What am I doing here?
I am by no means questioning my presence in New York City. I will forever be grateful to experience its magnificence. The question is far more existential.
So what the fuck else is new on this trip?
Let me backtrack and explain the experience I had today.
Spent most of the day at the Met Museum of Art. Thoroughly enjoyable and it will get a post entirely of its own. From there I made my way into Central Park with two destinations in mind: Strawberry Fields and the Dakota Hotel.
I'm a big Beatles fan so it was something of a pilgrimage. My own visit to Mecca or the crypt of the Archbishop of Canterbury. John Lennon lived in the Dakota Hotel for many years. That is until December of 1980 when a lunatic with a gun took him from us. I shall refrain from turning this post into a platform for gun control. All I will say is that Mark Chapman needs to be in jail the rest of his life. He's safer there.
Instant Karma's gonna get him if I don't get him first.
The journey to the sacred spots was arduous. Central Park is a veritable wilderness of hanging willows, vines, rambles, and thickets. I was in dress shoes. Rain came pouring down, turning the path to mud and the humidity up to 11.
It fucking reminded me of 'Nam.
In time I made it to Strawberry Fields. The memorial is the picture at the top of the post. Beatles fans were camped out around it, singing songs and playing guitar.
Nice and happy. It was the next part that held the potential to be troubling. But I had to do it. I had to give respect. So I went across Central Park West to the Dakota.
I circled the block first, uncertain of just where the awful place was. It's not like I'd been there before today. Half a block in and I knew I was on the wrong side of the building. A sloped drive led into a cavernous dungeon of a parking garage. I cut across, thinking the worst that could happen was I'd be arrested by security or hit by a truck. Either would've been fine.
Emerging on the the other end of the Dakota, I saw this:
That's where it happened. The world lost an artistic genius to a senseless and barbaric act. Long ago in Cleveland, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There was a special John Lennon exhibit at the time. It included the glasses he wore on the night he was killed.
You could still see the blood splatter on the lenses.
Those glasses just kept sitting square center frame in my mind's eye as I knelt in quiet.
John Lennon was renowned for his devotion to peace and love, especially in his final years. He was, however, very troubled. His was a tumultuous life. There was a darkness to him, a wicked intelligence. You can hear it in songs like "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" and "I Am the Walrus." They're full of madness.
That's not a bad thing.
He was a notoriously poor sufferer of fools. If you were being inane, mundane, or just plain stupid, he'd let you know. In fact, Beatles management was often glad they had Paul to put in front of the press because John would toy with the reporters and mock their silly drivel.
I admire John Lennon. So much so that while within the spiritual aura of the man, I began to question, well...everything.
In the face of such a creative force, I can't help but ask myself how I measure up. The sad answer is, "not very well." I mean, what do I do? I blog and get a whole 20 visitors a day...if I'm lucky. I write stories that no one ever sees or get rejected outright. I know the words to every Duran Duran song and the lines to the entire original Star Wars trilogy. Oh but wait, I do have a full run of Batman comics from 1988-1999.
Then it makes no sense, does it? Why is John gone but someone like me is here? I contribute nothing. He had so much more to give while I just take up space and suck oxygen away from all other living things.
"And what have you done? Another year older and a new one just begun."
Despite it all, that's how it is. Like one of my brothers says, "fair" is just a place you see pigs and horses. I hope that he is finally at peace and composing new songs somewhere with George Harrison.
Anyway, he was an amazing artist and in the end a very gentle soul. Here's my selfish tribute to him: