I had left the house that evening feeling jittery. Through the wonders of the internet, I was aware that six blocks south, friends of friends had been assaulted on their own front porch. We live in an exciting part of town. This means that the parties are wilder, and that we hear gunshots regularly. We are free to create things, and to destroy them.
I walked down to my landlord’s mailbox and pulled out the copy of my key that I had left for him. At least I wasn’t rolling out the welcome mat for intruders. At least I would have the smashing of wood and glass to announce that someone was breaking in. I pondered leaving my front light on all night. Did the light say, “Don’t come up here, everyone will see you”? Or did it say, “Someone lives up here, come get me”? Then I vacuumed for a while. I didn’t really feel like going out, but in a nervous frame of mind, I wouldn’t sleep well, either.
The boyfriend and I drove down to a darker, crumblier part of town, where the plodding ghosts of millions of cows cause congestion for the livelier ghosts of cowboys and prostitutes and hobos.
We hiked up some elderly wooden stairs. At the top: the swaying band and the dancing people and the uneven floor and the giant Cyclops sculpture with the stake sticking way out of his eye and the random castoff furniture and the hand-painted cutouts that turn the back of the space into a sort of a stage.
None of your problems will be solved by happy brass instruments and drums and wiggling singers lined up. Or by people drinking things that warm their throats. Or by people in the audience eyeing each other approvingly as they dance, making one big animal of arms and hips.
And nothing is solved by men wearing sparkly eyeshadow. My nerves are calmed, though, by seeing the dazzle of freedom. It is expensive because it is valuable.