Social Isms: Aurae, Pt. 2

I played a holiday thang, accompanying Khadijah and Angie last night, at Potter’s House.  It was fun.  Good crowd.  We did some covers plus one of Khadijah & Hook’s originals:  “Smooth”, “Get Up”, “My Favorite Things”, “This Christmas”, “Never Can Say Goodbye”, and her “Kwanzaa Song”.

Tom Goss

There was a drumming group and Tom Goss opened the program.  I’ve heard a lot about him.  You know, it’s one of those things.

“Hey, I know this guy.  He’s a musician.  He’s really good.  You should come to his show tonight.”

“Who is it?  I just got home from work.  I’m too beat to drive all the way back into the city.  Some other time, huh?”

So two or three years later.   Tom Goss.  Good music.  Cool guy.  Understatements, both.

You want to hear something mundane and weird?

I forgot how to tie a tie yesterday.  I walked to Macy’s at Ballston C’ommons to buy a red shirt and a tie and totally forgot how to tie one.  I had to look it up on YouTube.  Ha.  Ridiculous.  I think I may have invented my own knot in the process — the Windsor-Young.  I was going to buy a jacket, too, but then I looked at the prices.  Can anyone explain to me why a pair of slacks cost $150?  On sale??  And the jackets were, like, $250.  F that.  I like to look sharp and dress up as much as anyone, but apparently I’m out of touch with reality because I don’t understand why clothes should cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

What do a pair of $150 slacks do that a pair of $40 slacks doesn’t?

Reading Music

Okay.   Here’s your reading music.  “Undertow” was the first song I recorded on the computer. 2004.  Many versions later, though.  And if all of the source files for it weren’t on a broken hard drive along with the first three years or so of all of my music source files, I’d improve the quality and re-record the melody.  But what can you do.  That’s Mr. Todd Marcus on “Reverie”.  And I haven’t decided what the third one will be.  Something instrumental, aye?  Oh!  Something appropriate for this snow harbinger of Winter.


This would so be a snow day if it were a week day.  Oh well.  I’ll take it.  There were blizzard conditions and of course I didn’t have any food in the house.  So I set out on a track to the nearest grocery store.  Bottom Dollar.  Blech.  But it served its purpose.  About half a mile away.  That’s easily walking distance even in a blizzard, in theory.  I tell you.  I’ve been doing the treadmill thing for a while now and can (slowly) jog 3.1 miles if I have to.  I usually have some kind of incline, too, right.  But walking from my apartment to the road in 12″ of snow was enough to make me think my hip flexors were going to cramp up.  It was rough.  All you could do was walk in the middle of the street.  Kind of fun walking there.  Walking back with 3o+ lbs. of groceries in a backpack, not so much.

Suppose I could have driven.  I do have four wheel drive.  Eh.  I do this thing when I drive in the snow and no one is around.  I hit the brakes a little hard on purpose for the thrill of a good skid.  I did it last night near home when it was about a tenth as bad as it is today.  I skidded much farther than I thought I would.  Left then right then left then right then eventually straight … into the intersection.  Oops.  Need new tires, especially if there’s going to be more of this.

Snow pants are a wonderful thing, by the way, although I’ll have to complain to Adidas because apparently their snow pants shrink every year.  Ahem.  Snow pants over sweats will keep you dry and warm even in mild blizzard conditions.  Bet.  I learned that after my first aborted attempt in jeans.  Stepped off the stairs into snow up to my knee which the denim instantly converted into freezing cold water, which it conveniently deposited into my boots.  Abort!  Abort!   So yeh.  Cotton is not ideal when trying to endure the elements.

Oh boy.  That was a lot of mandarin oranges.


I used to visit all the very gay places
Those come what may places
Where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life
To get the feel of life
From jazz and cocktails.

-Billy Strayhorn

Here we are in season 37 of the Gary Young Show.  We’ve seen some tragedy, loss, heartbreak as well as some uplifting and eye-opening moments, big changes, new characters, old characters rejoining the cast, musical numbers.  And who knows what the rest of the season holds.  I sure as heck don’t.

Hm.  Suddenly I’m in the mood for some old Kenny Garrett.  Some “Songbook” or “Simply Said”.  Hell yeh.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned during this season that I’d like to share with you in today’s episode.  And I mean this in a literary sense so don’t take it too, too literally, okay?  And no this is not a political statement.

Hope is the most dangerous emotion.

Hope makes you do silly things.  It lets you ignore your instinct and all reason.  It makes you try when there’s no logical, legitimate reason to try.  It’s powerful mojo.  And when that focused, concentrated hope goes all akimbo, it’s a crusher.

Hope is an opening.  It’s an opening in your armor to the well of possibilities within you.  A very fragile, tender part of the human metaphysiology.  Cold, sharp, barbed reality can exploit that opening and you know it when it happens.

Socially I’ve experienced some good old fashioned hope evisceration … er … well you know.  That is the frakkin’ worst.  You remember the morning after with Lee and Kara on New Caprica?  Kind of like that but without the fun.  Season 37 of the GY Show is much like every other season in that regard.  When you think or have been led to believe that you have a chance and that metaphorical Peanut Gallery football is yanked away at the last minute and next thing you know you’re looking at sky and Lucy is looking down at you while you’re lying on your back with those little comic strip pain lines and punctuation dancing around your torso.  And all you hear is: “Blah blah blah, Blockhead, blah blah.”

‘Cause you know Charlie Brown was like, “This time.  This time she’s going to let me kick that ball.  What would be the point of snatching it away at the last minute again?  There can’t be any kind of satisfaction in it for her at this point, right?  At some point she’s got to switch up on me just so that I’ll fall for it again later on.”

Charlie Brown.  He’s a clown.  That Charlie Brown.   He’s a clown.

Aurae, Pt. 2

So let me get to the point.  As you can see, all of this snow-driven down time makes for some serious streaming consciousness.  56kps, but still streaming.  To business.

Sometimes I can “see” people’s energy.  Perceive is a better word.  But I’ll say “see” and you’ll know that I don’t mean electromagnetic-radiation-on-the retinas “see”.  It’s more like a construct I apply to make sense of how people interact with one another.  Like how we apply numbers to earthquakes and hurricanes.  Or better still, the way we colorize photos of space, as one example, to convey some meaning or significance.  All the radiation may be gamma or ultraviolet or infrared but we shift the colors or apply new ones so that we can relate to it better.  Often, it’s prettier and it helps our mental model and with that mental model we can begin to apply our reason and rigorous mathematical/scientific methodology.

So that’s what I’m talking about.  Intentional synesthesia.  In short, looking at something in a way that helps you to make sense of it.

When I read “The Celestine Prophecy” — that book had a huge impact on me, by the way — I was intrigued by the notion that we are almost constantly engaged in a tug of war for each other’s energy.  We may get that energy from controlling, manipulating or co-dependently feeding, so to speak, on another person.  We could and should be reinvigorating that inner energy from connecting with, uh, existence.  The universe.  Creating and creation.  Instead we siphon it off of each other.  I know that sounds a little new-agey but if the shoe fits….

I used to visit a friend at UC Davis and we would hang out with some of his floormates.  One of the girls would tell people what their color was.  She said mine was green, in case you’re wondering.  But she was doing what I’m talking about now.  She was getting a sense of people’s overall, let’s say, presence, drives, motivations.  Like, when someone enters a room some people have a big presence, some are practically invisible.  Some make you feel good.  Some suck the life out of you or a social situation.

The only way I can think of to really flesh out and communicate my idea, though, is with a Socratic-ish conversation.  And this is for my benefit.  So imagine this.  Two friends, let’s call them Jay and Kay, meeting in a coffee shop or restaurant doing some recreational people-watching.  Let me set the scene a little and then I’ll get to it.  It’s like using the holodeck.  The detail helps you get in the frame of mind.  Immersive.


“Hey, Kay.  Sorry I’m late.  Traffic was bad on the–“

“Don’t worry about it.  I was doing some work and checking emails,” Kay says and closes her laptop.

“Okay.  Good.  I’m going to get a drink.  Let me treat you to something.  What do you want?”

“Surprise me.”

Jay goes to the counter, orders a latte and a snack of tardy penance for Kay.  He walks back to the table where Kay sits, threading his way through the crowded coffee shop.

“Oh, biscotti.  Good choice, Jay.  Thanks.”

“Not a problem.  What were you working on anyway?” Jay asks as he takes off his coat and hangs it on the back of his chair.

Kay answers, “Well, I was trying to finish up the report for the new project at work but to tell you the truth I was too distracted by the love birds over there on the couch.”

Jay starts to turn in his chair.

“Don’t turn and look!  They’ll know we’re talking about them.  At least be subtle, Jay.  Sheesh.”

Jay nonchalantly turns and sure enough the couple across the coffee shop is sitting on a big couch, snuggling, making cutesy faces at each other and snogging about every thirty seconds.

“Hm,” Jay says.

“Hm, what?”

“She’s not really into him.”

Kay is taken aback.  “What the hell are you talking about?  Look at them.”

“I’m looking,” Jay says.  “That’s not going to last long.”

“Ooooooooh,  you’re doing that thing.  Okay, Mindfreak.  Explain. I’ve heard about this.  Don’t argue.  Just do it.”

Jay sighs but he knows that it’s no use arguing with Kay.  He’s never won an argument with her and figures it doesn’t make sense to try for the first.

“Okay,” he says.  “You see that guy that just walked through the door?”

Kay nods.

“He’s in neutral.  Most of the time you see people walking down the street, minding their own business.  They’re in neutral.  The body’s a bioelectric machine.  Every electronic device has an energy field.  An electromagnetic field.”

“Yeh yeh,” Kay interrupts.  “Get to the good part.  Is that guy over there on the couch gettin’ some tonight?”

Jay almost spurts hot latte out of his nose.  “Continuing.  The guy who just walked in has — it’s like a glow.  An outline.  His is blue.  A light blue.  Controlled focused.  Like an outline.  Now, the woman standing in line — the one in the windbreaker and running pants —  in front of him is a little different.  It’s like she’s preoccupied with something.  There’s something drawing her attention.  She’s more of a green with swirls of red but there’s something off because just about all of her red is to one side.”

“What’s that mean?” Kay asks.

“I don’t know.  I’m not a mind reader.  I just call ’em like I see ’em.  Maybe she’s sick.  Some would say her chakras or whatever are out of balance.  Maybe someone she knows is in trouble.  Kid, maybe?  I don’t know.  But you can see — okay, I can see that her field, her aura, is uneven.  It’s hazy around the edges kind of.  It’s hard to explain.  But whatever it is, it’s throwing off her game.  Oh wait.  I think that’s her husband parking out there.”

“What??  Why do you think that?”

“Well.  They match.  When people know each other a long time they start to look alike.  They’ve both got the same kind of swirls and he’s kind skewed, too, like she is.  And they both have wedding bands.”

The man from outside walks in, puts his arm around the woman in the windbreaker and kisses her on the cheek.

“Did you see that?” Jay asked.  “The way their auras their fields reached out for one another.  Like bringing two magnets close together.  And now they’re intermingled a little.  Reflecting.  They both look a little more even now.”

Kay dips her biscotti into her drink and lets it soak.  “So they just missed each other?”

“Definitely.  But if I had to guess I’d say that they’ve got some major stress at home that they’re dealing with.  Together.”

Kay looks at Jay and tilts her head toward the couple across the room on the couch as if to say, “Get to it.”

“Okay,” Jay says as he moves his chair into a position where he can observe the couch couple peripherally.

“Man, she’s all over him, Jay!  Looks like love to me.”

“I know.  Alright.  Here’s what I see, though.  There’s no — I don’t know what the word is.  No connection.  Their energy, their fields, their auras.  There’s not even a reflection of each other like there normally is with a couple.  Especially if they’re, you know.  If they’ve been together.”

“I love it when you talk dirty,” Kay quips.

“And you know,” Jay says, “the more I look.  They’re actually repulsing each other.  Their energy is pushing or bending away from each other.  Whatever happens tonight they’re not going anywhere relationship-wise.  Not expecting to, anyway.  Overcompensating.  I’d say one of them’s going to get his or her heart broken in the next day or two.  And they both know it on some level.”

“Could have fooled me.  Would you put money on that?” Kay asks.

“Not even.  They might be fooling themselves.  But you never know.”

“You must be fun at parties.”

Jay laughs and shrugs almost guiltily.

“Okay,” Kay says while scanning the crowd.  “Her and her.”

“Oh,” and the tone of Jay’s voice drops.  “So dim.  Kind of patchy with interference.  I think she’s sick.  Cancer?   Yeh, probably cancer.  The cells have their own fields that interfere.  I’ve seen that before.  When I volunteered at the hospital.”

Kay gasps.  “Do you think she knows?”

“What.  You want me to be the one to tell her?  Try explaining that.  But I’m sure she knows by now.  Some of that dimness I’ve seen after chemo and radiation treatment.”

“What about the other woman?  Her friend.”

“Oh.  Now her.  She doesn’t just have a field.  She’s got a bubble.  Expanded.  More toward a solid violet.  She’s a force of nature, that one.  And you can see how she’s kind of enveloping her friend, the sick one.  She’s a nourisher.  Uninhibited.  Strong.  Burns bright.”

“The kind of person you’d want on your side, huh.”

“Definitely.  It takes a lot, though.  But some people have more to burn.  Well, it’s complicated, you know.  It’s like trying to describe a person based on their birth order, grades in elementary school, SATs and the car they drive.  It’s contributory but not definitive or determinate.  Oh.  And the bubble friend is pregnant.”

“Wha?  You’re kind of like a crime scene investigator.”

“Kind of.  Right.  You see some things and you know enough to hypothesize.”

“Too bad it wouldn’t hold up legally.  You could start a whole new profession.”

And so on.   Just something I do.  For kicks.  Intuit.   I envision that we all have different shapes, sizes, textures, patterns that move and change like clouds or sand dunes.  And then with all of those dimensions, we have all of that interaction.  There are stories in every facet to be explored.

Oh man.  Too much computer time today.  I’m going to … do … something else.


8 thoughts on “Social Isms: Aurae, Pt. 2

  1. “What do a pair of $150 slacks do that a pair of $40 slacks doesn’t?”

    Among other things, quality of the materials, quality of construction. Style. Durability. Fit. etc.

    1. Thank you, BB Bop, for reading and commenting.

      Now. About those pants. When you get quality slacks, is it the service and tailoring that makes for the best fit and all?

      When I read novels some of the characters are defined, in a way, by the quality and apparent price of their suits. The first impression of the character, anyway.

      You know. Plainclothes cops in cheap, poorly fitting plain suits. Moguls and high society types in shiny shark skin or whatever.


      1. For me service is more important than tailoring. Service starts with finding a designer whose clothes fit me relatively well. I’m hard to fit (a tailor once told me my body is an “abortion” — I was reed-thin with massive thighs and broad shoulders — hmm, not any more…), so a good sales person can help me find stuff that works and also notify me when good choices for me are available (I can’t usually find good choices on sale; a good sale person will know my needs and contact me when the good stuff is available).

        Tailoring is important too, but I’ve found good tailors are available in most stores. Now, all this mostly applies to suits which is what I wear most of the time for work. I had good success with custom made slacks from Lands End (more expensive than normal Lands End but less expensive than ill-fitting off-the-rack from Nordstroms).

      2. Why am I still awake?

        Hm. Not sure if this reply to your comment is going to show up in the right order.

        Haha. That’s classic. For some reason I picture that tailor sounding like Alfred of Wayne Manor.

        “Oh dear. Sir, I must say your body is an abortion! Sartorially speaking, of course.”

        I guess I’ll eventually have to invest in some good, well-fitted apparel. Most suits aren’t made for stocky dudes. Of course, I don’t wear suits often. On gigs sometimes and occasionally when I want to look/feel important/successful hanging out at a music venue. In other words, when I want to be seen in public in not-scruffy mode.

        Need to hit the Lotto. Always something to spend money on.

    1. Hey, Tom Goss.

      I don’t know if WordPress lets you know when I respond to comments or not. But maybe you’ll see this eventually.

      I was checking out some more of your music and videos. Great stuff. So sincere — no that’s not the word. Authentic. Genuine. And I want your guitar.

      Maybe we can collaborate some day. I need to get out of my own head, musically speaking, if that makes sense.

      Play on.

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