“Once I was walking into the Staples Center, and I look next to me and Ringo Starr is walking right beside me. I’d been working on a project with his son, so to make conversation, I said: ‘I’ve really been enjoying getting to know your son.’ I said it very casually, but he got very reflective and said: ‘Maybe it’s time I got to know him too.’”
“Well it’s very strongly related to income, but only to a certain amount. After about $20,000 a year, it becomes much more dependent on the amount of time we spend with family and friends. This is something we seem to intuitively know at the beginning and end of our lives— but lose sight of in the middle.”
He told me he was on his way to a labor law class, so I asked him if he was studying to be a lawyer. He said:
“No, I’m an electrician, actually. I just want to have as much knowledge as possible so that I can give good advice to my family and community. I didn’t really have access to much good advice when I was growing up. People think that kids become drug dealers and gang members because of rap, or movies, or video games. But it’s actually because of bad advice. They see criminals with money and nice things, and those are their examples of success. So they look to them for advice.”
Today I had the honor of speaking at the UNIS conference at the UN. After I was finished, three students recited original poems from the stage. One of them really blew me away:
Overqualified yet underachieving It’s singing delightfully off key to the radio Yet pitch perfect in the shower It’s spending a half hour in the morning Perfecting your messy bun It’s gelling bedhead It’s lifting weights yet covering yourself up in turtlenecks It’s being a closet philosopher but blaming lackluster grades on “not trying?” It’s tumbling, sharing, instagramming The perpetual pursuit of cool but aloof, hard to get, wit, sarcasm, invincibility.
It’s the cycle of hurting Fixing loving hating wanting lying… and then telling the truth. It sucks. But perhaps when we’re older a new set of problems will cause us to miss those of adolescence. So I guess we should learn to love the pain, Since it’s pain that allows us to live and love radically, feel monumentally, and smell the coffee or watch the stars, or hear the music that we might later pass by in the rush of the real world.
For now we are poets And activists Astronauts Bloggers Writers Photographers Teachers Engineers and Inventors For now, we are what we want to be. Some say the grass is greener on the other side but I’d disagree: I say our grass fluorescent.
“We were just at the playground and my daughter tried to get on the tire swing with another child, but the mother shooed her away. So I was just explaining to her that she shouldn’t spend energy on people who don’t want to accept her, because some people are just dicks. Whoops, sorry baby, Mama just cursed.”
Meet Mohsin Shezad. I left my iPhone in the backseat of Mohsin’s cab on Thursday. When he discovered it, he drove back to where he’d dropped me off, and spent several minutes looking for me. When I finally called an hour later, he was all the way across town, but drove 30 minutes to meet me. Then he tried his damnedest to refuse a reward, saying: “Please sir, your fare was enough. Please sir, no.”
“I don’t got no struggles, man. I got divorced six years ago. Then one day I looked up my first love on Facebook, and she was still single. Now I’m marrying the girl I lost my virginity to, and hopefully we’ll grow old together.”