Spike on the River
Neal in Antarctica
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June 14, 2005 - Tuesday, 1:32 a.m.
There appears to be nothing planned in my life, and I donít seem to have any idea what itíll look like. Itís a struggle everyday. Iíve been trying to make a point of doing stuff I like to do and things I simply WANT to do. It seems like Iíve spent a lot of my life thinking and working on all the stuff I should do or am suppose to do. Walking into a bar and sitting for the evening was never on any of my lists. And yet, I really enjoy it. I sit or stand and sip my ice water, listen to the music and watch people. I have nearly perfected the art of wallflowerism. Few seem to notice me, so I am free to just watch.
Itís Sunday night at Wayfarerís. When I arrive Phil is standing outside the bar with his guitar talking music with a gentleman. He sees me approaching and smiles. He waves and I wave and walk up to him. I donít stand there very long before I feel like I am intruding in their conversation and I step inside the bar. To the right is Jim S. (another guy from work) sitting at a table eating with a couple of woman, either friends or kids. I am not sure which. He smiles and waves. I return the smile and give a little wave. Shortly after I arrive the guy at the mike calls Jim to join them. He gets up and takes his bass out of the case next to me, says hi and heads for the stage. They play one song and Phil comes in and goes to take off his jacket by his guitar case, they then call him up and he joins them. Jim sings and plays the bass for the first song. Heís good. The music is good. I find a comfortable spot by the door and listen and watch.
One of the waiters is moving to the rhythm of the band, bouncing from the bar to the tables and back. Heís having fun. I stop him on one of his return trips from a table and ask for ice water. He nods and gives me a grin. Iíve only been to this bar one time before, but I see a number of faces from the previous visit. Most of the musicians are becoming familiar as many are at both jam sessions Iíve been attending. I stand by the door drinking my water. The table to my left is full. It appears to be family and friends of one of the drummers who is waiting his turn for play time. There is a young girl about 12 with him. She was there last week with him, and she is either his daughter or granddaughter. They all seem sweet as they sit visiting, waiting for his turn.
Then there is the guy with the very young daughter right around 3 years old. Sheís adorable. Last time he was dressed in leather and carting around a diaper bag with a toy hanging off of it. He was also joined by a woman the week before that I can only guess in the mother of the little girl. She was completely in leather, chaps and all. Last time sheíd danced with her daughter in her arms. This week heís alone with his daughter and dressed in dark clothes.
A number of people make a point of going out onto the dance floor, which is just a small open area right in front of the band. Most are dancing with joyous abandonment. Itís nice to see people just enjoying the music and not really caring what anyone thinks. I envy them. There are two striking couples this night. One is a black couple; they are dancing wildly and having a blast!! The other couple is dressed up and probably in their fifties. They are completely into the music and into each other. It makes me smile.
Itís crowded and hard to see the musicians that are playing from my location at the back of the room, near the front door. I have a hard time hearing Phil play, and only can really hear him on one song. Heís good. He always gets the same look on his face. Heís concentrating on the music letting it fill him. Itís obvious that he enjoys it very much.
So many of the faces are familiar as I stand watching, I can pick out the musicians that are also at the Thursday jams. Iíve quickly associated them with the instruments they play and I can see why Phil has done that more often then he can recall the names of the people. Itís all visual.
I am fascinated by it all, the people, the music, the atmosphere. Some people are there to enjoy the music and are happily absorbing it all, others seem to be there to drink and the music is just nice background noise. I quietly watch, listen and smile a lot. I like it.
After Philís set finishes, the table next to me empties. The drummer is going up to play and I think the rest of his table moves up to the front of the room. I sit down at the table; Phil joins me a few minutes later. We visit a little. He tells me about his weekend and I tell him about mine. We visit a little bit more and by 8:30 heís ready to head home. He tells me heís going to say his goodbyes and then heíll be ready to go. I tell him Iíll walk out with him. I watch him circle the room like he did the week before. I can see that the people he knows are about the only people who have seemed to notice me that night. I am sure they are beginning to wonder who I am. I am not sure if they ask him or not, and it is probably just as well I canít hear his response if he has one. Eventually I figure if I keep showing up they are going to come and talk to me. Weíll see I guess.
We walk out. I tell him that the parking Godís love him. He says, not always, but from what I can see he usually gets a spot right outside the front door. He puts his guitar in the truck and then walks me to my car. We talk for a few minutes about books and I give him a hug and we both head our separate ways.
I am bummed. Perhaps he was just tired, but all I can think is that sitting at home alone is more appealing to him then sitting there visiting with me. I go home. Iím restless; Iíd thought Iíd be out later. I wander to the grocery store and buy junk food that Iíll eat later, which makes me feel sick. I get home, crawl into bed and go back to reading ďThe Time Travelerís WifeĒ, a book I started reading earlier in the day. I read until after midnight when I find that I can barely keep my eyes open.
The room is cool and I snuggle under the covers in the dark. Itís windy out, the chimes are playing outside my window most of the night. I quickly drift off to sleep.