Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Friday night C and I celebrated our one-year anniversary with a fancy dinner at a good French restaurant--hors d'oeuvres, a cocktail, and we split a dessert. All out. I got a little drunk on one margarita. I'm usually content with just making salad and throwing some chicken in it for dinner at home, with a glass of wine on the side, but I have to admit, there was something magical about candlelight, nice tablecloths, atmosphere, and delicious expensive food. Once in a while.

Then we went to hear Carla sing at Anna's Jazz Island--it was wonderful. C was especially taken by the bass player and the pianist she had backing her up. I got a chance to meet her parents--in her mother's case, to re-meet her. We hugged and gushed about Carla, who was sexy in a black camiusole and see-through black lace top over that, and who sang like a clear-eyed angel. The place was full, and C and I perched at the bar. Another new thing--we don't often go out to hear music together. There's a continual opportunity for re-discovery in a long-term relationship--oh yeah, we did this at the very beginning when we were just starting to date, but since then so much real life has rushed in that we forgot about those other luxurious sides of ourselves.

Saturday night I participated in a Malawi Wowee night at Interplayce--I read some of the poems I wrote about the Malawi trip. Lots of people who had been on that trip were there, so it had a special resonance--when I read "Eating Lake Flies," folks were there who could visualize exactly what I was talking about, the smoky funnel of flies thickly clustered around the porchlight, the laughing girl with the basket who dared us to taste her "fly patties."

Sunday morning's NY Times Magazine section was all about the power of play, so I called Cynthia up and told her about it. Researchers are studying the effects of play on children and young mice and rats--does it have a survival purpose? Does it help develop creativity and intelligence? The drive to play is so strong in young humans that even in Nazi concentration camps, little children found things to play with. I remembered the kids in Malawi playing with an empty tin of shoe polish, an old bicycle tire rim and a stiff straw for a hoop and stick. Kids don't need fancy toys, although they like them. They can make play objects out of anything around them.

Sunday afternoon we went to see Walkin Talkin Bill Hawkins; My Search for my Father, a play by my and Carla's friend W. Allen Taylor at Afro Solo (762 Fulton St., in San Francisco.) It's an amazing show, about the early days of black radio, and Allen's search to learn more about the father he never knew. It's still playing for two more weeks--go see it! The url is www.walkintalkin.com

This show was a benefit for Carla, so many of her friends were there--it was very emotional. First time I ever saw Allen cry while doing his show. I love one-man and one-woman shows--the energy and artistry and audacity of one person to stand up and hold an entire audience for ninety minutes while playing all the parts. Allen is especially affecting (to my mind) when he plays women--his mother, and another older lady who had worked with his father. He also played himself as a child, as a teenager, and as a young man, and he played his father's cronies, and he played some of the men who were surrogate father-figures to him. All in all, amazing.

C had wanted to mount and hook up his new beautiful speakers, so in and around all this cultural activity, he managed to find time to do so. I taught my class Sunday night at The Writing Salon, where somehow, in that weird synchronicity, several of my students are writing about death and grief. In truth, I was pretty beat by the time I got to class.

Monday we went to Michael's, a craft store, and bought a bunch of Velcro (it comes in many shapes, sizes, and degrees of toughness--who knew?) and then over to Carla's to see how we could help make it stick onto her boogie board and then onto the glove she'll wear. It's just a small modification, but hopefully it will help her stay more balanced and stable on her board when she's out riding the waves next week with Mac. It was good to see her, if just for a minute, and then I rushed out to Wing It! practice while C kept working on his beloved speakers. A full weekend--we crawled into bed at 10--and a good one, and today a morning full of chill gray rain.

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