Just a few posts ago, I walked along the Mill district while the Mississippi River flowed on my left. During that Sunday walk, I discovered a Wednesday outdoor concert sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society.
I had mentioned it to Betsy, and she was completely on board for the downtown Minneapolis outing.
We danced part of Wednesday night away in the rustic section of the Mill City Museum (see right image just above first divider).
The band started up around 6 p.m. and would play until just past 8 p.m.
We arrived 20-minutes into the show; Betsy dropped me off as she found parking.
Numbers wise, I could not tell you how many people were there; however, I felt complete joy as soon as I walked in the venue.
Hearing Salsa music and seeing Salsa dancing elicits that sudden joy from within.
Sometimes, I forget my Latin heritage.
Not that I mean to ignore it; it's just not something I think about every moment of the day.
Kind of like having arms (Zadie Smith memory); we don't really think about having arms.
Then, I hear the music, and I am transported to another place.
Memories from my youth return: when I would attend family gatherings and watch all the adults (sometimes drunk... sometimes not) shake and jiggle.
Sometimes I felt embarrassed; sometimes not.
Memories from Chicago return: when I, too, would dance nearly every night of the week. It was my ritual. No drinking required.
I could forget who I was; I could relinquish control; I could experience joy.
There I was feeling all of those sensations once again.
I walked along the perimeter of the venue while keeping an eye out for Betsy.
We watched the stage and the dancers.
Then, she began to nudge me.
"Go on... get up there."
After some prompting, I gingerly walked towards the stage.
Within a few minutes, a man in a sweat-drenched shirt asked me to dance.
We began to move.
After the dance, I thanked him and walked back over to Betsy.
She had snapped some photos and had recorded video of my rhythmic rendezvous.
Standing side-by-side, Betsy and I swayed and gyrated and giggled.
Observers gawked at those of us below from above.
Then, it ended.
Afterwards, we walked to a nearby restaurant and enjoyed a delicious Thai meal.
During our feast, we talked about time, specifically time-off, and how little time workers receive in the United States.
Maybe it's one week after one-year, or maybe it's two-weeks.
Employers seem to dictate the months one can and cannot take off from work.
Can authentic rejuvenation take place after five or ten days away?
What if one's employer still requires availability via technology?
Just in case...
Betsy's observations on time encouraged me to analyze the quote I chose for this blog.
The Easy Rider quote...
"It's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace."
Rather than extracting more keen observations, I came up with more questions.
My apologies for the rhetorical onslaught:
-What does it mean to be free?
-How do we buy and sell ourselves?
-Who (and/or what) buys and sells us?
-What platforms might we consider marketplaces, today?
Here, I am approaching my second month -- EIGHT WEEKS -- of time off; I am definitely rejuvenated, yet I want this gig to continue.
I am willing it into being.
Lately, I have been uncovering ways (with input from others) in which I can prolong this motorcycle journey.
In my world, being free is having the opportunity to create (blog and photograph), to explore (motorcycle ride), and to be curious (meet people and new places).
Although I don't see myself as being bought and sold, I know I have to sell who I am to others.
I have to sell my dream... I have to sell my adventure.
Selling means having another free (and/or inexpensive) place to stay which in turn translates into more time on the road, so I can nurture and cultivate this dream.
Ultimately, my marketplace has many platforms: this blog, Facebook, and word-of-mouth (from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers).
When I first created this blog, I wanted a quote I could identify with... a quote I could relate to...
I also wanted something connected to motorcycle riding.
Although the movie Easy Rider does not exactly fit my profile, I connected with its ideological message, and I connected with one of its characters, namely George (played by Jack Nicholson).
Yet, I do not share all of George's cynicism.
This country has been very generous to me.
People have been very generous to me.
Rather, I hope George's words encourage further introspection... leading to deeper questions about who we are and where we are going.
Obviously, we need time to do all this.
Until we meet again, my friend.