ILLUSIONARY OPTICON

(as opposed/compared to an optical illusion)

Thurs joon 2nd I must have experienced an illusionary opticon (as compared to an optical illusion).  Struggling to run up a (for me) difficult uphill section of a trail run, I looked back and saw a darkly-clad mountain biker coming up the trail perhaps 100 yards behind me.  Slow as I’ve become, still, one doesn’t want to be passed up by anybody on a workout.  I walked a few yards more, then picked things back up to (at least resemble) a running motion.  I managed that last uphill pitch, and had enough remaining to turn left up the last remaining uphill to my car.  As I continued going through the motions of what “good runners” probably wouldn’t consider a “run”, I hoped that at least whoever this mystery rider was, they would have to exert a bit more effort to catch up to me.  I stopped short of where my car was parked.  Looking around, scanning the 3 or so possible paths the mystery rider would take, I saw no-one.  Grabbing an orange (post-run-workout snack) from the car, I walked to nearby ridge-edges, scanning all the routes this (increasingly) spectral athlete would take.  For several minutes I finished off the orange, seeing no-one.  I decided that I might have had an optical illusion – but decided that THIS WAS (instead) AN ILLUSIONARY OPTICON.

I’m going to ramble on about a few things my increasingly-futile and hopefully-not-too-useless life is focused on.  One thing is:  it’s funny:  that I’m appreciated for participating at something I’m not “good at”, whereas …  there is another activity I believe I do fairly well, and it seems, nobody really cares.

Yes, music.  I recently tendered my resignation – “bowing out” of the Tuesday Night CD “House Band”.  For the past year-plus, that had been my regular once-a-week “JOB” – helping set-up (play some music) and later, dis-assemble the stage after a musical performance.  A year-plus ago, I started doing this somewhat enthusiastically, as, then, I was an intrinsic and established member of the band.

I had been dropping in on the “Tuesday Bluesday CD weekly jam” not regularly, but occasionally for a few years now.  Usually I was able to get up and play, but sometimes not.  In mid-March (2021) I showed up to play … and the vibe was weird.  Weirder than merely weird:  I had previously NEVER felt so appreciated, welcomed, “glad to see ya’ “ as that night.

               Turns out, either the “main”/host guy had fired his up-‘til-then-regular-house-band – or – they had fired him.  Or … something else completely.  The weekly CD-Blues-Jam is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. every Tuesday night.  I ambled in at about 7:20.  Three guys were set to play – the Drummer/Host/”Main Facilitator” and two others – a keyboardist and a guitarist both of whom I had never seen before.  They encouraged me to sit onstage and then … due in large part to an expectant audience waiting for ANYTHING to happen … the keyboard-player said we’re doing “a jam.”  He played a few licks, I quickly joined right in – I KNEW HE KNEW that this would work, we played back-and-forth (well, mostly him with whatever improvised melody line, but I was supporting and supplementing) – the guitarist was reasonably competent on playing rhythm and background.  We played whatever that tune was for several minutes and everything went well.

               Danny Davis –  one of the most interesting, charismatic musicians (extremely proficient bass-player and vocalist) I have ever met, had arranged to attend this session, arriving a bit late.  He had played with Merle Haggard (the keyboardist then mentioned that he had played with Waylon Jennings some time back) – and so, the Tuesday “Blues Jam” took on more than a bit of a country flavor.

               I could tell in short order that Danny liked and appreciated my playing.  The keyboard-player was, I believe, under “the spell” of Danny – and accordingly, “went along” with whatever Danny was, well, going along with.  The three of us (with a bit of help from other musicians) had several weeks of the most musical fun I have ever had.  How do I KNOW Danny appreciated my playing?  About 7 or so weeks later, Danny’s “old” band from Denver came over to River City to play a couple gigs.  I went out to “Koko’s” in Fruita on a Sunday afternoon.  Danny came over and told me the band would play a few songs and then I’d be invited up.  After three songs I took my place on stage, and things seemed to go very well.  During the first break in playing, the drummer came up to me, shook my hand, clapped me on the back and said “You are just as good as Danny said you were.”  Of course I was pleasantly surprised and asked what Danny had said.  Mr. Drummer’s response was something like that if I lived (and played) in the Denver area, I would be one of the best 3 or 4 “country” harp players around.  Whew.  And to think that most my life I had disdained country-music.

               Long story short – Danny stopped playing regularly with the Tuesday night gig after a couple months – presumably aspiring to more-lucrative situations.  And not too long after, the worst possible occurrence – he died in a motorcycle accident.

