Thursday, April 28, 2005

New music for the day, a Lebanese pianist named Rami Khalife introduced to me by Mike C. He said it reminded him of Monk and I agree. He has a lot of Chopin in him too. Beautiful stuff. Konono, passed on to me from Thomas Bartlett's audiofile column in salon. I've re-earthed my old African records like Prince Nico Mbarga and the Modern Sounds of Kampala comp. KONONO N°1, a band from the Congo, fits right in. Check out this bio from their site:

KONONO N°1 was founded over 25 years ago by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembé (a traditional instrument sometimes called "sanza" or "thumb piano", consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator). The band's line-up includes three electric likembés (bass, medium and treble), equipped with hand-made microphones built from magnets salvaged from old car parts, and plugged into amplifiers. There's also a rhythm section which uses traditional as well as makeshift percussion (pans, pots and car parts), three singers, three dancers and a sound system featuring these famous megaphones. The musicians come from an area which sits right across the border between Congo and Angola. Their repertoire draws largely on Bazombo trance music, but they've had to incorporate the originally-unwanted distorsions of their sound system. This has made them develop a unique style which, from a sonic viewpoint, has accidentally connected them with the aesthetics of the most experimental forms of rock and electronic music, as much through their sounds than through their sheer volume (they play in front of a wall of speakers) and their merciless grooves.

Atticus starts daycare on Monday. We (Me and Irene) went and met with the infant and toddler director at St. Vincent De Paul yesterday. Gabs has been going to St. Vincent's since she was three and I have been acquainted with it since she was five. I practically know everyone there and they are all golden (All the parents too). The infant and toddler program is no different. I am not as acquainted with them so it was nice to meet with the director, who came across as a warm and strong human being, and visit the classrooms. I nearly started to cry though when she was talking about everything he would be experiencing. It is amazing stuff, face time, tummy time, they really emphasize learning and not just daycare, but I found myself really sad that he would be going. It really broke my heart and I had to stop myself from crying. I thought this wasn’t supposed to happen until kindergarten. It'll be good for him though, to be around other kids.

The past weekend was intense. I was going to write about it Monday (partly because I am feeling guilty for not writing in the blog more consistently) but it seemed too much to process. A strange and long weekend. We entered into it rather intensely, watching Hotel Rwanda Friday night. I am no stranger to the news of Rwanda, having both taught it in my history classes and done extensive research on it, but the movie still shocked me. It had a tremendous effect on Irene. I will say more about it later when I can. I will say that there is also another movie out about Rwanda, Shake Hands with The Devil, that is worth seeing.

Saturday all five of us (me irene gabs atticus and even matilda) were set to go to my parents to meet my old friend who I haven't seen in ages. I have known him since I was very young and even though we took different paths in life I enjoy seeing him. He has two children, both girls-two and a half and five months, who I were also eager to see. So Saturday morning I went to get some baby gifts from Babies R Us, a strange and intimidating store. Me and Gabs listened to the audio book of James and the Giant Peach read by Jeremy Irons (Thanks Sis!) as we drove there. So me and Gabs and Atticus strrolled around the store looking finally settling on a couple of things. Mind you, we didn't have a cart. I just hung the clothes from Atticus' stroller. We checked out and a manager comes up to us and kind of checks out the stroller and says that he thinks it has been recalled. Safety issues and such. So we start talking and he talks to us for awhile. There were people waiting in line behind me and Gabs was getting uncomfortable. Of course I would want to know if it was being recalled but it was taking forever. Finally we pulled over out of the way and he kept talking, went to go get a number so I could call the company. He comes back, checks out the stroller, we shake hands and then leave. As we get outside I realize we don't have the brand of stroller that he was talking about and then it hits me, he thought I was shoplifting, putting clothes into my baby's stroller. I understand it, the guy has to do his job, but it was the way he did it and the fact that it was in front of Gabs that really hurt me. Then again, it could have all been my imagination and he could have really been sincere about the recall. It was Gabs' discomfort at the whole situation (telling me later on, "That was weird, Hilly, I think he wanted to steal the stroller or something") that clinched it for me. I have had many experiences, having spent the latter part of my childhood in the suburbs, having people tail me in stores to see if I was going to shoplift something. Suffice to say, we got our gifts and had a odd but overall decent evening.

This evening was weird in ways I cannot fully explain. It was good to see my friend and his wife and her parents. Irene finally got to meet him. She said he was a gentle soul. And he is. His wife is a gem. And their kids are cute as hell. The two year old would not stop talking and repeated everything you said. I suggested she name her hippo stuffed animal Ralph and in the background Irene giggles and says Ralph Malph and instantly this little child starts saying Ralph Malph over and over. Being that Irene and I are constantly swearing like sailors (Hi Donaldson!) I was a little frightened of the future.

I must get something off my chest though. Something that has been with me. You know, I could go to any one of my friend's houses, from The Cates Slodkis to Kent in Brooklyn to Shari, and, well, they would love me and welcome me and tell me when I am full of shit but still my family would be welcome sincerely. You see, I love my culture, I do. I love it all. It's mine. But my people, and I say my people because they are mine and when Atticus grows up he will see it like that, my people, his people, they are old school just like a lot of other immigrant cultures, hell, just like all cultures, they see us walking through the door, Tall beautiful Greek woman with olive skin and curly black hair, tall lanky Indian man with dark skin, growing little girl with white white skin and red hair and little man with inquisitive eyes (oh yeah, and the chihuahua) and I see their eyes, the darting. God, I don't know. I am bitter. Irene brings me home to her family and the whole family whether they are this way or that, opens their arms and hearts and says, basically, sit eat have food, you now are family. My family implies to me last night that maybe it would be better if I didn’t come home for awhile because the weight of my actions, of being with a divorced woman with a previous child and being unmarried brings shame on them and affects their life. And you know what, it does. I know it does. They risk being shut out of social circles. There are parts of my own extended family that refuse to talk to me because of what I have done. What I have done. That's just the way it is. So I understand it, it's real life for them. They have to deal with the consequences of my actions.

But fucking hell, I chose love and be goddmaned if I ever EVER tell my child something different. If anyone so much as says anything to him or Gabs I swear to god I'll fuck them up.

Or at least pour water over their heads and curse them out in Sanskrit.

Things I will never do to Atticus:

I will never make you fetch me a beer
I will never shout at you for vomiting (on anything, even my records)
I will never ever make you suffer for love.

I will raise my child for the world. That's a big fucking responsibility but it comes back to Hotel Rwanda. How can we let these things happen? How Do they happen. Life is a responsibility not just a gift. You must bear witness. You must give to the world something that can keep giving. You must. But enough. I digress. It's early in the morning. I’ve been typing this since six. I might have to revise it later. I tend to go off the deep end. Sorry. I tend to get preachy at times. Ask anyone.


Blogger maverick said...

Great sounds like your trying to get a handle on things and that is great! Gotta go, I'm looking for a diaper cakes for a baby shower I'm going to and I don't know where I'm going to find it. Guess I'll check out www.diapergifts.comdiaper cakes, I've heard that is a good place to start.

Sunday, September 10, 2006 10:04:00 AM  

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