…under the sea…
I have, for as long as I remember, been an insomniac, while secondarily suffering from sleep inertia. It takes a long time to fall asleep, but when I do, I am in the tight clutches of slumber to such an extent it is nearly impossible to disturb me. In recent years, waking has been an earlier and earlier occurrence, but this week has found me a returning victim of dreaded bed gravity, wherein no escape seems possible.
I have rushed out the door for class five days straight. Time is a tricky thing, indeed.
School has moved us to the food of the Americas, and a more confident classroom. It’s interesting to have excuse to ponder the wide variances of cuisine across the U. S. alone. And, in my southern reversion, to be reminded how important the reign of food is over the demeanors of its consumers. Every region has some good offerings, but some just can’t compete with the simple, grandma’s garden, or out of the boat meals I’m used to.
I am spoiled, having grown up in a passionately food-centric part of the country, where nothing can happen that isn’t culinarily associative. Weddings, funerals, holidays, sure. New neighbors? Make them a pie. Fifth Sunday? Potluck. Quitting your job? Let’s hit the local BBQ joint. Your kid is potty trained? I’ll drink to that! And when we’re all stuffed to the gills, we’ll STILL be talking about food.
My excitement this week was attending the Lumineers concert at the new amphitheater in town.
Jack Wilson, an Austin native with serious 70s influence, and the Tumbleweeds – a swampy New Orleans based band complete with triangle, keg drum and mouth harp – opened the absolutely packed venue. Between the Tumbleweeds covering Woody Guthrie and the Lumineers paying homage to Bob Dylan, along with all their cool, simple, skillful originals, it was a flawless musical experience.
Along the way, I sighted some mondo mustaches and fringed tshirts, circa 1986. Dear cultural universe: It’s ok to let some things die.
It only took 2 hours to get out of the parking lot, after 1am, and the town still raged on. This truly is a city that never sleeps.
One last thing –
I am not a tactless person, by any means, but somewhat unedited in my commentary and responses. For me, it is mostly because I don’t like not knowing where people stand, and I have no intention of leaving the question of my take for others on things affecting them. (Also, it’s my defective internal monologue at work, with which a lot of you are familiar. I make no excuses). This week, someone commented to me that they had never been able to do that. It led me to wonder, what would life be, if we all just said what we really meant? Manners exist in order to provide comfort in social situations, to be understood guidelines for conduct. Some are silly, outdated, baffling. Some are useful. Still, I question whether so much self censorship is counterintuitive in some contexts. In others, it is not as well enforced as it needs to be. Those lines are drawn so differently in individual minds, in cultural practice, in private self rule. It’s something I think on from time to time, but rarely does it dictate in me regret for my choices. I am a believer in saying what needs to be said rather than what I think someone else wants me to say. Nevertheless, I am not deluded into thinking my opinions and feelings are the only valid ones. We all have our own inertia to weigh, our own gravity to consider.
Tell me your thoughts.
March winds have been lusty and persistent in central Texas, persuading the 80-to-90-something degree temperatures into more bearable shapes. Those same winds seem to have lifted me out of the house for the entirety of yesterday.
After a perfectly executed croque madame brunch I wandered to a nearby farm stand, but resisted impulsively snatching up every beauty within sight. I scouted out a new park for potential canine companion quality time. I sat outside with a good cup of coffee and a fascinating book. (I’ll pass it along when I’m done).
I refused to acknowledge the existence of outstanding household tasks and obligations.
In the evening, I attended an after hours concert at Springfield Farms, an award winning urban farm established in the midst of commerce, clubs and interstates.
The parsnip bisque and informative sessions alone would have made my day. Throw in the Zenith Quintet, – brass and keyboard – white-lit trees and an intimate crowd, and spring has truly arrived.
They played a widely varied selection, from Piazzola to Rogers and Hammerstein, from Vivaldi to Aerosmith. They love what they do and appreciate their audiences. And they are truly gifted musicians.
Earlier in the week I revisited Evangeline specifically for The Peacemakers. The ensemble includes an upright bass, harmonica, drums and revolving guitarists. They play the ever living hell outta some blues to a small crowd of regulars whose camaraderie is contagious. Trust me, the best bands you’ve never heard of are playing in dives all over America.
I may never fully outgrow my snarky tshirt, converse phase. But then, I was the kid who enjoyed going to symphony performances too. And that weird mashup is part of what makes life good for me. I’m in a perfect place to take advantage of it.
I’ve been heavily lamenting the news of the Athens-based band Modern Skirts going their separate ways. But life happens and sprouts in its many directions whether or not we approve. They are immeasurable talents, and I wish them the best. If you aren’t familiar, here’s a sample:
Take on the week! And tell me, what is it you’re listening to lately?
First, let’s get this out of the way –
Happy St Patrick’s Day, everyone. Here’s hoping you’re looking sexy in your green attire while doing irresponsible things, just because you can.
Now, about those road humps.
There are signs around my residential area indicating the presence of said “humps” in the road. They are almost as long as I am tall, 4 across, wide and raised, but not in such a way as to cause violent upheaval to drivers. Though I would not be likely to look at them and think, “Humps,” that is exactly what they are. Still, the sign wording could be improved, somehow. For now, I’ll continue to snicker like a junior high boy every time I see them.
Here’s how the week shaped up in my world:
Educationally, the most notable experience was chicken fabrication. Mine was missing a wing, but that didn’t stop me from hacking what I imagined as a peg-legged chicken hawk into grotesque slabs of flesh. (The first breast I carved was actually really pretty, but it was all downhill from there.) We progressed to producing a full meal menu per table, which feels much more legitimate. Every week, I ask myself what it is I hope to gain from this experience. So far, it is the experience alone. Because I can.
My class schedule means I often visit places at odd hours, when no one else is around. Or when only one or two people are in sight. I don’t mind, as it gives me the time I prefer to fully experience new venues, especially if they are food related. . I can chat up the staff because they aren’t as rushed. I can observe the daily doings of a given establishment, and catalogue the useful bits. I can sit and relax. Ponder. Revel.
This week I found a new coffee shop that is part of a small chain, but cooler and far superior to the Starbucks on every corner – in my opinion. Not only was the latte just what I needed, but the oatmeal bar- a big cube of caramel and chocolate chips lightly dusted with oatmeal crumbs – made me want to squeeze somebody.
Galaxy Café won me over with their tasty sandwich, spicy herbal tea and Main Root beverages on tap. Not to mention their support of Go Local Austin. I sat by a window, watching the world rush on, a Galaxy employee delivering orders to outside tables in my periphery. A minute later, the same employee reemerged with a bowl of water for a customer’s dog. That’s the kind of employee I want. That’s what brings people, including me, back.
An evaluative moment in my week lead me to think about words. Mine specifically. Others’ directed toward me. Or not. How and why we use words, the motivating choices we make about language. I learn so much about someone not only from their stories but from the things they choose not to tell me. Actions and motion are the stuff of life. But our utterances can spur them or damp them. Which combination of syllables will carry us over the next set of life’s road humps? It is in the doing we affect the world around us, but words prey on our insides. Whether or not we admit it, see it, like it, words matter. And that, in the end, is why I blog.