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2003-12-26

IMPORTANT NEW NOTES FROM JUSTIN:

Ah yes, I am finally back in Florida after 16 days home for the holidays. I'd been itching to get traveling again, and it feels good to be out here. Plus, it's WARM! I'm trying to keep life low key so I can catch up on the last two or three weeks of writing. Let me tell you, Florida is the place to do it! It's a pleasant place to be, as long as you don't mind the Christians everywhere.

So, is there no end to this journey? There definitely seems to be no end in sight. There are so many people to meet and enjoy, so many places to fall in love with, and so much to share and learn. So I continue to move with the winds; I continue to entice the winds to follow me.

So, one of the things about this experiment in love and motion and travel is that I have—against my will—assumed the challenging variable I like to call 'being broke'. So, that means I am doing this crazy trip while living, ahem, very frugally. For example, my slutty pants that used to be tight aren't tight anymore—that kind of frugal, you know?

So, what does this mean? Well, staying in a hotel every night is out of the question. I am looking for nice, fun people who can put me up for a few nights and really host me. This would involve me staying at your house for a few days, showing me a good time (since I like good times), feeding my stupid mouth (in an attempt to make my pants fit me again), and whatever general mischief we can get into. And, the best part is that I get to learn about your life and write about our times together! That is part of the experiment, see. I am meeting with people I've never met before and living some life with them. If you think it might be fun to host me for a day or two or three, email me at justingrace AT mac DOT com.

Please make sure to include your address and phone number in your email to me so I can be in touch!

I am especially looking for places to stay in the southeast USA and everywhere on the East Coast. I will be traveling all over the USA, though, so email me no matter where you are because I will probably come visit! Here are the places I will be in the next few weeks that I am still looking for a place to stay at:

• Alabama
• Florida
• Tennessee
• North/South Carolina
• Georgia
• Virginia

Please contact me ASAP if you want to hang out!



US Tour Day 103, Part 4: Life's Applause

In the evening Andie took me out to sushi at a place called Blowfish. Famous for serving fugu—meat from the dangerously poisonous blowfish—the restaurant tops the cool chart with hip staff, creative dishes, and walls covered with framed, original cells from Japanese animé.

Towards the end of the meal, the manager approached our table and asked if we would like anything else. Well, we had been waffling over whether to order one more thing. She told us that the sushi chef had seen us and thought we were 'the most stylish people in the restaurant'. So, he had made a special dish for us as a gift! She wanted to know if she could bring it out to us. Both immensely flattered, how could we not accept such an offer?


Andie and I with a very sharp, very generous sushi chef at Blowfish, San Francisco, California.

What she brought was that night's special—an elegant plate of white tuna sashimi, pan–seared with a garlic sauce. The snowy cuts of fish were organized in a very deliberate–looking spiral pattern and garnished with slivers of green onions and radish, giving the food a very modern look. Flood warnings were issued in our mouths as our salivary glands reacted to urgent messages from our optical and olfactory senses.

I laughed out loud at the taste, laughs of joy. And I laughed at life, for lack of a better response to something so fun and funny.

Andie and I batted conversation back and forth over our tiny table, mostly observations about how great the food was or how great our lives were at that moment. We paid our check but made no rush to leave. The manager returned to make sure everything was to our liking and see if we wanted any dessert. Flashing a look of defeat to one another, we started to respond when the manager gave us the familiar look that says I would like to bring you something and it's on the house.

"Maybe some Thai iced tea ice cream, perhaps? Would that be ok?" I laughed out another yes. Beaming, I shrugged at Andie like a shy performer would after the best show he'd ever put on. The more you think about it, the more you see we really are the shy performers. And—if we're doing it right and doing our best—our lives are the best show we've ever put on. And, the little things like this—free sashimi, the Thai iced tea ice cream, hugs, compliments, gifts—they are the applause, the recognition, the universe's way of saying, thank–you, you put on a great show up there tonight.


Thai iced tea ice cream topped with a cylinder of spun, crystallized sugar.

So here's to all the applause that life gives us. I hope we may always have eyes to see and ears to hear and a soft, open heart to accept the cheers life gives us as we walk across its grand stage.


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