Monday, March 6, 2017

Am I in Tune?

It finally hit me: surely I didn't become this way. I must have always been.

While at my parents' house last week, Mom asked my evening's plans. I told her I was going to the Symphony, then to a festival kick-off party and then to a comedy show. She looked aghast. "All in one night?"

Only then did it occur to me to ask her about who I am. Namely, did I always have to move?

My question produced an immediate smile. "Yes, you did. You came out that way. I think it's why you never liked TV." This is the opposite of her and  explains why she's always suggesting we sit down and "gather our forces" when I'm ready to keep going.

So it would seem that I don't just go out every night because I need company and conversation or because I'm in search of culture. I move because it's programmed into my DNA to move, to do things, to always be on the go.

Like yesterday. My walk took me across the T Pot bridge, along the floodwall, back via the pipeline and up through downtown, and everywhere I went, I was surprised at how few people were outside.

Not to mention that the ones who were out were "Sunday walkers," a group I have little tolerance for when I get behind them. One especially slow walking husband accused me of sneaking up on him, although a toddler could have done the same given the glacier pace at which he moved.

Back at home, I threw down lunch, glanced at the paper and walked to the Bijou for a thoroughly entertaining movie, arriving home with less than an hour to get ready to go out.

We decided to get a jumpstart on Black Restaurant Week by heading to Sweet Tea's in the Bottom for dinner. I hadn't been in since they'd relocated from their original (and far smaller) location, though I knew the space well. It was where I'd seen my first (okay, only) tofu-eating contest, notable because one contestant had thrown up tofu into her hand and eaten it in order to avoid being disqualified.

But I digress.

Beginning with Sweet Tea's tea du jour - mango lemonade - I ate through chicken and waffles, a crabcake sandwich, collards and cabbage while listening to a travelogue from my companion's recent foray to the ends of the earth.

Not sure I can get behind beaches covered in black rocks, but to each his own.

By the time we'd finished eating, drinking and discussing whether the standards for the Pulitzer Prize in literature have been noticeably dumbed down (hint: yes), Sweet Tea's staff had begun putting chairs on top of tables in hopes of leaving soon.

Okay, okay, we get it.

Then it was on to the Camel for a show that began with the always-stellar and unqeustionably literate Ben Shepherd, a man who never met a story that couldn't be shaped into a song and these days, songs with much commentary in them.

Next up was Mike Dunn and his band, a group who'd clearly taken a page from the Bo Deans' masterfully-written book on roots rock and followed it into the 21st century.

Headlining was Alex Dezen, who made sure we knew that he'd been with the Damnwells for years but that was over. Finis. He only sounded mildly bitter, but he also wasn't above playing Damnwells' songs, so he may still have been sorting through some mixed emotions.

And aren't we all?

Midway through his set, Alex told the crowd to ruminate on questions ("No song requests!") while he tuned his guitar. Amid a question about French fries and steak sauce and an admission that one of the back-up singers was his main squeeze, one tall guy raised his hand and asked Alex squarely, "Do you think Trump is a Fascist?"

Fair enough.

Alex hemmed and hawed, eventually concluding that 45 is many unpleasant -isms and -ists, but that Alex just didn't know enough about fascism to make the call. You have to appreciate a man who admits to not knowing.

The show wound down at a reasonable enough hour to contemplate a nightcap and while Saison Market was just battening down the hatches, Saison (bless their hearts) had two hours and change left on the meter. We arrived just as the bar turned over entirely, saw it through a slow period and watched it begin to fill back up.

All without moving much at all. Except for the hour, Mom would have been proud.

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