to out-love

Well, we chose this road.   We could have stuck with our degrees and gone down a different path.  We could have listened to the advice of our elders and folks who thought they were doing us a favor when they suggested that we choose a more stable career.  I for one, could have listened to the Grammy President when he told me in his office during my interview to be the receptionist that,  “This is a F’d up business.  Why would you want to do something like music?”  Yep, the president of the organization that gives awards for music accomplishments.

A lot of us were told to follow the dream, but have a backup plan.  Many of us took the advice,  still followed our dreams (with degrees and backup plans in our backpacks)  and now are fortunate to  make a little living out of singing, writing, producing & playing music.   We are not heroic.  Nurses, teachers, doctors,  counselors, first responders, military…and uncountable others are heroic.  We are just doing what we think we are here to do on this big blue marble.   Like any job, when it’s great, it’s great.  It’s a glorious feeling when you feel like you have connected in a way that aligns your life’s chosen profession with people that express that they love what you do…or have affected their lives in a positive way.  It’s pretty heavenly, really.  But, when it’s not, it’s not.

Friday night Walt was singing at an iconic Austin restaurant/bar/venue.  He was the first in their newly created songwriter series in town.   He has a strong following, with many beautiful souls that travel from all over the world to see him perform.   His solo show is perfect for the listener who wants to be moved.   He truly is a poet and storyteller of the highest caliber.   On this particular night, there was a table seated right in front of the stage, with a large group of folks.  We knew several of the people and knew they had come to listen.   They also brought some neighbors and friends who…well…weren’t there to listen.  They  A:   Did not know that one was supposed to keep quiet when the songwriter was singing at a singer/songwriter show.  B:  Were not informed that one was going to a venue, where to imbibe shots and talk super loud with your mouth full was probably not the best representation of a courteous listening audience member.  C: Didn’t give a rat’s ass if it was a listening show because they were the real stars of the night.  D: Could not take cues from ALL of the other people in the room that paid good money to HEAR the songwriter and not hear about your Thursday night alcohol binge while feeding your husband fried pickles.  Or E:  All of the above.   Needless to say, it was a tiny bit of a disaster.   The sweet host of the table of mystery was mortified.  His brother and his wife moved to the back of the room, to distance themselves from the oblivious people.  The audience who surrounded the table was giving all of the ugly stares they could, while keeping their own composure.   They were  trying to take in all of the goodness that was on the stage and not be distracted by the circus at the front table.

I was trying my best to not be the wifey in this situation and held my liquor.. I mean, my tongue.  I knew at some point, Walt was going to ask me to sing with him.  I closed my eyes and wondered how I was going to react to the couple talking loudly right in front of me, while I was trying to sing “Be Mine”.   Then I thought… there is only one way to “win” this situation.  I was going to out-love them.  I was going to send them SO much love and SO much gushy sweetness, that they would either, A:  Talk louder to assert their annoying presence or B: Leave, due to a force bigger than themselves.  I was prepared to out-sing them too.    I can sing pretty loud…and give them an evil, yet loving stare while doing it.  One time way back when I lived in Nashville, my musical partner and I had a short gig at an All You Can Eat Crab Leg night. (we did not know it was the all you can eat night, we thought it was just a paying gig)   It was the worst night ever.  I didn’t eat crab legs for years.   All I could hear was cracking and slurping.  We worked hard to bring meaningful and touching songs to the world and did not come prepared to play the soundtrack for gluttony.  Ah but after I got myself right, I out-sang them.  I sang until they  might have actually heard a song or two and maybe clapped a little with their buttery hands.   Another time when I lived in LA,  I was the opening act for a band that had an audience of strong Harley riding, leather-wearing ladies, who were not interested one bit in hearing my songs about my ex-boyfriends.   I out-sang them too.  I just stood there and belted what I could until one person, then two people, then 3 people paid attention.  Victory.  So I thought tonight, I will not only out-sing the pickle lady, I will out-love her too.   She clearly needed love and attention and I was the one for the job. Plus, I was angered by the fact that someone would be so rude to my poet husband… that it was either take her down by a running tackle or stare her down with creepy, smily love. How hard could it be?16251985_10154969131596726_3471446339357430034_o.jpg

As I was preparing myself to go full-on Julie from the Love Boat, I noticed another woman close to the front of the stage dressed beautifully,  and clearly there to listen.  I watched as her lovely face was turning bright red from anger.  It was like a slow motion movie.   She got up from her table, walked on over to the woman and man who were talking, and said something like, “I would appreciate it if you would shut the hell up”.   Well at least I hoped that she had said something like that.  She was probably classy with her delivery, unlike my embellishment.   She then slowly turned away and went back to her table, sat down and continued listening.

