<!-- June 9, 2003 -->
Darling Harbour Jazz Festival
They are rocking. Trumpets and sax, accordian and spanish guitar, a drummer and a singer all bounce energetically around the stage. They are sharp. Bang on. Sounding like they've played in front of hundreds of less-than-knowledgeable yet demanding tourists and locals thousands of times before.
They're in their element; natural performers, feeling their swing fusion intensely, channelling their energy out into the crowd.
And the crowd just sits there.
Except down front there, just by that young couple in their Sperry Topsiders, khakis and lovely soft cotton shirts with the sleeves rolled up. There's a small child; a girl, about three years old with wild curly brown hair. She is stamping her foot.
A couple of encouraging smiles from passersby and her hands are up in the air. She starts turning jerky circles: stamp, turn, stamp, stamp, turn. Her arms waving, her fingers sticking out from her hands at odd angles as she pretends/tries to snap.
We are all looking at her now. Smiling.
She's laughing, her eyes bright. Plump little hands now covering her face, now up in tha ir. Her curls bouncing. Her giggles floating up freely from her throat, her head thrown back with abandon.
I'm smiling, watching her longingly. I bounce in my seat, safely anonymous. No one notices me roll and shake my shoulders to the bright spicy beat. But I want to have the courage to dance.
Right there. Like my curly-haired friend in the corduroy dress. Was there ever a time before I learned to be self conscious, when I, too, would have jumped up when the music moved me?
What stops me now is that I have had those thoughts about others - secretly wondering if they are a bit simple or crazy, drunk or on drugs.
This child has never wondered those things. Nor can she fathom that someone else might.
How wonderful it would be to wipe your mind clear of those worries, not just to dance as if no one is watching, but to know they are watching and not even care, except to wonder why they wouldn't join me in my joy.
Can I do it? Can I let loose in front of everyone and share a dance with my friend?
The song ends with a fanfare, a final clash of instruments and we clap madly. They are good; so good. The couple get up, collect their daughter and move on into the afternoon. I watch them lead her away.
The next song starts. Peppy and fun. I sigh a little and shake my shoulders, wiggling my hips in my chair. Because I have a learned self consciousness and I don't know how to unlearn it.
June 17th email - Mom's Memory of Facey
July 14 email - Kendra's Waterloo Jazz Festival
too cold and windy for what I'm wearing
In a Sunburned Country