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Hug #21

November 22, 2010

Hug #21
Wednesday, November 17 2-3 pm
Canal and Madison



What if, when we’re angry, we replace swear words with the word hug

What the hug are you doing?
Son of a hug!
Mother hugger!
Like hug you will.
Jesus hug christ

A quiet, grey hug. It’s become less and less strange to stand and embrace Sara for an hour. It’s almost the norm. It’s returning home. Our mentor and friend, Brian Saner, asked us recently if we think the hugs are changing us physiologically. I think perhaps they are. Our bodies seem to fit together better then they did in the beginning.

A quiet, grey hug. Suits pass by and barely notice us. People scurrying from one place to another. We are interfering with a closed circuit. We create a small snag in a tight weave. The snag is so small that most people do not even notice it. Or perhaps they are not looking for snags.

A woman who is hunched over and has white hair pitches a lawn chair near our sign. She asks a passerby to hand her a flyer so she doesn’t have to get out of her seat. She reads the flyer but never makes eye contact with us. Several people who take flyers look to her for further explanation. They receive none.

A construction worker comes over to ask us what we are doing. He asks if the hug is for us. I say that it is, but it is for other people as well. It’s also a way for us to meet and talk with people we wouldn’t otherwise. “Like me?” he says. Later, towards the end of our hug, the construction workers who have been diligently working near by begin to get rowdy. “Woah. Reach out and touch someone. Watch out!” They talk and joke loudly. I am amazed that they are so threatened by a harmless hug. Does loving, non-sexual touch challenge their masculinity? They assert their dominance over the situation by loudly mocking us.

But we do not budge. We barely bat an eye.

I am cold as soon as we separate.

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