Drum roll…

So we are going out for a night on the town. It is a Saturday night. We are supporting a friend, a Brubeck aficionado who happens to be playing in a little jazz club in the French Quarter – Le Plateau in Montreal. Brubeck is someone most people will know or be familiar with. You seriously do not have to be a jazz enthusiast.

We walk in and the small group of patrons are huddled around the stingy stage. Well of course this is the stereotypical image of a ‘jazz’ club… it’s not mass traffic if you get my drift. I mean with bistros and cafes and all kinds of different themed restaurants, little nooks and crannies like this jazz club are not for the masses. Do I think those who listen to jazz are elitist? Hell no. Not me. I certainly know very little about it. I just like the intimacy of it all. You get to the see the musicians up close, trying to figure out if they are free-styling or just keeping to their rehearsed routines. You get to see the expressions on their faces as they interact with each other via their instruments. I also like to sit close to anything that has a douuum-doummm thing, a bass sound that you feel reverberating deep into your belly. Like the sensation you get with a bass pan. And jazz music offers that … you gotta to have the bass!

As we get stuck in, a few more patrons come down the steps and things start getting racier. A bit more of a buzz. Some patrons are really into it. Shaking their heads to the beats, moving their legs, moving their fingers like they are playing an imaginary keyboard on the tables where they nurse their glasses of wines or cold beers. The drummer is the leader of the band and our friend. He is an enthusiast. He tells me he practices for hours daily. I can tell he is disciplined. He is also meticulous and organised as I look at his expensive drum kit. All the tools of the trade are at his fingertips. At one point, as he is heavy into the playing, I see him drop his stick and he deftly grabs another one from the neatly compartmentalised canvas pack, that I nicknamed in my head…’the sticks of his trade’. The music continues.

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Suddenly, my antennae picked up the goings-on at a table not too far from ours. Two ladies, both middle-aged, dressed in clothes that reflect a latter day fashion sense. Eighties I was thinking. One was homely looking, friendly, almost ‘Mumsy’. Her female companion was slightly younger. She looked like a modern day bachelorette – albeit mature. For all I know she could be quite the opposite – but it is simply the way she looked. I thought her dress was noticeable too. Jersey material, clingy as if it was trying to be sexy but not quite hitting the spot. It didn’t cling alluringly enough in all of the right places… as I smiled to myself. Fashion wise – it was not modern or retro….just blah. Bright geometric patterns, with the hem stopping on her knees. To finish it off she had on these heavy clog like black shoes….that maybe had ‘made in Holland’ written on the sole. (Naughty me).. In my humble opinion, the whole ensemble looked a little imbalanced. But she had lovely hands and she wore big rings to bring attention to her slender fingers. Her face though, was vacant. She drank slowly and kept her eyes fixed on the jazz quartet when they were playing. Clearly she not ‘nosey’ like me, I thought.

When the musicians stopped for breaks she would sit at the table with her friend in silence, mostly looking into her glass of red wine. Her friend, every so often, would skim the room discreetly with friendly eyes. Then suddenly a guy appeared. He definitely looked like a 70’s playboy. I mean he had a kind of rugged finish, but at the same time, he was tired looking. As if he had lost his glossiness three decades ago and was trying to find it back by dressing in a similar style of that bygone era. What saved him, I was thinking, was his leanness. Later, as the evening progressed, and I continued watching, I realised his leanness was related to his ‘tight-fistedness’ for he definitely was not a spender! As we say at home, when complaining about bad dates, his pockets appeared to be stitched up. He ordered and paid for one drink that he sipped slower than a snail moving one cm. That one glass of beer was going to be the love fest for the entire evening, he was going to make it last and last and last.

The music starts back. I am listening and waiting for the moments when each musician gets their solo moment as I like to see our friend Vince, break the drums out of their jazz reverie to wake up the crowd when he gets his turn. The audience is generous. Clapping heartily away at the mini-concerts of each musician. I take a little peek at the two ladies and the gentleman. Out of the blue, the ‘Mumsy’ companion gets up and walks out leaving the bachelorette and the 70’s pin-up guy at the table. As she is leaving, we make eye contact and she gives me a little smile. I think she had done her day’s work. She probably accompanied her girlfriend to the club so that her girlfriend could have a date with her 70’s guy. But the 70’s guy might have been a no-shower or there was some uncertainty as to whether he would come or not. I mean, let’s face it, we’ve all been there. The dating game. Is he or isn’t he? Will he show up or not? Do I pay or does he? And you cannot ‘google’ it as they don’t have the answers either. It is what it is – a cattle round up… the rituals of dating.

So now that the girl-friend of the girl-friend has gone – it’s just the two of them. Now I have to switch my ‘spyng metre’ and change from examining girl-friends socialising to ‘coupling’. My glass is empty. When asked if I wanted a refill I said no. The truth is I didn’t want any antics with the BF’s credit card that is always acting like it’s too ‘tired’ to pay up. That’s another story in itself, his love-hate relationship with his credit cards.

