Some things we take for granted. Daylight. Roads. Each other.
It’s interesting to think that while we walk through life with unrealized expectations of ourselves we have them also, and perhaps more so, of each other. The audience /performer relationship, for example. I have a friend who quit a gig with an artist saying he couldn’t handle how abusive he was to the audience. Audiences are a sensitive lot, see. Audiences should be screened for toughness. Right.
It’s a really good question, though. What do we want from each other? What do I want from you? Respect? No, no. That is reserved for basic human relationship. (The stage has housed some of the most perverse in human activity after all: remember the gladiators? Funny, philosopher–emperor Marcus Aurelius became a dissenting voice with regard to these publicly celebrated murder displays not because he found them ugly, but because he found them BORING.) What else, Love? No, no, no. This is not church. We are not lovers. Attention? Hmmm. Your attention. Sure, in so much as you would listen to me, the ceiling fan, the loud guy at the bar, the swinging open and closed of the back door, the ice melting in your glass. I too have become part of your experience in this room. Yes, me, “What’s–her-name.”
Should I listen to you? You, in the dark? You, with the head cold? I mean, do you want me to? Not just the shades of your applause—not just the ironic “Free Bird!” But the rate of your heart? Listen to your quiet? Your smiles, your frowns, your text clatter? Shall I listen to your crying children, your laughing children, your unborn children? Shall I listen to your abuse? Ignore it, retort…call the police? Here is where we have entered a relationship. Sign here.
But wait. Maybe it was only our first date. Maybe you are unsatisfied. Maybe I offer a kiss goodnight and you just want to go home and forget about it. Or maybe you want more. Maybe you bought my CD and will go home and spend time with me. Maybe you want me to “sign here,” and further our relationship. Maybe we’ll continue to see each other. Things will evolve. You’ll start to know what I’m about to say/sing. I’ll start to know where you’ll be sitting and in what town. We’ll talk on Facebook. We’ll think about raising our (respective) children in the same world together. (Things are getting serious.)
Over time this relationship becomes like other caring relationships. The once defined stage/audience split bleeds across lines and time and into the world. The sun comes up. The road is long. But we have each other.