Attempted Jazz

I wish I could have gone to the press event this morning, but my doctor’s appointment ran over and I couldn’t get there in time. I was there in spirit, and texted Jeffrey to let him know that I would try to stop by, but by the time I got back to the ‘hood, it was over. I will just have to start wearing a safety pin so that I can be more visible as safe space, because even though I live in an EXTREMELY tolerant and diverse area, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems and everything is pixie dust and rainbows. Nothing is.

I was reminded of it when I got in an argument with a conservative on Facebook today, and I mean that in the Socratic sense of the word. Every time he made it personal, I said, “this is not about me, stop making it so.” The comments were relatively benign, but clearly designed as bait that I just wouldn’t take… for instance, he’d make a point and would say something like, “I know you’re going to call me a racist now. That’s what liberals do.” He called me a communist, told me to open my eyes, said the Kool-Aid had infected me, told me I wasn’t a real Christian because if I really believed in Christ I’d agree with him…… (not aware that Jesus put constraints on helping the poor, are you?) and still, every time he came at me, I redirected back into the content of the argument and didn’t pop off.

And to his credit, he took the redirection. Generally, when I redirect, the ad hominem attacks grow stronger trying to get me to engage, only to have the person stalk off in a huff because they haven’t achieved their goal in getting me to lose it first.

This is probably because I’ve spent so much time working on letting anger roll off. And then my mother died, and I doubt I’ll ever be rattled to the same degree ever again, because nothing anyone says to me- or anything that ever happens (short of another family member dying) will ever be as bad… and even then, it will be tempered by the fact that I’ve been in that hole before…. and I know the way out.

After said argument, it was time for a special choir practice to go over Christmas anthems (I’m in the quartet for this one). Ingrid and I had so much fun, because there was this one piece that when I looked at the composer, I started to giggle and leaned over to Ingrid and just pointed. She said, “Michael W. Smith. Of course you wrote this.” Then she took her pencil and put an arrow next to Michael’s name and wrote “of course you wrote this.” I said, “the only thing it’s missing is an Amy Grant line. I call it ‘attempted jazz.'” She was all like, “no. Attempted jazz. You did not. Kenny G is attempted jazz.” We just cracked up and high-fived. And if that wasn’t funny enough, we went from Michael W. Smith to Herbert Howells… which is basically the whitest, most Episcopalian music you can possibly imagine… written in England in the 20s and 30s.

Ingrid said, “here we go.”

I said, “flip your Rs, bitch.”

We both cracked up, and I couldn’t recover. I haven’t laughed like that since my mom died, and I needed it.

The last tidbit is that Sam thanked us for being there and I said, “well, I didn’t have a hot date tonight. You guys’ll do.” Ingrid looked at me completely deadpan and said, “thank you. Thank you…. so much.”

Again, I could not even with the laughing so hard I nearly fell out of my chair.

Ingrid is just one of those people I click with to the point that we could have our own TV show, but she’d be way more than half. It is my goal in life to make her laugh at my jokes as hard as I laugh at hers.

After all of this grief and pain, it seems like the most important achievement I could unlock. I got close when Sam said that the sopranos divert to the second line in the Michael W. Smith piece because the children’s choir is on the top line and I said, “OH! We get to do the Sandi Patty part!” (It was much, much higher.)

Reminded me of the time when my mom had a high A in one of her pieces for her children’s choir and none of her kids could hit it so she put me in a children’s choir robe (it fit) and sent me in as a ringer. After the service, I teased one of the guy choir members about something and he said, “I like your robe.” I laughed until I choked.

That memory was my mom acting as “angel on my shoulder,” and I relish it. I have spent my grief regarding Argo & Dana doubled over in laughter at the number of funny things that have happened between us, and my mother’s death has been no different… in fact, instead of feeling that the forces of the universe dropped my mother’s death in my lap as a lesson to me to prove what real grief is, I changed my mind. Being in grief beforehand made me better prepared to deal with more of it. Of course it is different, larger, more intense, but that doesn’t mean that just because the hole is deeper, you carry a different lantern.



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