Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Unwinding from Within

Last night, sweating in my polyester police uniform as well as the semi-tropical atmosphere that has descended (slight zeugma alert), I paraded down Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis with the ragtag assembly of what's left of the Minneapolis Police Band on the march these days, which is to say about 15 people plus six actual police officers as color guard (bodybuilders with chests and biceps straining in their white polyester shirts, plus high-waisted double-knit pants and Brylcreamed hair; hello 1964!). One block into the parade fellow Braggart Nat and his wife Ingrid and son Daniel waved to me from the west; they live only a few blocks away. One block later good friend and shapenote singer Bill and his wife Liz and daughter Maggie called out my name and waved to me from the east; they live not too far in the other direction. Pound pound pound on my bass drum, from 28th street to 14th street. We used to dive into a cooler of beer at the end of parades, until somebody pointed out how wrong it looked for sweaty disheveled people in police uniforms to be swigging cans of Miller, so now we swig bottled water and then we head off to Linda's lovely little house for beer, hotdogs, chips and potato salad. This is a wholesome life, wouldn't you say?

I didn't even know until late Monday night that I'd be marching in a parade on Tuesday, since the longtime percussion section leader has moved away and contacting me slipped through the administrative cracks. One of the two snare players thought to check on things right at the end, so I had a surprise last minute change of Tuesday plans. Earlier on Monday night Ramsey's Braggarts had danced at the Lake Harriet bandshell before the Freedom Band's annual Pride concert, and then, as per tradition, we went to Famous Dave's Barbecue because we love to show up as a group dressed head to toe in white to order barbecue. I arrived home, happy and exhausted and sore, to the phone message about the parade the next day.

It was fortunate indeed that I had planned on staying home from work yesterday, otherwise getting to the parade in time and in uniform (even slighter zeugma alert) would have been a stressful hot rush. But I had been working hard and intensely against a Monday deadline for a week, coming in all day Sunday to work on things that I knew I wouldn't get until Saturday night, so the Tuesday holiday was the "if I could just last until" milepost that stood before me like the final exit after a long long drive. I knew from the time I got off the plane the previous Monday and made the mistake of dropping by work and checking my email on my way home that there was going to be trouble. I did manage to get out every night last week, because there was a gloriously silly danceout with Uptown-on-Calhoun as well as some dinners with my friends Ned and Jim and Denise who were quite tolerant of my frantic and obsessed mood, but basically I was working like a demon without a break all day every day. For three days running I looked up and noticed it was 3pm and I hadn't either taken a break or eaten anything yet. A good night's sleep is difficult for me under those circumstances.

I never did have a chance to recuperate from the previous week's trip, during which I spent three days working in Mountain View California, piling up many work tasks and projects that I've had to put aside because of the interrupt emergency work I've been doing. I did enjoy my time in the Mountain View office, as I always do. Also, the Bay Area always provides me with happy social evenings. This trip I made it to Cupertino for a guided interactive tour of etler's liquor cabinet of doom, after a tasty Thai meal for which kimuchi and Gulfie joined us.

California also brought me other lovely dinners with friends (including more Thai food in the company of iahklu), a San Francisco Freedom Band concert, an afternoon at the Lone Star Saloon, and the pre-Pride-parade practice of White Rat's Morris (who greeted me like a welcome friend). The core of my trip, though, was the wedding of my friend of 37 years' standing, a wedding resonant with story and subtext but an extremely happy pairing nonetheless. I felt like the through story in the narrative of Claire's life, and that's not an unpleasant feeling. I finally got to meet her freshman year roommate, which was a meeting thirty years overdue.

So maybe it's now time to sit back and think about my trip the other week to California, or the wonderful danceouts my Morris team has been having while team member Andy is briefly passing through town on his way from one corner of the world to another, or the upcoming Pride weekend when I am, of course, playing bass drum with the Freedom Band for the parade. But what I see before me tonight is a mountain of ironing.

It's shaping up to be quite a summer.
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