Movement and Its Parts

On any given summer day @ the onset of sunset, an ice cream truck drives through NELA [North East Los Angeles].

So too, in NYC .

In NELA; the anticipatory experience of ice cream involves a melody, calling young and old, to its cool, melt-able magic —and is intermittently interrupted by the parrot-inspired, persistent sing-song :  “Hello! Hello!”

 Perhaps, I will become accustomed to it.  But so far, I prefer the Mister Softee tune; that audio track of my childhood which brings to the fore those occasions when I succeeded at locating my mother for the sole purpose of obtaining ice cream money.

 I was not always successful.  My Woodside, Queens block sometimes put me at a disadvantage.  If I was, for instance, at Elizabeth Villa’s house and the Mister Softee truck appeared at the other end of the block; I had a fair distance to cover.

Bolting from Elisabeth’s house, across the street to mine, required time enough,  but continuing on to reach the truck before it left the block, was in and of itself, its own unknown; mostly, at  that time, powered by the geometries of my mother’s mind, mood and generosity.

Measuring  differences, assessing truths, even at  the level of ice cream — between NELA and New York City, as I have done,  mindful, of my geo-tagged, migratory struggle;  whereby, certain sunsets, say Friday’s of Eagle Rock / Highland Park appear—  call attention to how things are — And how they are not.

Beyond its demarcation in time, the sunset I underscore was special because of its proximity to my new home — Los Angeles.

A  New Yorker like me does not go the distance, enough to begin again in a city like Los Angeles, without drawing upon one’s imagination and discernment.  Dissimilar in tone, layout, attitude, vibe, fauna; the conversation I have been having with myself as my LA roots take shape, has in part, been fueled by this question:  How much of the New Yorker within me will remain intact?

Charting a future course; a direction, distinctly our own is reliably fraught with difficulties.  Paired with our wildest imaginings, we are faced with certain truths about ourselves.   If we are willing, we ask questions, inwardly.   Sometimes, in thinking about our future, we give an accounting of where we’ve been.

One of those recent recollections concerns a summer past, when ice cream trucks were part of my after- 5:00 milieu:

Absent federal funding, the Summer Work Training Program at Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine would terminate; our lives; our sense of Identity, spilling out into the ethos of New York City.

At once catalyzed, transformed by the reach of government, we would also know, unequivocally, our share of its potency along the metrics of its absence.

Rusk held weight.  It was an anchor for my parents; full of rehabilitative specialists eager to service their daughter.  With every visit, my reservoir of rehabilitative medicine grew; I became ever more [as my medical files fattened] ‘functional’.

At Rusk, I had been assessed, examined, probed, questioned; all for what set me apart.

Rooted were we at Rusk, our Disability real if not to ourselves then to the eyes of government-backed administrators tasked with assessing qualifying categories along the spectrum of physical difference and ability.

Consciousness had come.   I was emboldened by knowing my body in a way I had not previously.  There was to be, for instance, no more negotiating my belonging.  There was a word for me:  Handicapped.

It was a belonging borne from the normative:
Two hands —Two feet.
Not me.

Beyond the perimeter of my flesh, the limitations I would forever face, whatever they were, by any normative measure, had taken on a charge.   Categorically, I was actionable.
My new-found self-awareness set my consciousness in motion — it was a defining summer of inward growth having everything to do with exterior facts.    So too, has this season been.

This blog’s intent, from its beginnings, has been to encourage its readers to examine the range and impact of technology and innovation on human life.   New York City, my long-time home, has been a significant and vibrant palette; where I have often perceived the discipline of Anthropology to be helpful when capturing images, reaching for nuances, distilling differences and telling stories.

The terrain will be different in Los Angeles [and its environs] but my purpose remains steadfast.


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