The Standard

July 30, 2011 § 3 Comments

Man, yeah, it kinda sucks to remember a peak and tonight – Friday Night! – I’ve sorta talked to everyone I talked to while actually just fixating on this:

My lovely ex-wife (truly a brilliant fox, I imply no antiquated ex-wife humor.) She had this Grandmother, very dignified, regal even, who lived to be 96 I think, maybe 100. She was already older than Moses when I first met her. This beautiful old woman with hair to her waist in appropriation of Native-Southwestern hip, old as she got to be, snarky and alert, she still had the good taste to somehow cue everyone with some notice when she was truly calling it, had endured enough earth-realm. We visited for Christmas a couple weeks before she died.

So one afternoon the aforementioned lovely ex-wife and I are hanging out alone with her and she’s in bed. The aforementioned lovely ex-wife has to run an errand and I’m left alone with Grandmother for an hour. We liked each other. It was obvious and it wasn’t awkward to be left alone with her.

She said, ‘Oh Tim, you play music. I’ve never heard your songs. Will you please play me one?’ My guitar was in the next room because you know, however much we did get along, of course it was still a little bit boring to sit with a bed-ridden old lady for a few days. So I grabbed my guitar and sitting in a chair next to her bed, maybe less than two feet away from her, I played her 5 or 6 songs.

It was the only time in my life that I ever played for a specific audience of one. She died a couple weeks later. I never saw her again. The songs I played for her, I’ve played them a million times each. Sometimes I’ll play them for $100 thinking the whole time about Whole Foods -vs- Trader Joes. Sometimes I’ll mistake demonstrative emotional investment for expression.

That mid-afternoon spontaneous performance in a small town in Oklahoma for an audience of one set the standard. I know it’s a lot to ask from every show – the day to day of being a traveling phony – but I’m pretty sure that every show that is not played to an audience of one on his or her deathbed is bullshit. And maybe every show I ever played was only preparation for that one performance.

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§ 3 Responses to The Standard

  • Paul Chapman says:

    That was a beautiful idea of how music/something (or so much more) affects or impresses.

  • Michael Brown says:

    Very interesting take, I believe you may be right in some regard. On an administrative note, It’s really weird you choose this song. I have been thinking of this song for about two weeks now…

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