The next night, my son and I were parked illegally on Market Street, dangerously close to a bus stop. We just left a dinner thing, and I wasn’t sure how long my son was going to last at another consecutive event. Well, I thought, we can just run in and out of Gallery Aferro for Dominique Duroseau’s “Black Things in White Spaces.” This whole even was just one weekend out of the year. Might as well take advantage of it. There were people everywhere. I liked some of the stuff, but I felt like I couldn’t stand still long enough to really look at anything. I quickly realized that it was weird to have a toddler at a night time art gallery opening.
Just as I was on my way out the door, an older woman started talking to me about my son. How old is he? What’s his name? Does he sleep at night? That was her most important question, she said, because all three of her kids never slept through the night as babies. That changed everything for her. She still couldn’t sleep at night. I was like wow they ruined your whole life. We laughed. She told me about another gallery around the corner. I said I was parked illegally outside and that I wasn’t sure how long I should really sit there. She said I was probably fine. She turned around to say hi to someone else (she seemed to know everyone, including me now). I switched my son to my other hip and walked around the corner.
At Index Art Center for “Under The Same Sun: Democratic Spaces.” My son and I did our little lap, looking around at stuff in the main room. We were about to walk out, and then I heard someone calling my name out. It was my neighbor. So we turned around and talked for a little while.
After what felt like a half hour of standing there, she said the stuff on one of the walls was hers. I couldn’t believe she’d let us go on and on about nothing without telling me she had work up. I hadn’t even stepped all the way into that front room she was in. I told her to hold on and walked in to check out her stuff. It was cool. A bunch of city landscapes and graffiti and color. There were like fifty pieces up.
She knew more people there than me, so by the time I finished telling her how much I liked her stuff, someone else was trying to talk to her about something else. My son and I walked back to the main room to look around again. That’s when he saw two other kids who were maybe seven and nine. He followed one of them around for a minute and wanted to drink his water. So I grabbed him and we went to the bar so I could get a beer and get him a water.
After that, he went looking for those kids again. He was finally led into a little office on the left of the room. I followed him over there. There were three adults talking at the desk and the three kids were touching random stuff. I stood in the doorway. Then one of the kids slammed the door shut. I reached for the knob and it was locked. I tried to play it cool and just stood there waiting.
A minute later, two of the adults walked out. The one guy who was left in there was setting up a Playstation for the kids to play with. He couldn’t figure it out, so he handed it to me and walked out. So I sat down and put Pacman on. The older kid lost interest pretty quickly. Soon enough, the three of them were standing by the other side of the desk huddled over an Ipad.
Yup, I thought, this sounds about right. At some semi-fancy art show, but I end up in the office with the kids playing Pacman.
On my way out of the office after making some small talk with the kid’s parents, who is the husband of one of the artists, this guy walked up to me acting like we’ve met before. I wasn’t going to let him live out that lie with me. I didn’t play those games. He didn’t like that I wasn’t playing along. He was cute, but I hate lines. And since he was cute, I would have remembered meeting him before.
While we interacted (that’s about all you could call it), another guy came up to us and asked if we could at least talk over there because his student was about to perform and he wanted people to watch. A younger guy set up a keyboard on a stool and started rapping and playing at the same time. It was good as hell. I said so. The one line guy agreed. Then he started playing another song and it had to do with god so I tuned out.
We didn’t stay much longer than that. I’d looked at every piece a million times, my son was running around, and I had time for one more beer. Outside, there were a bunch of people smoking cigarettes, which was lame. But they were all looking at me like I was lame for having a two year old with me on Washington Ave around midnight. At the corner was a group of older guys who seemed to be rolling up a blunt. But maybe they weren’t. Two guys were smoking a blunt at a bus stop.
We went home, I smoked a little clip on the way inside, and took a shower. When I got out, I walked into the living room to find my son playing his little keyboard on the couch.