Sometimes it’s fun to compare what you were doing around the same time a year ago. Obviously,
the things that got you going a mere 12 months ago seem incongruous if you were to be doing it now. Yes, it’s the what-was-I-thinking blindsight that makes me look back in dumbfounded (the operative word being ‘dumb’) amazement.
Exhibit A: Keane’s “Perfect Symmetry” Tour, Aug 13th, 2009.
1. This one-night concert, with standing-room only, meant I was at the grassy knoll of Fort Canning at 6.30pm in a mad attempt to mark my territory as close to the stage as possible.
Call me a groupie if you want. Better to call me idiotic, because as it turned out, Keane only came on at 9pm, with local indie acts and a surprisingly good French band opening for the Brit band.
Call me crazy for not anticipating that I’d be squeezed and pressed on all sides by teeming youths, who were delighting in the nearness of Tom Chaplin, the main vocalist, and Tim Rice-Oxley, the brilliant piano player.
Thankfully, I could text my frustrations to my mountaineer friend who was somewhere lost in the crowd way back, and Andre, who stood helpless on the perimeter of the damp and frenzied crowd, unable to wade through the 20-deep bodies to get to me. I stubbornly stood my ground, which was prime real estate, being merely 10 feet from the stage. This picture proves it:
Exhibit B: Today, I’ve gained enough confidence in my keyboard skills to smile at my musical mistakes made during Sunday services and move on. A year ago, it would have been unthinkable. . . I would have mulled over the mistake, put myself down, and felt stupid. But now, I laugh and move on.
I don’t take this new freedom, a release from self-condemnation, for granted. And while I’ve leagues yet to cover as a piano player, I am thankful for all the opportunities given to me in my church’s music ministry, and the luxury of time that I can spend practicing, dabbling in songwriting, and now, singing.
Exhibit C: C is for Circle
I can’t believe how my circle of friends has expanded, and I don’t mean in a I-have-699-Facebook-friends way. Even if I had 699 FB friends, everyone knows that only six or nine ever read/like/comment on your posts, updates, photos, and links. And to my six FB friends, muchos abrazos.
Somethings have a ripple effect, and if God chooses, some inconsequential odd seeds can root and grow and push up myriad flora and fauna of astonishing beauty. Like the frangipani tree. Petite, as trees go, but with a simplicity of flower and beguiling scent that makes one pause in mid-sentence.
One odd seed is the runner’s group, which started off early this year. We are now a small tree, grown to be a tight band of brothers and sisters, enduring the pain, finding the inspiration behind the perspiration, and reveling in our afterburn appetites for carrot cake, oyster omelette, and other glorious lard-laden hawker foods.
Gradually, and all of a sudden, old friends have emerged from the mists of time (not to mention memory) and converged onto this little island that is my life.
That they all seem to be converging this month, a time of year which can be infuriatingly hot, oddly monsoon-ish (like now), or calm, like the eye of a hurricane, is a matter of timing that comes from the wristwatch of the Divine. Some have been abroad for work and have come back, one is a face from another time and place, some have the distinction of being faces I knew in my Caesar salad days and whom I seem to be discovering for the first time. That last is a heady combination which can mess with your head because it has got to do with a quarter-century gone in a morning of sunlight and the promise of something good to eat at lunch. See, my head’s messed up already.
Not just my head it seems. With my own home now a shell, my possessions boxed up, like Indiana Jones’ Ark, in an anonymous warehouse, I long for space and simplicity. I long for familiarity.
And thus I advance, as someone whose life burned like a candle at both ends wrote, “as long as forever is.”