Heading to Newport

August 1, 2018 

Today I took my electric guitar and electric bass to the Montessori school. The four and five year olds had some prior experience (“Daddy has one of those”) and made thoughtful observations about electricity and about the instruments. The two and three year olds enjoyed dancing to my rocked out versions of some of our favorite songs, especially “La Bamba.” 

My afternoon private lessons were interesting. It was only my second lesson with my new adult student. He brought in one of his church songs and we decoded it.   His challenges were in feeling the one and fulfilling his job as timekeeper.  Bringing in a written bass part for “Oye Como Va” helped him understand the tune a bit better. 

My revelation for the day was the teen who’s been with me for several months. Just when I thought I’d given him all I could for the sitar, I discovered that he can’t read music. “Don’t make any assumptions” continues to be my life lesson. This teen is so sharp, talented, intuitive and musically experienced that I never assessed his skill set. Duh. 

The work day done, we turned to tying up loose ends and packing for the trip. We slept for a maximum of three hours, then left for the airport at 4 a.m. 

August 2 

My wheelchair attendant was very chatty and revealed a lot about herself in this statement: “Today’s a good day to get out of Chicago. There’s gonna be trouble – protesters and Lollapalooza.” 

What made her think that two black women wouldn’t be in favor of a march to remind our white neighbors and visitors that gun violence in our neighborhoods should be their problem too. And what’s wrong with young people gathering to experience music? 

Both flights (O’Hare to Washington, then a smaller jet to Providence) were uncomfortable – cramped seating. On the second plane I was assigned the very last seat, next to the bathroom. It was an hourlong sensory nightmare. As I stood up to exit, my left kneecap popped out of socket and I was momentarily stuck in a very painful position. 

While waiting for me to emerge, Zahra was met with rudeness as she inquired about my wheelchair. This woman was so brash that she didn’t even linger for a tip.  Guess she doesn’t get many.

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