Friday, October 28, 2011

Brief encounters

This is one of those days when I walk through the door, strip off all my clothes, plop down in front of my computer and start writing because it was a day worth writing about.

First, to catch you loyal readers up to date - Tuesday's Open Love NY meeting was our most well-attended ever, with 52 being the official count. It's the first time we've broken 50 people. Wednesday was our women's group meeting, where only Sylwia, Loli and a new member Claudia showed up. I know Claudia from Open Love NY, she came and hung out with me at Poly Pride in Central Park. Even though we had a small group, there were lots of laughs. We're going to try and do something special for next month's meeting, but we'll see if we can pull it off.

Tonight I was headed home on the train and there was a large group of female Princeton students all headed into the city together. Two of them sat in the seats facing me and carried on a conversation while I worked on my computer. They talked about dating and boys and mutual friends, and one of them just broke up with a guy because he wanted to have an open relationship. I took all this in without commenting because I thought it would be awkward to enter the conversation and tipping off that I had been listening all this time. But truthfully, unless I put on my headphones, I couldn't help but hear them since they were facing me and talking less than two feet away.

It was a strange experience to hear this very intimate conversation between two total strangers and not participate at all. Normally I would have listened to my iPod, but I found their conversation interesting because frankly, I rarely hear straight vanilla people talking about relationships anymore. Everyone who talks about relationships within my earshot these days is polyamorous, queer, kinky, or some combination of all three.

As we got closer to Penn Station, I shut down my laptop and just looked out the window, continuing to listen. Eventually, I did find a graceful way to enter the conversation and we introduced ourselves. One of the young women, Elle, talked about how she wished she could have more straight guy friends, so I suggested maybe she should pretend to be having a long distance relationship with someone so that guys she meets would know she's taken. That somehow led to my talking about polyamory and telling them about Open Love NY.

I gave them each a membership bracelet I had in my backpack and we talked about that up until the train pulled into the station. As the train slowed, the other girl (a Polish beauty with the face of a supermodel) asked how I got to be the president of Open Love NY, and I told her that was way too long a story for the time we had left, gesturing to the platform outside the window.

It proved to be a bit of foreshadowing for my second random encounter of the evening when I went to Papacookie. Kacey's in Amsterdam this week, but Lourdes was there, and Storm came later with Caroline (pronounced Karo-leene in the French way), whom I met at SlutWalk a few weeks ago. Of course it's always a pleasure to see Jonathan, Richard and Miriam, and I met a girl named Jill in full Halloween facepaint looking like a skeleton and wearing a black short tophat. I probably won't recognize her next time I see her.

I was standing at the table when the woman next to me asked me if I'd ever been to a gallery in Chelsea, a name that didn't sound familiar. And funnily enough, although I've been to many art galleries, I've only been to one located in Chelsea (although Kacey did try to take me once, but they were all closed) and that was for Puck's 19th birthday party and the first public event for Open Love NY ("Polina's birthday, part 3" - Nov. 16, 2009).

So I told her (Jesse) I was at the Lyons Weir Gallery in 2009 and that's where she recognized me - she was one of the few random people who were hanging around the gallery that night while Puck, Laura and I were setting up for the event. She had been visiting a friend who worked at the gallery, but none of them were associated with Open Love NY. I was flabbergasted that she recognized me from what could have only been a moment's glance, two years ago, without our even being introduced. She said it might be that she's a painter in her leisure time, so she has a painter's eye for faces. She introduced me to her boyfriend and we chatted about other things before the performances started.

So it turns out that a few hours after someone asks me about my origins with Open Love NY, I meet someone from outside the poly community who happened to be present at the very beginning. How extraordinary is that?