friendly me

Today I walked into yoga feeling pretty chipper. I saw my friend and gave her a kiss and a hug, like we always do. Then another friend walked in and the same thing happened so then, another old friend at the end of the room said, Hey, where’s my hug and kiss – it was turning regular old love line. As I was hugging this very tall male friend,  I had a Proustian moment (Hey, I’m allowed to say that, seeing as I have actually read all six volumes of In Search of Lost Time – with my professor Bruce Hainley, who is incidentally talking about art and sex this weekend in London).

I suddenly remembered my first childhood dilemma. It was in Chicago, in the elevator going up to the 14th floor apartment where we lived. I must have five years old – because the daily elevator ride was part of my exciting venture out to kindergarten (where people, real live people spoke English like the people on TV). When we got to my floor, I turned and hugged my friend and her mother good bye. Then I looked around at the rest of the people in the elevator…  and I felt compelled to hug each and every one of those strangers. So I did. My mother waited. Somebody else held the elevator door open and in turn I went up to every strange adult in that elevator and gave them a hug. A solemn moment. I felt a lot of responsibility for those tall adults. Everybody seemed to need a hug.

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