Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dancing Feet

To the left and to the right with Nina Simone record
Recently found magic moccasins

For the past four weeks, I have been doing a lot of sitting, likely more than I have done in the last four years.  I fear my butt looks like a seat cushion turned inside out. I am forbidden to bear weight on the right leg or do any movement that rocks the pelvis. This includes driving, swimming, stationery bicycle, upper extremity cycling motion in the OT gym, beating the wife or that other thing I shouldn't mention. I am allowed to tap my feet while sitting and listening to music. I am advancing nicely with this new discipline and have spent a lot of time in front of my sound system.

Brother James was down from Atlanta last week and we set up my turntable. Apparently it is top of the line, a gift from Charlotte last Christmas. Mr. Mitch, an audio guy, among other accolades, let me know I needed a 'preamp' to get it working. The preamp had come from Amazon just before my brother arrived. Since our  collective electronic skills remain on a fourth grade level, we ended up calling Mr. Mitch twice for guidance before we were able to finally get the system working.  Then we had to look all over the house to find any vinyl records and we were only able to come up with a few. Charlotte claims I gave the rest away, but I know I am not that generous. Nice to find a number of Kinks albums in their peak, which was not the early Kinks. I forgot how good they were and I enjoy a pleasant deja vu feeling when listening to them and tapping my feet.

Sun shines on brother James doing a Dwayne Allman imitation from the cover of Live at the Fillmore East. The
photo on the album cover was taken in front of this brick wall across form the Capricorn Studio in downtown Macon 

As far as the newer stuff, I extend thanks to Callie and Claire for Mumford and Sons, and to Gabe and Callie for The Civil Wars - optimistic lyrics with those sad melodies really striking a nice chord with my current moods. They remind me of the Cowboy Junkies. Thanks also to Emily for Blitzen Trapper's Furr, Charlie for Radiohead (not new), Chesley for The Shins and Sarah for Sharon Van Etten. All this music has helped me negotiate my 'couch potato' stage.

I have advanced through Physical Therapy to high tech crutches, which has given me more freedom to move forward with near normal walking speed and little discomfort. For sideways moves over short spaces, I'll need to dig deep into my bag of potential tricks, having 'foot tapping' down to a fine science.

It is a good idea to pay attention to the moves and the shoes of performing artists. The most unique and radical one I recall was that of Elvis the Pelvis. Despite a tremendous amount of movement, quite provocative at the time, he generally remained on the same spot. Michael Jackson's moonwalk was somewhat difficult to master but enjoyable to watch and try to mimic. About 15 years ago, Charlotte, Sarah and I flew to Washington D.C. to see the traveling Johannes Vermeer exhibit. As you probably know, he was a 17th century Dutch Golden Age Baroque painter, felt by many to have been the greatest ever, even though there are only 25 or so surviving paintings. At that time someone put most of them together for a two city show. For weeks they were on display in Amsterdam and then to Washington D.C. for an equivalent period of time. It was supposedly easy to see the exhibit. All you had to do was show up on any day the museum was open, wait in a small line and receive a free ticket with a specific time. We waited until the last week to fly to D.C.. Unfortunately for us, Time and Newsweek magazines featured the show on their respective covers a week or so before our scheduled trip. Suddenly this was THE show to see. When we arrived, the line for tickets was backed up to Baltimore, and within an hour we were told, no more tickets.

We went into the museum to check it out and see what we could do. With so few paintings in the show, a makeshift gallery was constructed within a much larger space. We had come a long way and were not going to take "no" for an answer lying down. Charlotte and Sarah sat on a bench just in front of the exhibit entrance, and commenced sobbing. This is always an effective chick move. Though I was similarly disappointed, I was not quite able to display that degree of emotion. Soon my distraught Vermeer lovers scored two tickets from a sympathetic type having extra tickets for unclear reasons. I had to rely on my own wits rather than feigned hysteria.

Needless to say, security was tight. The museum did not want anyone walking away with these multi- million  dollar masterpieces, some less than12 inches by 12 inches. There was no way to get through the entrance where armed guards hovered over the vigilant ticket takers. I was able to fully circle the walled off show, noting no side entrances and a fairly wide exit where the viewers were spilling out two or three abreast. This was my only hope. I meditated over the price of my airline ticket. It has been said of Sicilians (I am half Sicilian) "They would  eat their children rather than lose money, and they love their children."

There were many guards around the exit but they were mostly chatting and in good spirits. Despite their overtly displayed fire power, I surmised they were not likely to open fire on someone in a tight crowd, merely sneaking into the show. If they had any motivation or mission, it was to stop someone running out of the exhibit who had pulled down a painting, an action certain to have set off an alarm. No alarm, no attention. I had the joint cased in ten minutes. I then needed a plan.

Dancing feet, do not forget the dancing feet. Luckily I was wearing a pair of black leather moccasins purchased from a Santa Fe Native American several years earlier. He claimed the shoes had magical powers.
            " What kind of magic" I queried
            " You will see" he replied
I'll add he asked a preposterous price only an idiot would have agreed to pay based on the workmanship alone. The shoes however have been good to me. I occasionally wear them to work when I am on call for emergencies and too tired to take any new consults. Mysteriously, I always receive very few calls while wearing this foot attire. One of my partners, having noted the unconventional footwear, once asked:   
                  "Who would possibly call on you wearing those ridiculous shoes?"
So there may be another explanation, but I have concluded that I am somewhat invisible while wearing these moccasins.

So the plan was to play Michael Jackson's Thriller in my head and moonwalk with my "magic shoes," relatively invisible, into the show at the exit, as the ticket holders were leaving. I would be pointing in the same direction as everyone else, hopefully attracting no attention. I started the record as I walked calmly to the exit. Staring straight ahead, I made no eye contact, a skill perfected years ago while living in New York City. I commenced the moon-walk after one very subtle pivot, thus blending into the exiting body mass. The ruse worked perfectly and I do not think a patron, much less a guard, noted anything awry. The painting were fabulous and I was able to join my tear stained family on the inside.

Again I am in need of some extra movement. Occasionally I am in too tight a space for a walker or crutches and need to go sideways. Becoming invisible with the magic shoes will not help. Who moved this way? The answer, James Brown.  Just a matter of finding the one leg James Brown sideways shuffle on U Tube. It will take a few days to get it down. I sense another minor victory soon. I'll need many more in the next two months to remain sane and some magic too. Where are those shoes?