by Wayne T.
A fictional letter.
|Regarding Bill Evan’s Trio and Zig Ziglar -|
My name is Wayne…I don’t feel like telling you my last name because I don’t know you that well. I thought a long time about describing myself and my situation, so please give my words some consideration…Here goes; I am probably 6’4” and I have a little bit of a pouch. People tell me I have blonde hair, but when I look at myself, I think brown. Does it matter? No, probably not. I just figured that anything might help give you an idea of who I am. You see...you may have seen me before. Maybe you’ve even heard me…I have been hearing you.
Yesterday was Monday and I woke up at 4:23 p.m., don’t worry; I don’t always wake up at such a late hour. Some days it might be six in the morning, on others, six in the evening. I think it is because I usually have a hard time getting to sleep. Some nights I sit crossed-legged on my bed, lean back, and let my head fall back on the wall. I think and ponder and wonder, the jumbled mess in my head keeps stirring. Sooner or later, my eyes always come to rest on that book. That damn book sits proudly in the middle of my closet bookshelf and pesters me. That ‘damn book’ is Zig Ziglar’s SEE YOU AT THE TOP or the “How To” book that gives YOU a “Check Up” from the “Neck Up” to eliminate “Stinkin Thinking and AVOID “Hardening of the Attitudes.” Please forgive me for my use of language. When I use the word ‘damn’ to describe that book, I am using it in more than one way. I will get back to that damn book later.
Maybe you feel the same way, but some days I have to escape. Sometimes I leave my place and I just start walking. I think that is when I first saw you. It wasn’t when I first noticed you, but it was when I first saw you. I was wearing my sweatshirt and I began nodding along to Paul Desmond’s All Through The Night. What was that instrument that was playing? Was it sax? Hmm…maybe trumpet? I don’t know...I can never get my brass instruments straight. What matters is that it was Jazz. When I first saw you, you were just part of the background. It would still be some time till Jazz helped us meet again. I didn’t understand it at the time, but something was different about you that day.
When was it when I was sitting quietly at the Library? All I remember is that I was doing nothing in particular when I first noticed you. You walked by. In fact, you strolled right past me. I don’t think your eyes moved one bit. Funny, I thought my look gave me away. I think I remembered you because you strutted with rhythm. Yeah, that was it. You had something in your step that caught my attention. You were in step with Green’s Idle Moments. You must have been playing along with him. Each foot moved ahead of the other and landed right in place with that ever so smooth touch of Green’s piano chords. Each part of you moved independent, but somehow it all came together. I just shook my head and looked on. I must have been imagining things, but then you left and the music began to fade.
On the days that I make it outside, I look forward to seeing you. Forty to forty-five minutes is the time it takes to walk to the café. If I arrive between three and four thirty in the afternoon, there is a pretty good chance I will see you. If it is a slow day for me, like Monday, the walk is not as easy. When I arrive late in the evening, of course, you are already gone. I know you won’t be there, but I go there anyway. Zig Ziglar says, “The Time Is Now.” Damn him and his book. A part of me listens to Zig and I hate that. I hate that Zig got me out of bed that day. Damn Zig and his words. Yes…“Ya Gotta Believe --- In You.”
Sure, I would never say that I am handsome. It seems pompous to assume as much. However, I have at least enough self-assurance to say that I am not ugly. Let’s leave appearances at average shall we? On the days you are at the café I straighten my back and shoulders and I am careful not to squint. I am a simple passerby. I am just another instrument playing along; you play your part and I will play mine. Yeah, we could play off each other, but the times I get too close something stops.
On the days I see you, I forget what I am wearing, but I know exactly where my hands are. I will rest my right hand on the counter with the forearm pointing towards your direction, please note, that my hand is completely relaxed. My other five fingers hold a simple wallet and they are poised to strum. I know the price of an orange juice and one blueberry muffin (plus tax) but my hands do nothing till you say those simple words.
On warmer days when you ask me how I am doing, I am pretty sure there is a lighter tone in your voice and it leads me to think you mean what you are asking. Regrettably, my response is the expected nod, followed by a common one-word phrase of some sort, ”Good.” or “hmm…good.” I always struggle to ask anything more. After all, you are working, so wouldn’t it be inappropriate to engage in casual conversation? I usually throw such rhetorical questions at myself, but really when I get too close it gets harder to hear.
Damn Zig’s book. Damn his “Stairway to the Top.” I try to sleep. I try to forget the lines, the diagrams, the pictures, the goals, the structure, the formulas, the steps, the system and all of that. You see…I made the mistake of letting too many things in. I have always felt like I held both fingers in my ears to keep anything from getting out. Then…something happened. I begin to hear something I hadn’t heard in a long time. I heard a sound. Strange as it may seem, it was the Bill Evans Trio’s Blue in Green. Everything just else fell away and I felt music again, thanks to you.
I can’t put everything in order. I don’t know what part of you helped me with what. Things are starting to blur together. I just know it is the Jazz that we keep playing. You have been playing your part and you helped me to learn mine.
I will leave things back where we started. My name is Wayne. Damn Zigler and his book. Thank you, I will always remain a fan to the music that you play and our relationship in Jazz.
P.S. listen to Hank Jones Trio’s favors will you?