Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Non-Chuck Berry Story (But a Good One)

My sleep is not working right, so I'll fill the time by telling this little story:

I was walking back to the hotel and about to cross Delmar when a voice asked if it was time to cross.  It was an elderly guy behind me-- tall, thin, with a little bit of a speech defect.  "Oh our light changed," he said.

Then, as we waited, he said.  "It has sure changed!"

I knew he wasn't talking about the light anymore, so I asked him what had changed.

"The street.  The people.  It's all so different now."

"Have you been away?" I asked him.

"55 years," he tells me.  "I was up in [??] prison."

"And you just got out?"

"Just got out Friday night."

"Well congratulations," I said, shaking his hand.  "Did you live around here?"

"I lived over there," he said, pointing north.  "It's all changed.  This building wasn't here."  (He's pointing to my hotel.)  "There were other buildings there."

"Well if you lived over there, that's probably changed the most."  I was thinking of The Ville, the empty lots, the burned up houses.

(It irks me that I remember this random conversation so well compared to the one I had backstage at The Pageant where I was in some sort of dream state!)

He wound up asking for money, and I couldn't help myself this time and gave him a pretty good amount-- enough for a bad lunch.

As I continued down the street two teenage girls were giggling in my direction and it occurred to me that maybe they saw this guy tell this perfect story all the time.

But I figure sometimes you've got to believe, whether you ought to or not.

And today, I believed.

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