Saturday, June 04, 2022

Dappled sunlight shone on the sloping street, occupied for now by grills and folding tables and kids drawing in chalk. People sat drinking beer, most on the building side but some, like us, by the graveyard. There was a space allotted for music: mic stands, speakers, drums up on the sidewalk.

Right now a duo played: a sax player in a dandyish leopard-skin suit and fancy hat and a guitar player dressed normal. They were pretty good. When they were done I spotted the sax player hovering around the food table as I got a hot dog.

“Mind if I… grab a…?” he said uncertainly.

I said of course, of course. Though nothing was mine to give.

“Nice playing,” I said. And really meant it. You don’t always mean it when you tell someone nice playing. It feels good to say it and mean it.

He made one of those ass-backward acknowledgments, “Thanks much to you” or something. It was a bit weirder though. Like maybe, “What you said I appreciate.” Might have even ended with “my man.”

I stood there for a moment wondering whether he actually understood that I wanted to pay him a compliment. Then he spoke again.

“You just wait for the next band. There’ll be LOTS more people,” he declared, pointing. “And that’s a PROMISE.”

And the next band played and he was in it. And they weren’t quite as good actually. And there were exactly as many people as before.