Sunday, July 17, 2011

let us go then you and I...

The days are not nearly so sublime as the nights, when the heat dies down and the stars glimmer. An afternoon spent in the shade of trees by the lake scooping up salsa and getting philosophical with those who share the same credo but different perspectives as kids and puppies tumbled in the grass.

I like having these conversations with people who aren't my age, who come at the issue from different angles, who've been around longer or seen different things, because otherwise it becomes an echo chamber of mutual affirmation. I thrive on these kinds of conversations

The neighborhood was quiet, but something's happened because the cops are out, lights flashing, flashlights shining on the house next door, sirens in the distance. I don't know what happened.

One of my friends from my Kent days who also moved back here, came over for general west-siding last night, and we bought pasta and fresh oranges and tomatoes from the West Side Market, spices from the Caribbean market around the corner, and I got a crash course in cooking really well. I picked herbs and zucchini from the garden, sliced vegetables as he concocted homemade meatballs seasoned with mint and coriander, simmered tomato sauce on the stove, concluding that Les Discrets is good tuneage to cook to before heading down to the beach for ice cream and the sunset, sitting on a broken picnic table half buried in the sand.

The park closed, and we wandered over to the Italian festival at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, where Cardboard Benedict was hanging out, little kids were dancing to Michael Jackson, the gambling was in full effect, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely in the basement watching some old Italian men play accordion and mandolin as a trio of singers worked their way through old pop standards. To see them having so much fun and playing well, warmed our little musician souls to see them suddenly so young and lost in songs they loved.

I feel like I'm in a movie, he says as we walk through the old Italian neighborhood after scoping out the carnival scene in the humid glow of Christmas lights still strung on balconies, big band music emanating from open windows, someone's dance party on a top floor, disco ball and Top 40, stray cats looking for love, ending the night with some mix CD-making and laughing at terrible movies until it got late.

I love the ease of familiarity, because when we were all younger, we had lots of random adventures like this, flying kites in thunderstorms, wandering through downtown late with a crew of people we picked up on the way to hang out at the playground at midnight, driving up to Cleveland or Akron to see bands, and I was wishing that some of our mutual friends were there to share the magic of summer nights like this again, thankful that the sense of wonder isn't gone even when other things are lost.


Randal Graves said...

You saw Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom?

Septembre is one of those records that perfectly fits every season.

Anonymous said...

for RG who might prefer the night's grotesque to the sublime:

Randal Graves said...

Both have their cherished place, but goat with a thousand thanks, mysterious stranger.