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Friday, September 6, 2013

Street Performance is the Only Viable Form of Theatre; or He Feels Like Wearing Gloves

I have been at the party all day.

“… and I think of you every time I see him.”

I blink. 

Lisa is talking.

I like Lisa.  She is what is right with the neighborhood:  She’s smart, easygoing, and she knows her beers.

I don’t see nearly enough of her. 

I blink again. 

The better to focus, my dear.

I giggle to myself.

Lisa grins.  “What time did you get here?”

I check my non-watch-wearing wrist, look at the sun, lick an index finger and hold it aloft.  She laughs.  “I really gotta start arriving at these things earlier.”

I smile.  “What were you saying now?  Something about seeing someone somewhere maybe?”

She nods.  “That guy at the tennis courts.”

Blink.

“With the boombox?  Best of Bad Company?”

Blink.  Blink.

“You’re kidding me,” she says.  “Has a boombox the size of one of those old aluminum Coleman coolers, blasts 70s rock? Does this weird interpretive dance?   Wears those old tight basketball shorts and suspenders?  No?”

I shake my head.  “And you’re saying that while I’m missing all this, you’re thinking I’ve seen it?”

“Great googly-moogly, girl!  I’m thinking you set him up to it!”

I laugh. 

That Lisa.

Three weeks later, I get off the afternoon bus a stop early.

It’s good for the legs.

And there he is, at the tennis court:  A man in a pair of old-school basketball shorts, a size, perhaps two sizes too small for him.  He is wearing a baseball cap turned to one side, a purple tank top, rainbow suspenders.


He drops to one knee, does a mad windmill with his right arm, his left one holding the neck of an imaginary guitar and howls “Bad Company!  And I can’t deny!  Bad Company!  ‘Til the day I die!”

I stop in my tracks.

The boombox is the size of one of those old aluminum Coleman coolers.

Lisa, I whisper.

The guitar forgotten, he rises, runs, elbows and knees pumping, from one end of the tennis court to the other.  In the background, Bad Company plays, the soundtrack to one man’s public devotion to performance art.

I stay for the full song.  He never looks at me.

But we both know.

Oh, we know, baby.


He’s bad company.

24 comments:

Indigo Roth said...

The Art of the Grotesque is alive and well and living in Minneapolis. Bless you.

Pearl said...

Indigo, he's a special one, all right. :-) I do love the strange people, though -- as long as they don't want my change. :-)

Camille said...

Just saw Bad Company in concert a few weeks ago...oh yes I did. And Skynard was also there representing. Excellent; but there were no suspenders or short-shorts in attendance. Bummer. Gawd, I'm getting old.

Timothy Hecht said...

Don't judge art. Just enjoy it.

Pearl said...

Camille, I just watched some special on them on TV. :-)

Timothy, I actually look forward to seeing him again. We have a theory that it's ALWAYS Bad Company, and I can't wait to see just how often it is...

jabblog said...

Is he collecting or does he do it for free?

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Best laugh so far today. thank you!

sage said...

Bad Company, that was good music. My brother had most of the Bad Company albums at the time I was more of a "Yes" kind of guy, going for the artistic rock as opposed to the head banging stuff)

Daisy said...

"Great googly-moogly"! I haven't heard that expression since I dated a sailor in the 1950s! :-D

Daisy's Barbara

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Life takes all types :) as my old boss used to say whenever someone strange would come into the store lol.

Pearl said...

Oh, jabblog, it's all for free. :-)

sage, they all have their place. I remember being particularly fond of Rush...

Daisy, well I'm glad you've heard it here, then!

Optimistic, it certainly does. And I'm hoping that, somewhere, he is sitting with a friend, telling him about the office-drudge type that got off the bus, stared at him, and how he lightened my load, if only for a song. :-)

Simply Suthern said...

No roller skates? or am I off a decade. They kinda ran together.

vanilla said...

Oh, Pearl. You never disappoint.

jenny_o said...

Are you sure LISA didn't set him up?!

Joanne Noragon said...

But why does Lisa think you when she sees him? She needed to tell you where to find him. A little less thinking, a little more direction.

Delores said...

It's nice there's a place for him to express himself...somewhere open where he can't hurt himself I mean.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Weren't those old-style basketball shorts always worn two sizes too small? Great googly moogly!

Geo. said...

I guess performance art has been around long enough now to need the attention of conservationists. Sounds like this fellow has been effectively restored.

Gigi said...

Oh Pearl - I so love to drop in for a visit over here. The visuals are grand and the googly-mooglys are even better. Have a great weekend!

Daisy said...

People watching is an endless source of entertainment but especially so when you describe it. :-)

River said...

If my shorts were two sizes too small I'd need suspenders to hold them up too.
He sounds like an interesting guy to watch, not necessarily to engage with.

the walking man said...

Someone has to put the lunatic in the fringe

Vapid Vixen said...

Oh my gosh! I thought this was just an entertaining story until I started reading the comments. This person actually exists!!! He's like the most magical of mythical unicorns.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Great people watching and Bad Company. Can't ask for more than that.
LOVE how you tell a story, Pearl.
xo jj