Saturday, April 13, 2013

Man in the moon


 Today the weather in Beijing is great.  The air is clear, there is no pollution, and it is in the mid to upper 70's Fahrenheit   It is a great day, and it seemed to appear out of the blue after a very cold, very intense, windy winter.  One week I was wearing my heavy North Face parka, and a few days later I am wishing that I had brought a pair of shorts!
My blog writing view
    As I write I am sitting in what is called "Central Park".  Really, it is a sort of expat community, nice apartments surround a little grass mound (the park) and a row of cafe's and restaurants that offer any type of food you can imagine are bustling.  It seems the majority of people living here are brought over by companies, often with their young children.  As a matter of fact, I could be anywhere in the entire world right now.  There are three kids speaking french playing in the rocks in front of me, a Korean family to my left teaching their two daughters how to ride bikes with training wheels.  A mother and her young son from a country in Africa are sitting on the hill, and her toddler son is speaking Mandarin with a playmate.
Busy walk to the subway..
    Then there is me.  I have been dreading writing up a new bio for a few weeks, and I need to write something short and sweet and forego all the bullshit that is usually involved in a musician bio.  I want to write something like this:

I am a musician.  I like music, and many things about music, but mostly the piano.  Right now I play keyboards, and organ.  I like to travel to different places and play what I like to play, which can be anything depending on who I am playing with.  I have a strong affinity for jazz and blues, and I am also kind of picky about those things, so sometimes I enjoy playing other types of music better.  I have spent the majority of my life doing many musical things, and I will continue to do musical things.  If you want a large list of musical things I have done and plan to do, please fill out an application and submit it with a three hundred dollar processing fee.

    Maybe I just replace the I's with Mack and the ams with is, add a few s' here and there, and maybe name drop a few names.... oh it seems so stupid.
    All of a sudden an old man wearing a janitor type uniform is sitting next to me, smoking a cigarette.  His shoes are almost totally destroyed, and his skin has seen a lot of weather.  He has a garbage bag, and a pair of what appear to be very long chopsticks.  He is blatantly staring at my computer screen, even as I write this exact sentence.  "Nihao, jintian tianqi hen hao"  Hi, today the weather is nice!  He says something back to me that I cannot understand and he grins a toothless grin as he takes another puff of his most likely fake Marlboro cigarette.  Then he waves, and goes back to work.  From what I can tell, this man's job is to walk around the park all day long, and pick up little pieces of gravel that have gotten from the path into the grass, and return them to their proper place, among all their stony friends.
    A strange feeling washes over me.  How different our two lives are.  I wonder what his life has been like.  How long has he worked at this job?  Does he have a family?  Where does he live?  Most likely quite far from our current location downtown Beijing.  Does he feel like he is contributing to his society, or does he feel like he is toiling away with such a useless task for hours a day?
    Now my mind is wandering.  How different our two lives seem, but at the same time how similar.  Here we both are.  He is taking a smoke break, I am writing a seemingly pointless blog.  A brief moment, each of us relaxing in our own way.  Neither of us really able to understand each other, but through body language we shared a very interesting, brief, conversation.  Put into words it would be something like this.

"How are you?"
"Good, nice weather today"
"Yea, writing on your computer I see"
"Yea, enjoying your cigarette?"
"Yea, back to work now"

I just realized that I am postponing writing this bio for another day.  That is all.