Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hydrocephalitic Newsomness

I surprised Jennifer and she liked it. Jennifer does not like surprises. But yesterday when the doorman said “This way for Joanna Newsom” when we stepped into the white marble of the Brooklyn Academy of Music Jennifer was happy. Of course, I know Jennifer would be happy because she thinks listening to Joanna Newsom sing is “so decadent,” almost too great, because she likes her so much. I like her too, so I was happy to plunk down the money for the tickets (claiming them as birthday presents) and brave the sold-out crowd of hipsters swilling bourbon out of stowed away flasks.

The concert was good. Joanna played her harp and sang like a Nevada City whippoorwill nibbling at exotic mushrooms. And I miss hearing her right now real hard. She reminded everyone listening that Barack Obama is running for president this next Tuesday and that a banjo, harp, and violin sound nice together when only one woman sings. She sang with grace and discipline, flying fingers, and that transcendent symphony of solid sounds plunking on top of each other like linkin’ logs fitting just right. It’s the kind of enchantment that can make time cease to matter and energy flow in particles and waves. It’s nice to link up with that sort of train of laments and exclamations for a while and cut through the ice and snow like a desperate locomotive in Jiangsu Province and lean into the person next to you and away from the hormonally disturbed man on the other side of you and be content to be 26 or 28 and no where near your illusory destination.

The most important thing is to not mind being tired; or, another way, trying not to be grumpy. Grumpiness is what makes people mad and no fun. So just be tired and sad and hopeful and try to practice Chinese when you can. It’s the best thing for it other than going to bed.

If you would like to see the official Chinese Communist Party perspective on the place Jennifer and I were just living in click here.


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