Avi Shimon Christopherson was back in Far Rockaway this weekend, sporting a freshly groomed beard and a minimally withered figure. Nutritious eating is not the hallmark lifestyle staple in Tsfat that it is supposed to be here—I suppose a box of Wheaties and apples don’t mix well with mysticism and soul connectivity. Said assumptions in hand, I stood in a living room in Far Rockaway on Friday night, white-clad and looking very much like the captain of a secular Jewish cruise ship. I lifted my eyes across the room, where Mr. Christopherson was in a transfixed fit of prayer, and wondered where all my inspiration had gone. Certainly, I thought, a spatial reunion with my foremost spiritual mentor should provide some clues as to why I went from cave-room hippie to neo-college boat impresario. Unfortunately, my gaze revealed nothing, and I remained as bereft as I came, not so much searching for answers, but half expecting them to be there anyway. Like an anti-terror agent in Baghdad, I wasn’t necessarily hoping for a development, but I was puzzled as to why there weren’t any. Not distraught, not forlorn, and far from broken, but underwhelmed.
My languishing spirit not yet explicated, I commandeered my outfit to my dinner destination just as a pair of borrowed flip-flops began torturing the web of skin between my toes. I drank wine. I ate chicken. I had dessert. I pretended to take an interest in politics. I defended Snoop Dogg. I realized that, no matter where I go, somebody wants to know if I’ve ever met a rock star. And that, whether I say yes or no, that somebody assumes I have, and wants to know, further, if I can introduce them to a rock star. And that, whether I say I can or I can’t, that person forgets about the whole thing in 10 minutes. That’s hardly surprising, with the shelf life on celebrity worship being what it is, but it’s mildly insulting, since when they forget that they enjoined me to do something, their forgetting disenfranchises me, both in conversation and in general. Since it happens so frequently, furthermore, I find myself thoroughly disenfranchised, such that I’m almost sure I have a sadistic, festering knot of identity issues that I have to suppress. And who has the time?
I’ll try to catch Avi Shimon Christopherson at least once more in the upcoming weeks, and perhaps a few times overall before he lands back in the Mediterranean sun, in the comfortable, charged pocket whence he came. With non-existent expectations and a cynical ethos, I will not be disappointed—regardless of whether I find the answers I may or may not be looking for. I just want to spend a few more Friday nights atop marble parallelograms in a Long Island living room, dressed like a strip club mogul and ruing my religious indolence. If, in that moment, an answer truncates the interminable procession of unanswerable spiritual questions, I will not be upset. But I will not be thrilled, either, because with clarity comes responsibility. And who has the time?