01 December, 2006

Real Life, Part 2: I Don’t Feel Like Dancing Or Singing!

This series consists of a somewhat fictionalized account of things that probably actually happened but maybe not in this order, with a few identifying and temporal details altered.

John and I are in the Philosophy building handing out planners and giving surveys. It’s pretty fun, and people seem very responsive today. An older lady approaches us and asks if professors can participate, too. Of course they can! We love meeting professors, and Iva is very friendly. She’s telling us all her ideas of ways we can serve the students better, and topics she wants us to do seminars on. She starts talking about Turkey (the country) and how she used to do ballet dancing. I am getting really excited at this point. Maybe too excited. But what are the odds? I might want to move to Turkey some day, and I used to do ballet, and I’m so happy I’m grinning. We keep talking about dancing and other things and trying to go to coffee sometime. And John is grinning, too. Because she said belly dancing. Not ballet.

My work there is done, and I’m on my way home to practice guitar, which I am very much looking forward to. The sidewalk up ahead is obstructed by a delivery van, so I make a quick choice between dodging oncoming traffic and maneuvering between the van and the storefront. I opt for the squeeze, and right before flattening myself against the crumbling exterior of the building, the deliveryman crosses my path. Dressed in a bright blue jumpsuit with wisps of white hair stirring in the wind, he bursts through the door. Upon entering the small market, he breaks into song, belting out, “I love you BABY!!! And if it’s quite alright, I need you BABY...” It’s obvious that the twenty-something serenade-ee is just as surprised as I am, and I smile the rest of the way home.

A few minutes after I get there, my friend/guitar buddy arrives. She’s very friendly and sweet and is teaching me how to play. I make some tea for us and get out the honey and sugar. While we’re pouring and steeping, and catching up with one another, I put a few drops of honey in my tea, but then ask for the sugar because the honey is this dark kind that tastes funky and I really don’t like it. She demands to know why I want sugar and why I don’t use more honey. I start explaining that I don’t like the taste, but before the words come out she lectures me on the importance of caring for my voice. Lemon is good, and so is honey, but NOT sugar. I begin to protest, “But, but I don’t need to care for my voice, I’m not--“
“Today you must sing!” She takes my steaming tea and pours 2/3 of it into the jar, melting and absorbing all of the remaining honey, then she returns the mixture to my cup. “There. Drink that.” At this point I’m pretty much speechless. Not knowing what else to do I begin to lift the beverage to my lips, but she stops me. “No, no. Now it is too hot, wait for it to cool,” she says, simultaneously miming the presumed scalding of my vocal chords that would occur were I to drink such hot liquid.

We make our way into the bedroom, beverages in hand. Getting settled and ready to play, I take a sip of the now-lukewarm nasty-honey-infused tea. I try to hide it but my face contorts. My companion nods approvingly, “Yes, this is very good for you.” We run through some chords and strumming patterns and I’m happy because it’s getting easier. Then she lays out a simple worship song and says, “We will sing this now.” I start to play, just barely humming along while concentrating on keeping the whole guitar-playing thing going, assuming that she will do the singing part. She stops me.
“Why you not sing?”
“WHY you not sing? You must sing.”
“Well, it’s in Croatian, and I can read it, but it’s hard to concentrate on both…”
“I will play then, and you will sing. We will sing in English.”
Things are getting uncomfortable. She doesn’t seem to realize that I Do. Not. Sing. in front of other people unless it's like a whole group worship thing because then it's required by Jesus and I don't want to be struck down. I see that she will do everything short of climbing down my throat and working my pipes herself to make me sing out loud. I try once more to say that I don't want to and as I sing quietly she becomes extremely grave. She rebukes me for not worshiping the Lord and fighting the 'negatives' away by raising my voice. What can I do? I sing.

To Be Continued...


Daniel said...


Fantastic narrative :-)

Slim said...

I once read that when it came to writing F. Scott Fitzgerald had nearly "perfect pitch." I think you may have the gift.

Anonymous said...

Really good blogging. How about doing this: I will learn how to play the guitar and we can trade the tutoring: me teaching guitar, you blogging?

p.s. i'm not logging in, since this thing is annoying.

Alexis said...

Dan: Thanks. Good work with the Ask Dan thing, I'm working on some more questions.

Jesse: 'perfect pitch'... ha ha, nice. If only I had that in the vocal arena. But seriously, thank you.

Anonymous: Sounds good, but I don't know who you are... Zoran?

Anonymous said...

Is my English lacking something that you can pinpoint me with such ease?

Yep, it is I, Leclerc (a frequent quote from a British tv series 'allo 'allo)

kerri said...

hahahahahha...i wish our 8 minute talk today included that story. miss you

Matt Mikalatos said...

"required by jesus" is my favorite quote of the day, and would be an excellent name for a book, song, or poetry collection. :)

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