Walking up the city sidewalk, I realize I walk at an “average” pace. Inevitably, some people zip by me. Others block my way. Wherever I’m going, though, my original quest is inevitably sidelined in favor of the Slow-Walking Women.
When considering the heightened racial rhetoric raised after the death of George Floyd, I’m once again facing down stereotypes that are applied to me, a middle-aged American white guy. Luckily, my thoughts, demeanor, attitude, and spirituality have crystallized during the past few years, and I’m much more comfortable doing a deep dive into my heart.
Parroting dramatic language on social media (and therefore, like it or not, in real life) is diminishing our motivation and—to some extent—our ability to choose precise words. The pool of original ideas based on self experience is slowly and subtly being replaced with words relating to how the experience of others is constantly communicated via mass media.
I accepted the invitation to host with a heavy heart. The Thirsty Soul was closing, and it was the last open mic night. I was the first guest performer and the last host. I met many talented people. Some were just peeking their heads out into the world to share themselves for a night. Others were jumping from open mic to open mic in the city. And some, like myself, were reliably present each week.
This particular open mic was sparsely populated: It was Bongo Billy, Pete, and I. With an empty Red Room, I hooked into the Bluetooth and Bongo Billy and I jammed to the Alley Cat and Mama Don’t Allow It. I unremarkably rolled into the last Facebook stream and acted out my best open mic night host impression and belted out some tunes, followed by the others.
The furniture tapped their legs. The chandelier shrugged. The sound system reminded me how much it dislikes acoustic guitar pickups. And so it was. With Pete’s Taylor in arms, I eeked out Redneck Vacation and finished up with my final performance of Chinese Buffet in the lush, comfy, New Orleans-styled parlor to the applause of a small circle of friends.