“So there’s nothing we CAN do, but watch people get slaughtered, and watch their country be destroyed.”

“I don’t know what to say, but this is my stop, so I have to get off the bus.”

She nodded at him.  “Have a nice day.”

“I wish I could do something.”

“You can’t.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Me too, but being sorry doesn’t help anyone.”

How they met…

“You left this on the table, at the Deli,” she said, walking up behind him.  “My books are important to me, so I assumed you’d want this one back.”

“Thank you,” he said, shoving the book into his jacket pocket.  “I’m almost finished with it.”

“I could tell, from the position of your bookmark,” she snickered.

He nodded.  “I’m not getting the next book in the series.  I don’t like the main character.”

“Neither did I.  I couldn’t finish the one you’re reading.  I didn’t even make it half way through.”


“She held up her book.  “THE LAZY PURPLE IGUANA ON THE FRONT PORCH.  It’s very political.”

“I don’t know the book, but I like the title.”

“The cover art is fantastic,” she said.  “The woman who did it is a graffiti artist.”

“The art is fantastic,” he agreed, reaching for the book.  “I’m not familiar with the author,” he said.

“Well, you are now,” she said.

“You wrote this?”

“I did.  It’s my third book.”

“Brilliant.  Congratulations.”

“Thank you.”

“Did you always want to be an author?”

“The stories inside of me did, so I just let them have their way.”

“That’s the best reason I’ve ever heard for writing books.”

She shrugged.  “Well, if you have a LOT of stories inside, and you don’t write them down, they begin to pile up and then there’s no room for you.”

“i get that,” he said.

“Well, nice meeting you.  Have a good day,” she said, turning to go.

“Nice meeting you too, but here’s you book.”

“You can keep it, as a reminder not to leave things behind at the Deli, or else strange women will be forced to follow you down the street.”

“Would you care to follow me some more?”

She stared at him, then said, “I think I would.”

“There’s an author reading at Books on Shelves, tomorrow night at seven.  Would you like meet there at six, then go out for coffee?”

“I’ll see you then,” she said, turning away.

“What’s your name,” he called.

“Freedom.  What’s yours?”

“Rebel,” he sighed.

They started laughing, and waved goodbye.



How they met…

“Singing this song is stupid,” she mumbled, holding her hand in front of her candle’s flame.

“Excuse me?” said the guy next to her. “Did you just say singing Imagine, is stupid?”

“Yes and why were you listening to me mumble?”

“Un, how could I not hear you?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “maybe because there are several hundred people standing in the street with us.”

“We are squashed together.  Even with my fingers in my ears, I probably would have heard you.”

“Probably,” she conceded.

“Why do you think singing this is stupid?”

“Because all the people will never do anything together.”

“It’s a song of hope.”

“False hope,” she snapped.  “I think we have enough of that, don’t you?”

“It makes people feel better,” he said.

“Just what we need.  More Soma for the masses.  People need to feel angry, not mellow.  Angry enough to fight back.”

He was quiet for a minute then said.  “I see your point.”

She huffed.  “Can you Imaging no religions?  If that happened we might actually have a chance to move forward and have some kind of peace.”

“No, I can’t imagine it.”

“THAT’S what I mean.”

He nodded.  “That’s true.”

“We need songs that inspire people to fight back and not accept the way they are treated.  We need songs that show how peace is STOLEN from us by governments and popes and…”

“You know what?”

“What?” she said, turning toward him.

“You’re right.”

“I am?”

“Yes,” he said, you are.  “It’s easy to pop a Soma, sing a song that’s ridiculous , and blame others when things fall apart, rather than take responsibility for we allow to happen.”

Her shoulders sagged.  “Thank you,” she whispered.

“By ignoring the truth, we take no responsibility for our own actions and are, therefore, guilty of letting others make decisions for us.  Then we blame the system that we have set up and put into place ourselves.”

She stared up at him, put her arms around him and kissed him.  He kissed her back, the wax from both of their candles dripped down the backs of their jackets and onto the street.

“Wanna get some coffee?” he asked.  “We can talk about how to bring down the establishment.”

She kissed him again, and this time he laughed, when they broke apart.  “You’re starving, to be understood.”

She just stood there, looking at her burned out candle.

“I get it,” he said.  “Let’s go.”

They went to Nora’s Hot Pot and Pie Deli, where they talked, over steaming hot coffee and blueberry pie and ice cream, until closing time.

His name was Adam, her name was Eve and they were both allergic to apples, but they were the start of something big.


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