I know the occasional Jedi Master, and when it comes to Jedi Masters I am one royal pain in the ass. I’m a promising Paraquat, I mean Padawan, see. I am full of insight and clarity and energy and devil-may-crazy ways to put this together with that and make five. And sometimes I leap to wisdom without going through the due diligence of restraint. The Force is a pretty forgiving place, but it can make peace hard for those who need it. So, Master Yoda: I am sorry. I’ll replace the teacups. I’ll have the robes repaired. The chafe on your heart is beyond my powers to undo so far, but I’ll try to calm it from here on out. Be honest, though. You never used that little chair, and you won’t miss it. And it didn’t suit the room. It didn’t. You’re better off without it.
On Wednesday nights, Danielle tends bar at Rockwood Music Hall down on Allen Street. Because Rockwood is a classy joint, and Danielle is a musician and I am a sometime producer and label guy, we try not to chit-chat too much during the band sets. This gets away from us sometimes, and so over the past months we’ve picked up the high school habit of passing notes. For this reason and that I’ve missed the last few Wednesdays, but tonight I make it in after the burlesque.
Danielle has the napkins and pens ready at the bar when I squeeze up onto a free stool. “I love it when I see you come in,” she says. “I think to myself, I get to pass notes!”
I was emailing at some length with another friend today — we’ve had some serious blue e-air going back and forth that doesn’t communicate all that well in text, but that’s the channel we’ve got so we use it. We banged our heads against each other for a bit, her head mostly open and mine hard as hardoleum. After a while we knocked it off and got some wary work done.
Last month she sent me a song she loved, Clem Snide‘s tune Nick Drake Tape. I listened to it when she first sent it, but I guess my ears were colorless that afternoon. Today the song comes up on random shuffle and stops me solid. I listen to it again and again, and then a few more times. Where our words were turning stringy and shrill, the song was rooted in her joy sharing it with me. The tiff of the day turned pale, shallow, mean. The song tasted of her. I was a little ashamed, both for the fighting and for not hearing her heart in the song when she first sent it to me, when perhaps I took it, and her, for granted. As a promising young Paraquat once said, sometimes music is better than words, right?
I’m listening now.