Final break. The musicians swig some beers etc. Nobody is leaving now. Then all of a sudden, two ladies are giggling coming down the stairs. They obviously ‘bar-hopping’ as this party is almost done and they are looking well suzzled. The barman guided them right next to a table with the 70’s hipster and the aged bachelorette. By now, not only me, but Vince’s wife Genevieve, are eye-balling all the comings and goings. Her English is good, my French is crap but we needed few words to communicate. Bacchanal is bacchanal whatever your language! Both of us are women and we know we just spotted two very lush, rambunctious lady drinkers on a night out. Genevieve is a classy lady. She is so restrained and poised you could almost miss her if you don’t look sharp. Quiet spoken, shiny ‘coiffed’ hair, petite frame. I would often feel like a cabbage patch doll next to her. But she is always nice and gracious to me and whenever we go for a meal at their house, they serve the most beautifully proportioned food, that is always colour coordinated and healthy. I often lament to my partner, see small portions mean small bellys! Another thing about her, is that she never eats dessert. She is not pretending in that ‘figure conscious’ kind of way. The woman is so petite I feel if she ate more than a handful of food she would collapse from the weight of it in her stomach. She is not thin and fly away, more like a doll. So now both of us are really going hard with the spying – she being a bit more discreet than me.

Anyway the two drinking ladies, spot the odd couple, and started exchanging glances and snickering from the word go. One of them kept looking at the bachelorette as if she was from another planet. There she was with her modern-day tight Capri pants, cut-away top and strappy sandals, flat-ironed hair and mascara eyes and she watching the ‘bachelorette woman’ as if she was a fashion hazard – wondering if she would catch the ‘bad fashion bug’ from being in such close proximity to her. They ordered mojitos. I thought they looked stupid. Two grown ass women downing their drinks and licking salt off their hands. Then as soon as they finished, with their faces still grimacing over the salt intake, they break into smiley pouts, pull out their respective phones and start taking selfies. What d bananas? “Is this a drunk version of Thelma and Louise we have here tonight?”

In between their antics, the music started up again. It is last lap so it’s all for one and one for all! Louder and catchier tunes are rendered. If you were subdued for the evening thus far, now was your time to shake a leg. Well on my table, neither Genevieve nor I were moving too much but my partner was clamping away, foot, hand, head everything moving. He was going for gold! The two ladies too – the latecomers – they were dancing up and clapping more than anyone else in the bar. One of them got out of her seat and did a little jig to the bar (how do you ‘jig’ to jazz… don’t even ask) to order more alcohol. The ‘odd couple’ were the only two people staring at the jazz quartet musicians without any movement. Two statues. Hhhmm… then all of a sudden, just like that, they both got up and headed for the exit. We all stared after them. Me and Genevieve, and the two ‘drinking ladies’. Just like that, the other sideshow of the evening left the club. A few minutes later, the jazz musicians climaxed… all played out ….last drum roll… everything stopped. Clap, clap, clap…. Time to pack up. Lights people….party done! I hope the aged bachelorette and the 70’s pin up guy had a nice private soirée wherever they ended up…. ♥♥♥

This morning…

Distracted by the sound of the ship’s horn as I tried to fix my morning face 🤗….I snapped the fast moving liner through the not-so-clean bathroom window…here it is in black and white. Just think if that abandoned yellow house was not there the view would have been impeccable…even from the tiny bathroom window. Then a quick  selfie and a full sea view shot…I think photgraphing everyday life is a reminder to me that I won’t always be in the same place so take notice!..🏡👓

A closed mind is a good thing to lose…(Anonymous)

I came upon the word ‘dystopian’ this morning as I am getting ready to start my day. It means…

“relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

“the dystopian future of a society bereft of reason”

I am taken by it and plan to write something that draws on this predicament.

Just before I read this article introducing me to the word and leading me off to the dictionary, I had just finished looking at short video clip of a British couple opening a food shop where no packaging is used. Linking a ‘commercial’ undertaking to sustainable living by removing harmful packaging from the world that has devastated the natural environment for ages. Yes. Everyone one agrees. The video is viral. The idea is a no brainer. People loved it.

But I have questions. The feel good factor only lasted a few seconds for me. When the glossy clip finished I shook my head…this is normal it seems, to see a plethora of these types of initiatives. First world initiatives undertaken by people, in the very societies that cumulatively for decades, caused these and other problems, not just for themselves but for the rest of the world, and now they are poised to reap the benefits, from us, for cleaning up their mess. And the irony of it is this: they now have access to resources to markets, to sell, and make a good living by telling the rest of the world how not to do what they (ie their societies) have done and benefitted from for decades. They are the ones with resources – and I speak of financial, technical, economic – to ‘package’ and sell back to us, what a sustainable lifestyle is. They sell back to the very places, communities all over the planet, the receivers of the debris from the word go. It is irony to me. And us, non-first worlders, non-whites, languishing out of the orbit of first world white privilege, lap it up. We once again will drink their kool-aid. Am I saying that they are not environmentally aware? No. I’m saying why are they always in charge when they themselves, ie the consumerist-led societies they come from, are the problem or have been the problem for decades? Yes. It is capitalist consumerism to sell but who cleans up their mess? Where are the resources for that? Many little satellite countries are either battling to keep abreast of their own generated debris as well as mind the cumulative build up of cultural consumption that encouraged lifestyles of waste and neglect. There are not enough resources for smaller countries/societies to do both. So the developing, emerging, non-first world countries steam ahead whilst we play catch up. Some things never change.

