CHRIS BATTAGLIA

Thoughts

IT MUSCLE

From November, 2013:

On a clear, dusk-painted night scene, Peter, Matt, and I stumble over our feet with ecstasy. We embrace. It’s one of those holds from the middle person, in between the two others flanked at either side. Our weight is borne down by cajoling limbs that feel like brotherhood could be the only reason they weighed so heavily. Peter grabs us in fraternal chokehold in my city – New York – because I’ve just expressed myself realizing an “a-ha!” moment. Gentlemen, I’m so happy you’re here, because this day has confirmed my desire and drive to live and work alongside you two,sometime in our futures. This sentiment felt like my “IT MUSCLE” hard at work.

C. Peter Ferguson and Matthew Miller ambled wearily – resolutely – eastbound on New York’s East 4th street towards my apartment. These caballeros came by way of Toronto from Argentine Patagonia after 13 months of living, working, and adventuring in South America. Their collective story is not as impressive as the storied journies that paved the way to my Lower Manhattan doorstep.

Already an early morning, I watch my dear friend Ben shuffle out the door, after 7am breakfast tacos, coffee and costume-loaning. (Bushwick was too far a commute to undertake at 3:30am the night before, so he slept on the couch). The gently misting Manhattan sky colored Alphabet City a grey cast of light that shone upon my friends. Having traveled many long and arduous plane hours, they begin their North American acclimatization. What came of the boys’ arrival was not your typical New York City day – but it’s the one I desire more regularly.

The boys speak of their normal cuisine choices at the grocery store, but there is no time for shopping. Matt and Peter welcome a “kitchen sink” salad faster than mice to cheese. Chile offered little in the way of square meals akin to the fine fare these Sacramento natives might appreciate. Hours of storytelling and catch-up ensue.

Long-awaiting a trim, Peter beseeches me for my – dare I say famous? – haircutting hands. I cut their hair, but not the grizzly beards adorning the lower three-quarters of each gentleman’s handsome faces. We eat, talk, and spend all of New York’s daylight that afternoon inside. This setting revitalized my soul. The kept company that day felt a blessed way. It gave me the feels.
We all rotate moments to hop in the shower – washing away the dismembered hairs and impurities that might have been present from restless travel or more basically: Manhattan living. The boys need cell phones and desire the company of some college friends to take full advantage of their brief and momentous Tri-state arrival. So we forge our way down Houston Street, back to where the IT MUSCLE started to twitch.

The welcome-home dinner follows successful errand completion. Incredibly satisfying, our meal is complete with a gracious guest presence, fresh and home-cooked food, and a warm, accepting space to house all of these essential elements. I am humbled by how special the day and evening plays out. When communicating this near 18-hour euphoria to an understanding coworker the following day, only one word sufficed: perfect.

The IT MUSCLE pulses profound, but never to a predictable cadence, nor with capabilities of absolute preciseness. But its very nature relies on a person’s ability to stay tuned to its twitch, consume the beauty, and act on its benevolent appearance. The IT MUSCLE demands one to fight for their own life. Testing a person through physical or emotional challenge seems key to its success. I recognize the IT MUSCLE in everyday, thorough other people, innate/instinctual feeling, or “a-ha” moments.

I proclaim to “feel the universe aligning” a lot these days. This very familiar sentiment has coursed through my veins before. After filming and editing a friend’s sister’s wedding into the neatly packaged four minute featurette, I set the final timeline to a very specific song. One that is so perfectly and synergistically aligned with the visual companion, it’s as if they were made for each other.  An old friend from more youthful days happens to reach out to the bride to congratulate her for her spectacular wedding, whose nature he viewed through the highlight film. That he saw online. Because he professionally manages the song’s musician. And he saw the connection made between my social media outreach and the film link. This constitutes a non-negligible universe alignment. When this manager relays the message to the bride that he would share my work with the artist whose music I used coincidentally proves more than “fortuitous.”

Wedding film here (https://vimeo.com/77317099) scored to Matt Corby's "Resolution."

Summer of 2009 tested my mettle and re-calibrated my moral compass. Patagonia, Inc. maintained a retail location on Main Street in Santa Monica, CA, that found reason enough to seasonally employ an eager and rising college junior. Forever changed after this summer, I find myself back in the habit on the Upper West Side of New York City – a respected retail location among the entire lot of stores around the US. Things couldn’t feel better.

Some say how the people with whom you work make your job the positive or negative experience on a day-to-day basis. At Patagonia, I have found a small handful of people with whom I long to remain forever close. One of those few hails from my 2009 retail stint. Will is a few years older than I am. He effortlessly recounts myriad fascinating life experiences and tall tales – the likes of which I dream to have one day. Will is the guy from whom I hear very sporadically over four years. We share intensely similar humor and virtues. Because of Will, I have since met and befriended a handsome folk outfit of four sisters from Cape Cod, MA – The Parkington Sisters. These ladies fill my heart whole with their energy, music, and familial bond.     

Because of Will, I am inspired to declutter and downgrade my technological life. He hopped trains across the country with his two closest childhood friends and rock-and-roll front man brother. He has farmed in Canada, woodworked in New Mexico, and most recently taught in schools in the Bahamas. But he maintains a flip phone and makes me chuckle at the thought of someone who still places a phone call to hear one ring tone, hang up , and await your return call to avoid any charges. He doesn’t allow an inconspicuous buzz in his pocket dictate his day. 
I visit his family farm, just outside of Boston, this past October – the land on which he and his family were raised – and meet his closest people. This rural, suburban escape made my IT MUSCLE act up again. I realize I want to continue to wean off of technology a little more and that I could be happy being friends with his friends. Our chemistry between us proved quick to develop (read: immediately) and easy to be around.

Currently, I revel in the thought of having less, eliminating fringe friends by honing in on the truest ones, and nurture my thirst for adventure. Rather than one singular pinpointing moment, I am constantly and inadvertently massaging my IT MUSCLE. I am ever happy not having to respond to queries of job-related questions with the “same shit different day” remark. To spend every day knowing that the future doesn’t exist is greater incentive to house impromptu social gatherings, pursue dreams without pragmatic chains tying them down, and keep both mind and heart strong by living in the present, taking notice to a pulsating IT MUSCLE.