I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
July 29, 2017 - 2:40 p.m.
I had a busy day yesterday. I was out almost exactly 12 hours which is not that much but it started late; getting home late makes it seem longer.
Back when BRIC announced the Celebrate Brooklyn Schedule, I added the ones I was interested in to my calendar. It's no longer easy for me to get there so the bar for going has been raised. Last night was one that was on the bubble, Andrew Bird and Esperanza Spalding. Then I got a text from Laura asking if I were going. I haven't seen Laura in ages to that tipped the scale to a sure yes. Not only did I get to see Laura but it overcame another issue. I couldn’t get there till around six, which would put me way back in the line. I would have to sit on the lawn. Laura and her friends got there earlier so I could get a seat.
The reason I couldn't get there early was that it was Friday and I had therapy in Harrison. Jane couldn't drive me but since I discovered how easy it is go get there from Fordham that's not a problem. I have to leave 45 minutes earlier but the trip is not just easy but pleasant. The bus isn't bad and at age 60 I still get a kick at riding the choo-choo. The electronic ticket I buy on my phone is still a novelty.
I had to make one other stop, the post office; I had to get Bri her physical Falcon Ridge tickets before she left Wednesday morning. I could have probably sent it using priority mail but the only way to guarantee it was express. I checked online and found that there was a Post Office right by the Harrison train station. I figured there had to be, it's the heart of downtown. I have a 19-minute wait for the bus to the hospital and figured I could take care of it then. I did but barely; there were no express mail envelopes in the self-service area so I had to wait on line twice, once to get the form and the envelope and once to pay for it. I wasn't worried as the bus is almost always late and if I had missed it could have walked and just made my appointment.
My therapist should pay me, she enjoys my sessions. We mainly talked about my birthday party. I showed her pictures. I opened my mail while she was on the phone with a doctor. Opening my snail mail is one of my anxiety issues. I did it on my own, that's progress. It's also impatience. She got the call and I was sitting there doing nothing and I hate wasting time. She had to take the call, it was from a doctor. It might have to do with me. It didn't but it might have.
As usual I missed the earlier train and had to wait 24 minutes for the next one. I rewarded myself by going to Carvel. I tried the Reese Cup Dasher Sundae. It's my new favorite. I get excited by the choo-choo and Carvel; there is nothing wrong with that. I keep telling myself that.
Then I headed down to Prospect Park. As I switched trains in Brooklyn I got a text from Laura saying where is was on the line. She had a good spot. I was a bit of an idiot and didn't think about where to get off the F train and went one stop farther than optimal but that was no big deal. I then had trouble finding Laura, she said by 11th street, what she didn't say was she was inside the park. Another text and then a phone call let me find her and her friends, Elena and Nicole. I am doing the "I remember their names" dance. I deliberately did not write them down as I wanted to earn the dance today. I only asked them about 12 times including right before we parted ways.
Laura was the volunteer coordinator at WFUV when she was a Fordham student, not that long ago. We bonded over the important things, Doctor Who and Bluegrass music. I was slightly younger than the combined ages of the three of them. If I had an adolescent with me we could match.
Chris asked me if I was at the park. I got that message when I was on the way. When we got in I was able to communicate better and directed him to where we were sitting. We had an extra seat for one of Laura's friends they weren't sure was coming. I've been to many shows there with Chris. I didn't sit with her but I saw Laura at the classic Punch Brothers in the rain show. I know that Glenn was there. Were any of my other friends? I took a quick look but I'm blind so that's not effective.
Esperanza was up first. I had never seen her live or heard any of her albums. I have heard her on the radio and liked what I heard. She won me over on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me; she's my people. After listening to her set, I still wasn't sure how I felt about it. Was it genius or just technically brilliant? The music was an experiment for her, all songs she wrote very quickly without reworking. It was [fill in the adjective that I don't know] jazz. I had to learn to love jazz and it might just be that I have to become more accustomed to what she was doing. Or it might be failed experiment. I don't blame her for that, as Adam Savage says, "failure is always an option." That's the nature of an experiment. What is certain is that she is wildly creative and a great bassist and singer.
I can say very similar things about Andrew Bird, it was an excellent pairing. He has more ideas than he knows what to do with. I have never seen a set with as much variety in musical style as he showed. There was solo looping, fiddling, playing the fiddle as a ukulele, a trad trio around a condenser mic, a rock band, and of course lots and lots of whistling. He's the only performer I know where whistling is primary instrument, not just a break in the singing.
The highlight was when Andrew in trio formation was joined by Esperanza. I'd love to see an entire show of that. They need to join forces. Or is it that I need to for them to join forces?
Near then end another friend of Laura's showed up, Daria. I'm now doing the "I remember her name" dance to Andrew and Esperanza playing in my head. Hers was easier as it's an unusual name and there was a cartoon Daria that I only know because Jill used to use it as an icon on FHDC.
Chris lit out a bit early so I made my way out of the park with Laura & Co. Then they went out to a bar while I had to head back to the Bronx. They have extended the schedule of the BX 29 by one hour; that is the best change in the MTA ever. I would have missed the last bus back to City Island with the old schedule. Now I made the second to last. My timing was great. I only had to wait 6 minutes for the bus which then made no stops before mine. There were only two other people on it. The late buses are more for people trying to get off the Island late than on it. Still, I shouldn't have to pay for a cab to get home when I live in New York City. If they ran once every hour instead of once every half hour through the night I could live with that. I'd adjust want time I left to minimize my wait.
There are few things I value more than creativity. Andrew and Esperanza might not touch my soul as others do but I can't help but be impressed. There are some people, I suspect they are two of them, that live their lives creatively; it comes out in so much of what they do. Social media allows others to see it. Some people can show it in simple posts, some I their photos. They see things others don't see. They observe things others don't observe. Sometimes it's just a short phrase that captures an essential truth. I'm not sure if was Oscar Wilde or James Branch Cabell that wrote of someone who lived their entire life as a work of art. It might have been both of them. Oscar Wilde did that as did Andy Warhol.
Many of my friends have creativity to burn. Some have no idea how original they are; they see what others can't but not their own value. I'll be honest; sometimes I feel jealous. I also feel fortunate that they are my friends. Tonight, I'm seeing another artist with more ideas than she knows what to do with, Jean Rohe. She's working on a musical theater piece, The Odysseus Agreement. It's a at Joe's Pub at 7 PM. There are still tickets available. Come join me.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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