The Bandura

God, what a horrible morning. I spent a couple of hours or so re-writing an article that an editor had re-written, trying to do a delicate balance of keeping what the editor wanted and restoring what I wanted while weaving it all together without big knots showing – which made me get all tense, the way I do. I finally did it to my exigent satisfaction and sent it to the editor, only I didn’t, I somehow sent something else, and the one I had worked on had vanished never to return. Windows wouldn’t find it and Google desktop wouldn’t find it. Oh, my, I was cross. I was too cross and tense even to swear; I just wandered around with my stomach hurting, occasionally yanking on my hair. Then I re-did the article, which was agony, because I kept being completely unable to remember what I’d done and the un-re-edited version kept getting in the way, making my brain freeze. But I finally finished it – having blown most of the day on it, with not nearly enough work done.

By that time I had desk chair fever, so I went out and strolled down the hill to Folk Life. It’s Folk Life this weekend. I go every year; it’s good fun. One of the many benefits of living in this neighbourhood is that it’s just a twenty minute walk down the hill. It wasn’t great this afternoon, but it was okay. I found some Celtic fiddle music, and some zydeco, and let it go at that. Some days are better than others: some days you don’t happen to find just the right things, you turn up just as they end, or they’re already full, or you find a lot of okay things but nothing that raises the hair on the back of your neck. But that’s okay, because other days are great. Yesterday was great. I looked at a program and saw a Ukrainian dance item was starting soon, so rushed off to the Bagley Wright theatre, and a good thing, because I came in for the end of a Bandura duo, which I wouldn’t have known to seek out, but it was enchanting. They did four or five songs in the time I was there. I got slightly lachrymose. I always do. People laugh at me, but I can’t help it. I’m getting lachrymose now, thinking about it. You know how it is – there they are going pluck pluck pluck, with such skill and dedication and joy, and it’s so pretty, and you think O if only people could always do just this, and not the other stuff. Why can’t they. Why don’t all the people who hate each other and kill each other just have big Folk Life festivals every weekend, and play music together, and go pluck pluck pluck, and be happy, and see the point of each other. Sniff, sniff. It was so pretty. The guy was perhaps a novice, he said he couldn’t keep up, but the woman just went like the wind, and filled the place with music, in her Ukrainian blouse and skirt. So that was lovely, and I blew my nose, and ignored the laughter. Then the dancers danced, and the theatre filled up, and everyone screamed and yelled at the end of each dance. It was good.

When it was over everyone went outside and there were some gospel singers on the stage just outside, so I listened to them for awhile. They were good too, even with the churchiness. There was a very punkish young couple sitting on the grass; the guy had those big things through his ear lobes, stretching them out – hollow things the size of the neck of a wine bottle. They had two little girls with them; the bigger one was wearing a Hello kitty sweatshirt. The combination amused me a good deal. Even I shed some of my misanthropy at Folk Life.

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