Friday, May 6, 2011

Eavesdropping on the World

Last night we happened into one of those wonderful bits of kismet: An impromptu performance in a tiny municipal building, once a boarded-up haven for derelicts and taggers. It was formerly owned by the Department of Forestry and is now being renovated into possibly a gallery, possibly the headquarters for our local Chamber of Commerce . By now there may be other ideas. Things change pretty fast around here.

In the meantime, the building is being reclaimed by creative types who admire its acoustics or stripped-down aesthetics, or maybe just its queer location, between two patches of green space separated by four (unnecessary) lanes of traffic.

Because I didn't have a camera, I lifted these photos to give you a general idea of what the space looks like from the outside. The important thing, though, was what the world looked like from the inside.

For just over an hour we sat in that room looking out that picture window as one guy played an ambient laptop composition, and another offered an earnest acoustic set -- just a boy, his guitar, and an urgent, mellifluous voice that soared straight up to the rafters.

The music itself was certainly amazing, but more amazing still was the way the entire world was framed within that window. We literally watched it go by for a while. Not in the indifferent, even protective sense that we usually do: All that noise, all that traffic, bleeding together into one chaotic mass so we can contain and ideally ignore it. But in a way that froze every detail and made it count.

Look! There's a man with a blue umbrella.

Look! A city bus, with at least a dozen people inside, stone-faced and sad.

Look! A pick-up truck hauling an old striped couch.

Look! Lightening in the distance.

Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles.

A man doing push-ups in the park.

Not one, but two, fantastic malamutes.

A woman with a plastic grocery bag as a hat, rummaging through the contents of her handbag.

The whole experience made me realize how much better things would be if every tedious moment of our lives had a soundtrack. Maybe one a little bit like this, which was played with gusto after I vainly asked it to be.

1 comment:

Rosemary said...

That bit at the end about what you saw out the window actually makes a lovely poem, Christy. Or maybe a children's picture book?