El Merengue

At the risk of sounding overly noble– sometimes I want to see my friends succeed so badly I can barely stand it, and when they do, it makes me hoarse with pride.  At the root, it is self-serving because by my logic if my friends are interesting and successful people, then perhaps I can feel the same about myself?

A sweat-polished Fender bass, near to a thousand gigs behind it- 995 of those gigs in the hands of his octagenarian father,  my friend pulls the beat from it while my own father sits in on guitar, the congalero is in a trance, he is also amigo to me, not this master musician.  A couple gets up to dance, they are amazing- no. They are incredible- as in it all seems staged and unreal.  The small, packed room cheers them and they move roller coaster hips in Converse All-Stars and high heels.  We are the hippest collection of gringos to ever watch them dance and we can’t stand it, we all want more, and the band won’t let them quit.   I see them talk with their eyes.  He says, “Tienes mas?”  She purses her lips, “Por favor chico, siempre!”  Finally the keyboard signals the break and the band, the dancers, and us, the audience, take a deep breath, a swig of wine, to see us through to the end.  This room has never seen this moment, and this moment is already gone, and the next one is passing. My hands sting from clapping and I want to carry all of them; band, father, friends, audience around the room on a chair and celebrate them, but instead I just smile, and clap and dance in my own chair.

Last night I thought of that evening as I rode a murderous lap around the trail, no joy in my heart, no sap in my legs, just knives and brass knuckles in my determined heart. I ran over a snake while racing the clock, which I believe must be a high sin.  I think it was not the killer, but the benign Lampropeltis elapsoides, the Scarlet King Snake, and he deserved better.

Let us rush in this life, but be in no hurry.


7 Responses to El Merengue

  1. There you go, I’m dancing on your words. What great images, Juancho.
    Yoko Ono wrote once, “When in a hurry, dress slowly.”
    I think of that often.

  2. Oh man!


    This makes me sad and happy at the same time. I have been in both those places. Argentinian tango artists and on the trail this very day.

    Not kidding.

    You have my heart dude



  3. Wow Buzz! Is there a chance we are the same person? Who can explain string theory to me in 140 characters or less?