By the time it was my turn to sing, the oblivious people were plenty uncomfortable and took turns leaving the room.   I didn’t even have to give them the creepy love stare- down that I prepared myself for.   Walt too, handled the whole situation with such class.   He said to the listeners, “Thank you for treating me, my wife and my songs and with such respect.”

Maybe the people never experienced a listening room situation.  Maybe they were nervous and had to make some kind of noise to even the playing field in their head.  Maybe they had a little too much to drink at the tailgate before the show.   But because of one awesome music loving woman, and the calm composure of my songwriter husband,  the room won.  Love won.   Maybe, just maybe, the couple learned something too.  Oh to react with love all of the time.  To react with love.  To react with love.  React with love.

 

Who will you out-love today?

 

Monday 12:19 am   waiting for the rain, thinking about songs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Choosing Love

Driving in and around San Antonio this weekend, I experienced the wildest of drivers.  It seemed that collectively, they were very slow & lost or very impatient and speedy.  I’d like to think that I represented a happy balance, but I may have leaned toward the slow &  lost side.   I was listening to the GPS lady who navigated us incorrectly looking for the college baseball fields.   We had a frustrating journey around UTSA (University of Texas San Antonio) for about 40 minutes.   The GPS kept saying “Turn left on Utsa Drive”.  We thought it was funny… the first 30 times.    We finally found our destination, dropped off the ballplayer and then got back on Utsa to retrieve my mom, who was at the hotel waiting patiently for me.

Before I made it back to the hotel, I experienced one of the bully-ist of drivers I have ever seen.   I was driving on the frontage road 10 miles over the speed limit.  A young woman was  beside me also being mostly mindful of the speed, as well.   The guy behind me,  in the bite-size grey Range Rover was in a HUGE hurry.  He was cussing, honking, visibly angry, swerving and so totally pissed off that we were not partaking in his Saturday Indy race.   He was so close to my bumper that I could see the horns poking through the top of his head.   So for me…this is a signal to slow way down.  Oh he loved that.   So he moved over and started drive-bullying the 20 year old girl in the white Accord.   She panicked, sped up and kind of dangerously pulled in front of me.   He sped off for 30 seconds and turned super fast into LOWES.   The dude was going to Lowes.   He was putting us in harms way to go buy a bougainvillea.  That poor girl was so shaken up.   She and I kind of bonded when we looked at each other and I mouthed, “What a F ing A Hole”, as we then went about our separate ways (within the speed limit, of course)

I then slowed down a bit as I mentally scanned the inside of my vehicle for something sharp.  Sharp enough to poke 4 holes in some expensive tires.   I know I have a Swiss Army knife somewhere.  An old blue one with emergency nail clippers,  that my friend Gary gave me in 1987.    Probably next to my Driving Meditation of Peace CD’s in the glove compartment.   I moved aside my  Yoga for Drivers book on tape  and hoped to find an ice pick.  That would be perfect.  I could roll up, puncture 4 generous holes in the A- hole’s car and be on my merry way to pick up my mom.    I know the color & the make.  I know he went to Lowes.  How hard could it be?   Then I thought damnit… what if I get caught.  That would be a tough tale to tell the judge.   The guy is probably a lawyer anyway.  (no offense to the nice lawyers out there)   Then I would be on the news as the crazed baseball vigilante mom who seeks vengeance on bad drivers.   That wouldn’t look good on a resume.   So I stuffed my anger with McDonald’s fries (not recommended) and finally picked up my mom.   She was happy that she did not have to take Uber to pick me up from jail.  She also reminded me that Karma will take care of people like Rage Rover guy.

I believe in Karma.  Living by the Golden Rule works for me.   I know that I experience more love and kindness if I set my life in that direction.  We all have crappy days, sure,  and sometimes the jerks win.   I wonder what would have happened if I followed the angry home improvement guy, got out of my car, walked over to him and gave him a hug.   Maybe talk to him gently and say, “You must be having a tough day…”  Maybe he was speeding because he needed a plunger and guests were coming over for the rehearsal dinner in 30 minutes.    That might warrant his behavior.   Maybe he was mad because no one said hi to him on his walk this morning. 😉 (a blog or two back)

Oh to be so evolved that I would choose LOVE  first over “What do I have in my possession that could teach this guy a lesson”.   I really did want to rattle him up, like he did to sweet Accord girl and me.   What if she had a baby in that car?    Choosing love should be the ultimate and the immediate.   I will do my best to set that as my barometer, rather than foraging for the dull tweeters in my purse.    I will put this next to my navy blue 1987 Swiss Army knife in my glove compartment:

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

-Gandhi

 

Although Gandhi probably didn’t experience road rage…but I think he would have stuck by his guns… (hypothetically, of course)

 

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Monday, June 5th 5:35 pm                safely at home