It took a couple months for the keyboard-guy to shed the “Danny spell” and, along with a guitar-player who became the usual established ‘regular’, I began to feel that I wasn’t “part of the band”.  Oh, there were a few instances where/when the “vibe” I had felt when Danny was there, manifested again (in varying degrees) – but this feeling of unquestioned-inclusivity has been, basically, a downward spiral down the drain for a few months now.  And so, now that that feeling has been gradually diminishing and shows no signs of reversal — for the time being — and who knows how much longer, I have decided that I will not participate in the playing-music aspect of the CD Toosday Jam.   Basically, my “value” to the aforesaid ‘phenomenon’ has not been to-any-appreciable degree whatsoever musical but to merely assist in the facilitation of same.  Not playing the music: but background “roadie duties”.  It is definitely not my intent to be “stickin’ it” to the drummer who pretty much does all the work so this weekly event can happen.  But I am walking away (for a while — -reflect&consider) from the situation I had so enjoyed a year back.

               It could be that I’m THIN-SKINNED (& THICK-BRAYNED).  Yes: I’m not only feeling like my musical contributions are, basically, ignored, but I’m irritated how almost all the musicians who show up, either regularly or even occasionally, RARELY HELP IN SETTING-UP AND BREAKING DOWN AFTER THE MUSIC IS DONE.  On a good/quick/efficient night, Mr. Drummer and I would finish by midnight.

Besides, Mr. Keyboard and usual lead guitarist don’t givva shit as to whether I’m there or not.  They even give less of the proverbial poop when there are horn players present.  Not to mention Brian, when he played “six daze on the road” a few weeks back (in the key of A! no less) and didn’t toss me a solo? I left THAT night right after that.  Yeah: it’z prawbly ‘cause I’ve become soooo thinskind …

I’ve been in groups where I felt I was an integral part of all that was going on – rarely signaled to “back off” / shut-up! / don’t play! – more&more of keyboard nerd’s signals – and so, I hope to find a group/venue where (as a few times before) I am part of everything (and not just a not-so-useful appendage to the keybored OVERLORD’S ever-increasing swell-headedness).  Whew.  There, I’ve said it.  And same sentiment in regards semi-regular guitar-guy too. 

Oh:  the thing I’m not good at, but welcomed AND appreciated when I show up?

Ice-hockey, of course.  Recently at our local ice-venue there have been three weekly “pick-up” games – of which at two I’ve sometimes been the only goalie, sometimes there’s another, for some time now.  Some games I’m half-way competent, but just as often, not.  Doesn’t matter.  All the other players would much prefer having someone, anyone, in front of the net rather than that “plastic” net-goalie-facsimile thing.  Besides, that “shooter-tutor” has so much better stats than I’m capable of.  Last Friday (June 10) there were 7 skaters … and me.  Another half-ice (like a half-court basketball) game.  With no subs, everyone gets a lot of action.  Fortunately, we took a break every 10 minutes or so …  and, as expected, I was super-duper tired afterwards, and tried to drown in beer, our swim pool, and later in the hot tub.

Much of my present life must be engaged in considering illusionary opticons.  And, or course, THAT could be the case for … eh, all? much? of my life so far.  I suspect that THAT aspect has a good chance of not diminishing …

I do have and continue to perform yet another … job? Duty? Obligation?  Which doesn’t involve “hockey nuts” nor “music afficionadoes”.  (Yawn.  More on that, maybe, later).

Below:  weird pod (& plant) out in the “high desert” a few weeks back.  Received some facebook- feedback as to what this (somewhat rare and mysterious) “pod-plant” is.

After having gone to (1) run (2) hike (3) tire out the dogs (4) poach yet another 1/2 – truck-load of flagstone for Betty’s never-ending yard … uh, landscaping?  We were driving back, and

convinced this guy, or girl, to GET OFF THE ROAD as the next person by might not be so nice.  (s)He was about 5’ in length, apparently enjoying warming-up in the sun on the hot road – but we cajoled him/her to go do that elsewhere.

And, Annie, the Qween of Death (especially to small defenseless creatures) waits under the hummingbird nest (in the pansies).

Ah yes, the h-bird nest.  Sorry for poor photo-quality – “mom” was sitting in it and I didn’t want to disturb her.  Yes:  the nest is fastened to the underside of the upstairs porch by THUMB TAX & DUCT TAPE.  “Mom” had built the nest two years back, when the porch underside was covered by vines.  A year or so back, the main trunk/line/vine died, and subsequently all the “underside vines” withered away.  This sad state of deteriorating vine death looked, well, like death and we removed them.  Except for the section of vines “mom” had built her nest in.  We tacked it back up in the same spot as before – and didn’t fully expect her to return – but she did, and as I type this her 2 kids are soon to “fly the nest” – and, as happened last year, she might raise another family.

My daughter commented that the non-dino-skeleton is the #1 Whirled Hide&Seek Champion ~

7 thoughts on “ILLUSIONARY OPTICON

  1. I’ve been in those—you are really not appreciated or wanted, but here—clean up my mess. (No please or thank you forthcoming.) The only solution is to stop going. Who needs that at our ages. We have retired after all and everything we get to do from this point on is for enjoyment, enlightenment, or —fun! Good for you!
    Your photos are outstanding.
    By the way, what is that pod? I don’t have your FB page.

    Liked by 1 person

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