Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Biblical Violence of a Well-Tuned Piano

The coffee shop was pleasantly empty when I plopped down at my perfect corner table. The hodge podge of flyers in the window is such that my keyboard is dappled in sunlight but the rest of me is ensconced in refreshing shadow. I thought I may have latched onto a perfect coffee shop morning, where the great work can be done in peace.

Then befitting of my calloused view of the modern condition, both tables adjacent to mine were subsequently filled with murmuring ninnies. One set of perfumed ladies are bemusing that fact that one neighbor is always late and she has tocall her15 minutes ahead so she'll only be 30 minutes late and OH I KNOW!!! and immediately to my back, there is a quiet guy that apparently has no boundary issues, since I can feel his back only inches away from mine. It is an intimacy for which I am not looking, but there are limited plugins in this place, so maybe it can't be avoided. He could've sat at the other chair.

I told my daughter this morning, who is feeling the weighty struggle of the transition to first grade, to try to have a good day today, go into it with a positive attitude, so I want to take that own advice and make lemonade here in this very crowded lemon bin, but then I just heard some business-suited harpy at the counter order loudly A DOUBLE DECAF ESPRESSO IN A LARGE CUP AND FILL THE REST WITH DECAF!!! which strikes me right now as an order so asinine I want to throw a chair at her from across the room. I can see it, if for some reason you want to stink up your breath with the taste of espresso without any of its magical effects, but to then drown the whole mess in decaf is too much to bear. You are ordering something stupid just to make somebody make it. I am not meant for this world today.

So, deep inside this sun-dappled laptop I find La Monte Young's 5+ hour long The Well Tuned Piano - 5 discs of minimalist rolling thunder that, once he gets through 5-10 minutes per disc of arid single notes, comes on in an unending rush, attacks all the stupid people, sitting too closely and ordering stupid coffee and kvetching about the level of control in their social lives, like a swarm of locusts, leaving them bleached, slack-jawed skeletons when each disc comes to an abrupt end. I wish these headphones had speakers pointing out so that I could create a sphere of protection/menace, a forcefield of ice-cold monotonous piano gibberish, an untethered Tesla coil of sonic mayhem laying waste to those around me. Just the idea of it makes me feel better already.

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