Saturday, August 18, 2012

Whither Goest the Beat Generation

The f¬an spins noiselessly above me in the bedroom. The quiet in my home could be penetrated by the drop of the proverbial pin, and even then on a carpet.

There is always sound when I think, ponder; when I write. Whether it’s XM or iTunes, tonight there is none. Just quiet and it takes me back to West 9th Street, where there was never such silence; always the clatter of a garbage can, lovers wandering down the street, a dog…something. Always noise.

Wherever I’ve lived there has been something extraneous. I wonder what the silence will bring. It is almost enough to drag me from this bed to pick up my guitar, which for some reason I’ve been playing increasingly over the past few months.

It is not a Simon & Garfunkel “Sound of Silence.” It is pure quiet. Rex, asleep in the hallway, makes not sound. I can barely hear the air conditioning.

It makes me wonder if I enjoy, or like this silence. Or wonder if the silence is simply a matter of being alone, which seems to appeal to me.

Recently I signed up for a couple of “dating sites.” I did so in hopes of finding a woman who remains in her soul a child of 60s. One can certainly mature, grow older, wiser and maintain that feeling of freedom; feeling of, well “craziness,” lack of inhibition.

Now, for those regular readers of this venue, you’ve no doubt discerned that after my experience with my ex-wife, an unrepentant, unrecovered “functional” alcoholic prone to violence (to say nothing of the Anti-Semitism and racism that became manifest toward the end of our “relationship”) I approach women now with more than just a little trepidation.

I feel quite free in virtually all senses of the word. I’ve never been remarkably inhibited. I know my patterns and while what I do for a living is quite serious and I take it as that; outside of that I’m the old beat who read and played in the Village. That’s my heart, my soul.

There’ve been periods in my life, probably many of them when money was important for what it could buy and it often bought meals a top drawer restaurants all over the world; great hotels and first class airfare. I remember the Raphael in Paris, a wonderful “apartment” hotel; the Negresco in Nice, the Bel Air in LA…to say nothing of those great ones in New York, Chicago and so forth.

It was a taste that I enjoyed, I suppose, for a good portion of my life, until I realized some years ago, while at a five star restaurant here that, well, “What the hell am I doing here. I don’t enjoy this sort of food anymore.” The Bessie Smith tune, “Gimme a Pigfoot [and a bottle of beer] came to mind. No, I don’t eat pig’s feet, but it was a symbol.

I’m at heart an old Greenwich Village guy, my heart filled with folk music, blues and the cool jazz of the 50s and 60s. I saw Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt and so many others when the cover was a couple of drinks and the dress was jeans. Dylan, Baez, Collins, Ochs and others played at real coffee houses and passed the hat.

I suppose that is my soul…my heart. My intellect, of course, dictates the mask I wear for my business.

But alone, when the dark and quiet surround me; I wear no mask.