Have arrived at my parents’ house, returning from the most… un… un something. One of the most uncomfortable open mic experiences I’ve ever had.
The Harambe Cafe in Adam’s Morgan, Washington DC – Ethiopian food catches me off guard with it’s excitement and spongey bread and clenchy finger action.
This isn’t here for any particular reason. Just a picture of my Grandfather’s train from his basement from Christmas. One of my favourite memories is of the toy train that Grandpa would put up every year. My brother and I would sit fascinated for hours. It’s just been too many pages of straight text.
But the open mic catches me further off guard. It’s “hip” and it has a house band that sort of grooves between performers, and it has an MC named “Empress” – and “rob and Heather” and “Dan Zimmerman” felt out of place among the “Mastah Cs” and whatnots and suchnots. I felt badly out of place.
Did I feel too white? Or too old? I’m not sure – but between accents and massive doses of ambient noise, I felt like a parent desperately trying to relate to my child, who’s decided the only way to be cool is to speak nothing but Swahili.
I understood nothing.
“Hi, my name’s rob!”
“Yo – s’up. Ah’m Tabdoh!”
Oh God – I just… as much as I hate to say it, I feel comfortable at the open mics where Joe comes up and says “Hi, I’m Joe” and Joe has a band called “Joe and the ___________” … or… “the Joe Band”. I’m all about that.
Of course, I have a band called ilyAIMY – but what of it. I just felt like I could never be accepted to this place, no matter how often I came there. It was a different culture.
And the food was sooooo good.
And the band was sooo good.
And I soo couldn’t pronounce either their name or anything on the menu.
I’m a failed multi-culturist.
And as I thought of my failure, navigating the DC city streets, homeward bound, the highway slowly becomes familiar, and I remember high school field-trips, and gunshots, and the willow tree that used to sit along Good Luck Road.
And I pull onto Wellington Street, and slow the car around the curve, and pull up in front of my parents’ house, it’s denuded trees scratching slowly into the 20 degree weather.
The steps are solid and familiar, but the door still doesn’t seem normal to me yet, though it was replaced… I don’t know HOW many years ago… opening the door
though – I’m greeted by the familiar and almost forgotten scent of my mom’s hamburger soup.
Well, I grew up knowing it as chili. I don’t remember when it gleaned the “hamburger soup” moniker. But it is a familiar smell of hot water and pan-fried hamburger, beans and tomatoes and onions. I’d asked for my mom’s hamburger soup before, but the last time, she made it with turkey – or something. Something was bizarrely different. But this… I scooped a ladel-full into the old white bowls that were my microwave altar from high-school… this was familiar, and beautiful. And I knew there would be more tomorrow, and it would keep and keep and keep. And I could eat and eat and eat.
There’s something about the way the kidney beans squish between my front teeth.
But there’s difficulty at home, too. My father will be going into surgery on Monday, and I think he’s very frightened. Perhaps I haven’t had enough experience with the medical machinary of America, but I think of there being little that can’t be solved with advance notice and money.
And so there is cancer to fight. But we’ve known this, and there are drastic if not desparate measures to be taken now. And I understand that he’s frightened, but… it’s time to stop toying with it and be done with it and get something approaching a normal Life again.
And I’m worried that the attitude towards treatment and recovery is at least as important as the treatment itself… if not more so. I don’t know – my familiarity with the computer industry makes me fear that most of our modern world is a conglomeration of runaway black arts that no-one really understands anymore… but that doesn’t mean that they don’t work, and it makes faith all the more important, and I worry that my father’s faith in the Medical Establishment has been through a pretty horrific grinding process. He’s been treated poorly.
I listen to Christian radio when I’m frustrated with my world – mostly because it gives me something else to be angry about, and it distracts me from my own problems. I find myself driving the highway yelling at bigoted preachers.
But the most recent “teaching” was on the book of Job, and the importance of Faith in the face of … in the face of God spitting on you. I don’t really have Faith in a religious sense, but… faith in oneself, and faith… faith that a Decision has been Made and that that Decision, right or wrong, will lead you to… well… to whatever’s coming next.
If you don’t have something like that in your head, how can you make any decision? And how can you not end up simply caught up in a loop of “what-ifs”.
You need faith of SOME sort to Live.
So, anywho – keep good thoughts coming. Monday, and the following months will probably be pretty difficult, but it’s the end-phase of a three + year game, and I have high hopes for the outcome.
Oh – and the lesson learned?
If something hurts, and a doctor says “well I can’t find a problem” – that’s different from him saying “oh, that’s normal… that’s nothing”… “I can’t find a problem” means it’s time to shop around for another doctor, and not wait for doctor fucking A to get his head out of his ass and take notice of the problem on the next fucking visit.
When you take a car into the shop, you don’t let the mechanic stop until he Makes the Problem Go Away… do you? Why the Hell my father got a lesser treatment than a Ford truck… I don’t understand. Jayson Blaire is busily trying to do something about the Journalistic profession… I wish someone would do it for the bloated and frightened and overworked medical profession.
God, it’s been a rough start to 2004. A lot of people are having a lot of problems. But it can only get better from here….
The house is full of cats. They don’t trust me. Heather’s been trying to catch Rocket all night. Will she give Luka a complex because it’s evident she doesn’t feel that Luka’s as pretty as Rocket?
I WISH my camera was charged. After landing full square in the midst of all of Heather’s IM sessions with all four paws, Luka escapes up a vertical wall of boxes to menace a mammoth.
Practice leaves me feeling exhausted. It’s becoming clear that on top of everything else Heather’s cold hasn’t missed me. It just waited for a while, and now my throat itches and my nose runs and I just feel hot and tired.
Route 3 leads to 97 leads to 695 leads to home, and the drive is far, far too long for my feelings. I’m not looking forward to a night full of difficult swallows and the squishy squishy squishy sound of my trying to scratch the back of my throat with my tongue. I feel sorry for Heather tonight. She’s finally looking forward to a decent night’s sleep sans her own drippy discomfort, and now she’s going to have to deal with MY drippy discomfort. My poor, poor girl.