A couple of weeks ago I wandered around a park in Adams Morgan playing music as part of Washington D.C.'s Fete De La Musique. It's always fun to play, of course, but that afternoon was made even more interesting by the informality of the whole thing. If not for a laminated 8 1/2" x 11" sign taped to a park bench, I could just as easily have been a random guy with a guitar as an officially sanctioned performer selected by the D.C. Council for the Arts and Humanities. No stage, no amplification of any kind, just me playing and singing. I didn't seem to bug anybody too much, but neither did I engage a huge crowd of onlookers. Those passing by generally continued to pass by, occasionally glancing or even smiling in my general direction. Two specific encounters from the afternoon remain fresh in my mind. One gentleman approached me in mid-song and repeatedly asked if he could borrow my guitar. As I vamped for a few bars and tried to explain to him that I was busy, he started rummaging through his bag, telling me that he even had his own pick. As though I would hand over the guitar without hesitation but I might not want to part with my pick. He eventually moved on, and I was able to finish the song without further incident. Another encounter reminded me how completely un-hip I am, as though I needed reminding. As a young man passed me by, I thought it was odd that he would ask me if he could borrow fifty cents. Even forgetting for a second that I was a government sanctioned musician in the middle of a song (didn't he see my sign?), he just didn't look like he needed to borrow money from me. There also was no urgency in his voice - the fifty cents didn't sound that important to him. As I soldiered on, it slowly dawned on me that he had asked me if I knew any songs by rapper 50 Cent. Sadly, I did not. It was my only request of the day, and I didn't even realize it was being made.
From an A.P. story detailing the arrival of Ronald Reagan's body in Washington, D.C., last week:
"Overhead -- only 1,000 feet overhead -- 21 fighter jets screamed by in four formations, a wingman breaking away and rocketing upward to signify the loss of a comrade. "
If you've ever wondered what something like that would sound like from about a mile away when you can't see the jets and you have no idea what's going on, I'll tell you - it sounds like the end of the world.
That's really the only comment I have on all the funeral-related activities that transpired in this city last week.
Ten months to the day after his birth, I took my son to his first rock 'n roll show last Friday night. Had to go all the way to Town Point Park in Norfolk, Virginia, to do it, but it was well worth the trip. The boy seemed appropriately impressed with Fountains Of Wayne, who he may remember vaguely from about a month before he was born when the wife and I saw them at the 9:30 club. For those of you out there who are not yet converts, I cannot reccomend a band more highly. All 3 of their albums are wonderful, but if you're new to their music I would work my way backwards starting with their most recent record, "Welcome Interstate Managers."
Spent the rest of the weekend in sunny Virginia Beach, which is great if you like the ocean, the beach, and hotels. I'm probably spoiled from a lifetime of summer vacations in Ocean City, New Jersey, but I thought Virginia Beach lacked a little something in the charm department. We did find a miniature golf course only a couple of blocks from our hotel, which was cool. All in all a good time was had.