We wobble, tumble, and hobble toward something bigger than a beat. Everyone is looking for something beyond the rhythm of themselves.
“What do you like to do?”
I.The Child, age five and only drinks blue Gatorade.
I like to play music, just like Grandpa. When I grew out of my baby chair I turned it on its back side and made a drum. It makes a very pretty grumbly sound when I slide my spoon back and forth on its belly. I draw on it with my crayons so that I know where to make the noise. I got the idea from this book I own, it’s called connect the dots, and it shows me how to make magical people from a blob of dots. And then, after I’ve made my own dots on the drum, I color the inside of the belly with my band name. “Iguana.”
It’s my favorite animal. I found one on our window, and decided that it should become my band name. It has many more vowels than all of my other words. That’s why I like it for the band — it’s full of sound notes. I play my drum until my bath and then I go to sleep and then I wake up and beat on my drum again. I am just like a rooster, more like a rooster-iguana transformer. They’re both very nice animals, but Grandpa says he likes iguanas better ’cause they do more than just rest on top of roofs so I named my band Iguanas, just for him.
II. The Frenchman, emigrated from Toulouse and is fascinated by Chicago’s affinity for foam soap.
I play for the American bands of music. A school person in Europe, I learned how to make the stable drums resonate, and I having decided to come to the States to show my talents. I interest myself with American rock, the bizarre beats of rhythm and like the industry of music. I adore the sounds, the grand expressions, of my breadsticks of the drum. Yes, the food of the drum. I feed the circles of music in front of myself, give them half the breaths of myself. I, having forgotten my baguettes, cannot demonstrate to you here, but you can come later for seeing them? You should pass by my home, after we are finishing this drink?
III. The Octogenarian, survived two wars and only wears navy socks.
Since no one else here can hear, except for me, I get to pound on my drums as hard as I damn well please, or at least as much as my hands will allow. I never used to play, until I found myself situated inside the cage of a walker. Everyone knows that we expire, but it took a walker and a hell of a lot of tapioca pudding to make me understand. So, I’ve taken up the drums in retaliation. Even my grandson has decided to try it out. He’s only four, so I’ve already got a working legacy.
Who teaches me? A European fellow comes once a week. Sweet, but a little rough with his vocabulary. He keeps telling me to “resonate the drums,” but I seem to be improving, so perhaps it’s some weird French method. He’s just so young, no older than twenty-five. Twenties are such a great time. Young enough to still make every mistake and have it all wash away in the morning. Nothing is as forgiving as a twenty-five year old drunk on love.
“So why do you play?”
I play to be just like Grandpa and because I like iguanas and because I like to make my connect-the-dots with music. I like seeing the swirly maze on the belly of my drum at the end of my playing.
I perform the drums to express my insides, to create from my imaginary head. Every pound is putting the weight mass on the drum, but not enough to make it break onto itself, just having it trampoline almost to its bottom.
I play to see the remains of something in between now and then, before everything turned into this horrible beige, hospital color. It makes me different from all the other pudding pushers in here. It reminds me to breathe through it all.