It goes without saying that any good NYBarfly is jaded – nothing shocks us, as we’ve seen it all. At least we thought this was the case, until a recent jaunt with our out of the city friends rocked the jaded bejesus right out of us. These folks live in what seemed to be a magical world full of creative energies and endless idealism - Narnia.
We embarked on our journey and stepped through the wardrobe (in this case, our liquor cabinet). We found ourselves sipping drinks – we didn’t have to gulp excessively as we normal do to have “fun”. We were greeted by strange and beautiful creatures, all of which had interesting talents. One of them juggled, another sang classical opera as they sipped a glass of wine, and the third most intriguing stood at a piece of wood and “played” the “dulcimer”.
What kind of witchcraft is that, you ask? Barfly pondered the same question, sure that this strumming was a clever ruse meant to steal our soul. Our fears of soul sucking were put to rest as it was explained that the Dulcimer is an ancient instrument, perhaps as old as 2000 years, that people play to make “music”.
Barfly felt short of breath, and it wasn’t the half a pack that we smoked. It seems that people actually exist in this world that have “talent”. The dulcimer player hammered away – it may not have meant to steal our soul, but it certainly was enchanting.
So, we decided that we wanted to experience the purity and beauty and talent that shined in front of us. We pondered giving up our debaucheries and living leaves of grass style in the woods. We certainly would be able to pick up an instrument in between bathing in the lake and foraging for berries. Perhaps we could even start a band with the foxes, sparrows, and other creatures of the wild that would be sure to befriend us. Barfly wondered if we would have the same sparkling gleam in our eye as we strummed our archaic instrument and re-instilled our jaded NY audience with, what is that thing called, “hope”.
We inched close to the dulcimer player and became intoxicated with their musings on art and the rest of it. We were beyond the point of buzzed, smitten with the words that issued from their lips, the sounds that rang from the mallets. Another sip, and we did what we do best: decided to fuck the woods and our animal band, leaned in, and kissed the dulcimer player on their lips.
The music ceased as they clutched their mallets, doe eyes aghast - “Uh, what the fuck are you doing?”
Afraid that they would use those quick moving mallets as defensive devices Barfly backed off “Oh, well, we just were so impressed that people like you exist. . .we didn’t mean. ..”
Continuing to brandish their mallets they shook their head. “Well, sorry, its fun talking to you and all, but you’re kind of gross. And, you reek of cigarettes.”
Alas, it seems as though the magical forest isn’t for us after all. We gathered as much composure as we could and, in the presence in such purity, were forced to utter the word that in our concrete jungle is dirtier than any curse: “Wow, well, we’re sorry.”
Defeated, we didn’t have to heart to go back through the wardrobe. We road the train home to our city. The clanging of the tracks echoed like the sounds of the dulcimer. We looked at the skyline inching closer to us as the conductor made a garbled announcement. The buildings grew larger and we heard the sounds of an ipod leaking from our fellow passenger’s ear. Perhaps there was music in the city after all, we just had to listen a bit harder.
As we stepped from the train we felt heartened. We decided to be happy with the true talent that we have: debasing ourselves in front of the less jaded. We don’t need 18th century instruments to sing songs of ourselves - just our friendly city and our next drink.
We smoked a cigarette, sat down at the bar, and smiled at the bartender.
“Did you just smoke?” she said.
“Yeah” we replied with a wince as we remembered the rejection of last night.
She placed our drink in front of us and inhaled, “You ok here for a sec? I’m gonna run and have one . . . You sure smell great. . . ”