Just to expand on my point. I am sent links, video clips, imagery, beautifully taken photos, life-coaching gems from young, white Caucasians re-colonising the web space to tell us, billions out in the hinterlands, how to live and think beautifully. And it bothers me that the people who send me these links etc, are lapping up posts like these like there is no tomorrow. Both young and old people of colour. People like me. Well travelled, aware of the imbalance in the world order. How could this mundane, white girl have such resonance in your life? Do blacks or ‘others’ resonate in their lives apart from Obama?! Is there not an obligation for those of us who understand the subtleties of racial dominance, not thrive to discover and seek out the voices on and off the internet for those ‘others’ who speak for us? Why would I want to endorse wholesale, the legions from the very same groups (different generations albeit), that come from the long, long line of overt and covert expansionist type first world societies that has had one mantra for centuries: conquer, exploit, expand. Why are their voices being heard more in the din, than the many non-whites? Why are younger people of colour, blacks and browns becoming so neutralised that the writings of bland white perspectives resonate so much? Is the world equal? Is meritocracy just an idea or a legitimate fact? Why would young black, browns, etc not aggressively seek out the voices of people that speak for them instead of surrendering to the DIY philosophers of this and that which addresses nothing about the imbalance of the very societies that they live in and presumably benefit from? Why? Don’t we want more?

I know that I tend to sermonise when I write about the real things that affect my sense of well being in this world. When I look around me and see new generations of non-whites, lapping up the candied floss outlooks of life and love and success and empowerment, I am saddened. How easy it has become to slot into first world, bland thinking (that is white saturated) when the evidence of ongoing racism and inequity, exploitation and mayhem is everywhere around you. So what if @beyoubeautiful posts about ‘loving yourself’ and ‘forgiving yourself’ with her long, blond hair flowing around her as she poses in iconic places, like the mountains in Peru? Does she draw inspiration from the pen of an awkward black woman who lives her life with grit every day? Why give your time, your thoughts, your energy, your support, your ‘likes’ to ideas you know only pertain to the privilege of some of these posters? These are people who ultimately are here to promote an idea of good living that has nothing to do with real humanity, justice and freedom? That means, my friends, they are not writing for you and me.

Quotes…

Excerpt from a BBC Culture website article

“The first story goes:
Once a young woman came to Hafiz and said,
“What is the sign of someone knowing God?”
And Hafiz became very quiet, and stood in silence
for nearly a minute… lovingly looking deep into the
young woman’s eye, then softly spoke,
“My dear, they have dropped the knife. The person
who knows God has dropped the cruel knife most
so often use upon their tender self – and others.” ♥

Just like a prayer…

1. First Lord, no more grey hairs on my moustache and chin please..not until I am 70.😨

2. May I not fall into the trap of ‘mutton dressed as lamb’. This means, Father that you have to switch it up for me…in order that I may dress appropriately. From ‘champagne taste with beer money’ to champagne all the way…or Proseco at the very least…😒

3. Give me the strength to swan pass French pastries and desserts with grace. Cast out my lustful thoughts for all things chocolate…😛

4. May I keep my teeth forever..😬

5. Lead me away from ‘dehumanising’ situations like elections, staff meetings, crowded maxi taxis, and family bacchanal….🙈🙉🙊

6. Show me my Lord, the way to wealth…not spiritual wealth for I can get that from the hundreds of ‘psuedo-religious-New Age’ books. I mean real wealth in the form of real money like Euros, USDollars and UK sterling. Banish the evil nuisance of TT dollars from my life forever….💰❤️

7.  Lord also, may I never have to wear high heel shoes again that are made in China..from plastic and are always too shiny…👣😩

8. Please quieten the helter-skelter madness of my hormones every time a male appears. Remove the male threat from disrupting my hormonal composure. My hormones and I will thank you Father for the serenity you grant us during this tumultuous journey…👏🏽🙏🏽

9. Lord shower me with astounding social media success and savvy. On Facebook, Instagram and blogosphere. I prayer for your abundant blessings in the form of many, many intelligent and not-so-intelligent ‘friends’ and ‘followers’. Let my ‘friends/followers’ follow my ‘posts’ and ‘speechifying’ and not ‘unfriend/unfollow’ me just because ….👏🏽🌹

10. ..😇❤️

11. Dear Father..give me the strength to make the best Business Plan for my creative endeavours. That I may not bore the already stingy financiers to distraction by trying to sound knowledgeable when in fact I am clueless…🐷😖

In your good name….🙏🏽👏🏽🎈

AMEN
🙊😍❤️❤️❤️