Last night at the restaurant, a relatively well known local musician played. This is not uncommon, we have live music now four nights out of seven. This particular man is someone I've heard stories about for a while and his name was known to me but I'd never had the, ahem, pleasure of seeing him perform.
Here's the thing about musicians. My Daddy is a musician. Not Daddy Glen, of course, but my biological father. Padre is a guitar player and a damn fine guitar player, probably the best I've ever seen close up and personal. I grew up in houses filled with music, with musicians and late night jam sessions. Dancing in the living room, dancing barefoot in the dirt, dancing with my Mama and dogs and crazy-eyed wild men who drove their women crazy but who could make sweet sounds with those bad boy hands. Men and women who sang, men and women who may not be able to make rent but who always had instruments, even if the amps blew, even if the speakers buzzed. Rock and roll jingle jangle was the lullaby of my childhood and I still feel safe and sleepy at live shows.
When you grow up with musicians you don't revere them. You may adore them, you may love them to pieces, you may need them to complete you, but that sort of otherness reverence is reserved for talent a little less familiar. I need my Mama to make me black eyed peas and collard greens, I need my Daddy to play Do Right Woman. To quote Michelle, "Same same."
So when I'm faced with a musician who glad hands gregariously and postures shamelessly and looks at the air above my head and says a bunch of nothing words that mean, "You think I'm great. I think I'm great too." I feel nothing but exasperation. Shut up and play the damn music already. Make me want to dance, that's all I ask.
This man last night was one of those. I understand how it happens, I do. He is loved and he has a certain bellowing charm, and it takes a lot of balls and attitude to get yourself up there and on stage and rock the house. It's protection and projection and without it I don't know if you can survive that particular lifestyle. But really....
Before he went on I introduced myself because I know he knows my family, and has shared bills with our Fairy Godparents Lon and Lis. I told him I was Mary Moon's daughter and he knew right off which clan I come from. His eyes lit up and said "So Jessie is your sister!" and then proceeded to tell me that he's going to buy her a drink in a couple of weeks for her 21st birthday, and that men will be lining up to buy my girl a drink. I looked at him squinty eyed but had to agree, my girl is a beautiful angel and that's just the plain truth. Then he asked me if I played music and I said no, but that my Daddy, Jerry Thigpen is a guitar player..... and he cut me off. "Ah, so Jessie is your half sister." He said it with his voice bent down and final, like he knew what time it was.
Let me just say that nothing makes my blood boil more than the words "half sister" in relation to the sisters mine. When I was in grade school I knocked a girl down for saying those words that very same way. It's been a long time since grade school, but babies, I am not afraid to knock a bitch down. Any day can be bitch-knocking day as far as I am concerned. There are no halves in my family, no steps, no halves, no partways or sideways or sometimes or maybes. Who claims this family? I do, now get the fuck out of my way.
He got back on stage and growled and shouted through his set, and I hustled and served and bussed and leaned in close to hear my orders. My feet were fleet, my spine was straight, I picked 'em up and knocked 'em down. The crowd was into it and happy, buying beers and singing along. But no one danced. No one danced and the man on stage did not make eye contact and for me it was all just background noise. It was over for me as soon as he cut his eyes away and cut off my words. I feel sorry for a man who thinks that the blood in your body is more important than the bodies in your blood. #1) Sleazy. #2) Self important. #3) Didn't make me dance. Music? Fail. I do believe I will ask off next time that man is scheduled to play.
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