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Hug #16 San Diego

October 23, 2010

Hugging, how different for me. Yet this hug seems to have a purpose. A reason to hug my daughter for an hour. Some preparation was needed. I had no red clothing. The day before Aurore and I were in Oceanbeach and went to a DAV (Disabled American Veterans) store. This was a huge store and I quickly became excited, imaging the red outfits I would discover. I found a sleeveless red dress for our hug.

Aurore brought her red clothing with her from Chicago. Wednesday October 13th we dressed in our red clothes and got four red balloons from Vons (grocery store). We had decided the day before to go to San Diego Bay near the kissing statue. Across from the Navy ship USS Midway.

We arrived and parked near the bay. As I was getting out of the car, a women came up to me and asked if I was going to a wedding. I told her that my daughter and I were going to hug for an hour, right in this area. She seemed a bit confused and walked away. I on the other hand was so excited! How many people would notice us and ask about the hug? Of course the red outfit, red balloons and standing for a long time is very noticeable.

We found a place to stand and put a balloon on each of our wrists. Now the hug would begin. Could I stand for an hour? Would many people pass on a Wednesday morning? Was it going to be too sunny? these were my concerns. We started the hug and I watched many people pass us and go to the huge kissing statue. One women came up to us and said “Oh I did not know if you were real”, and walked away. Another couple were busy taking photos of the kissing statue, and the man came up to us and the women took pictures of him standing near us. She did not say a word and neither did the man who was just near us. What will they do with that photo? Too bad that he did not talk to us, we could have explained the reason we were there.

The first fifteen minutes go by, and then another fifteen minutes. Both Aurore and I are surprised by the number of people who are passing us and not saying a word. I would guess that 75% of the people walking around this area are tourists. And most of them are here to see the exhibits of the park, such as the kissing statue. So perhaps our hug just seems like another item to be viewed. This performance is not really odd or different, we are here in Southern California.  Natives and visitors are exposed to thousands of different situations, nothing really surprises anyone.

Finally one man came up to us and said “I do a lot of that! (hugging) I have four daughters! What a wonderful statement, I felt my heart grow and my hug tighten. We asked this man to take our photos. And he did. So was this going to be our only contact to a rather cold audience? another fifteen minutes go by, and then another fifteen minutes. The hour is now finished, and I really could stand and hug my daughter, friend or even a neighbor for an hour. Did we make a difference to any one that day? That really was not the purpose for me. I felt that I wanted to spend the time with my daughter and experience a dramatic hug just for a short time. Thanks Aurore, I would do this again.

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