saturday morning vignette

by pieces of moments

I’m having a slow functioning morning. You know, one of those where your body gets up and goes through the morning motions, gathers all the little life accessories one needs when venturing out from home, walks out the door, squints in the sunshine, dodges renegade pedestrians, arrives at the destination, orders, sips coffee (yum), sits down, and then …….. nothing. You stare off into space. You stare at other people. Your brain starts to realize that it has traversed space and time without taking part in the process. You have one of those meta cognitive moments where you realize your spirit is trying to force your brain into motion, but it doesn’t quite work. Yeah, that’s where I am right now, mentally. Physically, I’m on Putnam Street at Petsi Pies.

Around me people are going about their Saturday morning café activities in various states of Saturday morning dress (Guitar Hero flannel pajamas? huh…). In front of me are two families who apparently just came from taking their daughters to Saturday morning dance class. I loved ballet as a little girl. I would dance around the living room non-stop and really loved my ballet class…until I switched to a new studio with a Russian ballet master (remember, this was when the USSR was still a place to which you could go back) who lied to my parents about how advanced her other students were in the class she had me attend. To this day I remember how hard I tried to keep up with the other girls (though I do remember with golden triumph that I was the only girl able to do the splits and place my stomach flat on the floor, natural flexibility being something genetically woven into the fabric of my physicality). The tragic ending (as I always call it my “tragic ballet story”) is that ultimately her old school USSR methods completely drained my desire dry. To this day I rather regret that ending to the story. Not that I would have become a great dancer, I believe music was always the fundamental marrow in my bones, but I was good at ballet and would have loved to have continued just for the love of poetic motion. Even as a musician I feel the music with my entire body as if phantom motions are transpiring while I play.

Okay, pause. The people sitting next to me are obnoxious. The guy is obviously an English major of some kind and he’s like a caricature of himself, you know, the scuffed up loafers, the skinny body clothed in a tweed blazer and slim fit jeans, the button down shirt that looks like it was pulled off the floor in an intellectual fit, the unkempt (and yet perfectly kempt) hair, pseudo facial hair and (most importantly) the heavy dark framed glasses he pulls off and on nervously. The tone of his voice is about to put me back to sleep though I just about woke up and he’s saying completely ridiculous things to the equally ironic hipster girl he’s with:

Obnoxious English Dude (OED): There is this one sentence I am trying to find and I can’t find it.

Ironic Hipster Girl (IHG): * no answer, blank stare, stirs tea mindlessly *


IHG: Maybe you should write things down.


OED: No, I try to remember everything.


IGH: It’s called the internet…like, google…

OED: [getting angry] it’s one word.


IGH: Do you have any idea who the author might be? You could Google that word and their name.

OED:   [no answer, fidgets with his pile of books]


OED: You look tired.

IGH: I’m always tired.


OED: I can remember where on the page it was…like upper right.

IGH: Well, sometimes if you skim…

OED: [Switches topics and now he reads a portion from “William Shakespeare: Poetry Selected by Ted Hughes” and makes some kind of philosophical pronouncement upon finishing]

Okay, these people are putting me to sleep. But you get the idea. Keep in mind the pauses and realize that this conversation regarding the word, or sentence for which he is looking lasted a solid 30 minutes, perhaps more. Sweet, now they are talking about “feeling thoughts”…like…to feel a thought…rather than think it, I presume (IGH: “so you are saying that thoughts come from somewhere [gesturing to the atmosphere] to you?”). I’ve had enough – the headphones are going on.

I find it such a nuisance when people try to find a deep thought, don’t you? It’s so contrived. Maybe he should try actually thinking rather than feeling his thoughts…writing things down would apparently help, too. It’s like some of compositions I hear from young composers. Don’t get me wrong I love new music and I appreciate hearing something I haven’t heard before, but when it is something totally contrived and just obnoxiously over-thought (like the people sitting next to me) it becomes arduous. And isn’t there a difference between something dense and meaningful that requires time and energy to sort through and something that is just laborious? It brings to mind Italo Calvino’s thoughts on the creative virtue of lightness, which, I would expand upon if I had not lost my copy of that essay on one of the many flights I was taking all summer long. It is rather a sad thing that lightness is considered a lesser emotion to evoke than darkness.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the really big Handel and Haydn Society show last night, didn’t I? Je suis desole, cheri. Okay, so it was awesome! Nothing against the Boston Symphony Orchestra…but the big band in town these days is totally H&H. The BSO (my colleague, Jane agrees with me in this…so does this poll apparently…yeah Chicago!) is sounding a bit sad these days. Like, literally sad, as in they need some joy in what they do. H&H sounded energetic, awake, in love with what they were doing, and all around happy to be there which rubbed off on us, the audience, of course. Tom’s piece, “Fanfare of Voices”, was delightful and a very, very appropriate ode to George Frederic Handel, the Mendelssohn violin concerto never sounded so great for such a horrendously over-played piece (helped by the transparency from a smaller orchestra of period instruments), and the Brahms Symphony no. 1…well…it’s Brahms…sigh. Beautifully done.

Okay, I suppose it’s time for me to head up to Harvard Square for the usual Saturday activities. TTFN!