Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 438: “What Good Is Waiting?”

day 438 1

Sometimes it feels as if the world is conspiring against 365, something that I am learning to take as a compliment. My reasoning? If what we are doing has no significance then it would most likely receive no resistance. So again, bumps are just part of the path in growing our community and our message of unity.

Why do I express this notion? Well, let’s just call it the mystique of the magnetic jungle and its effect on the audible world. Easier translated: My batteries died mid-interview on microphone one.

“Way to go Richard! You’ve directed and produced industrial film and commercials. How can you let this happen?”

I know, mud in my face. To say I have any excuse would be a great fabrication. I was monitoring the interview of today’s “Stranger,” now “Friend,” Liza. I took my time setting the audio levels. Yet at the end of the day I ended up with very sketchy sound. So much so that I am embarrassed to even stream what seems like more background noise than narrative. Yes, microphone one was the very microphone that was intended to capture Liza’s words. But there is a silver lining to this story. Maybe even a higher than my reason for its happening.

You see, for days I’ve had a message growing in my heart, one that has blossomed from the meeting of our last several strangers, all people who originate (Like Liza), not from North American soil, but from continents troubled by great abuse of human rights­–countries that, for many, give first-hand witness to the depths of human brutality (and I am making a few assumptions here as to the full history of my new friends). So perhaps loosing my audio was meant to be, as it allows me to write this entry—that is, if you believe that sort of thing.

Still, credit to whom credit is due, for Liza, an amazing artist in her own right, begins our narrative theatrically by asking to sing a song. That’s right… a song, as I interview her on the sidewalks of Tarzana, California­–a song that reminds us of the resiliency of many of our 365 friends.

As Liza sings, no worry does she show while many passing pedestrians gaze at us, nor does she flinch with any display of intimidation as my two cameras stare right back at her—just a joyful peace to offer her talent.

At first meeting with Liza, it is easy to be smitten. There is a special quality to this brave lady. An essence that draws you to want to know her, one that is more than merely comforting, it is inviting.

438 2

Born in Lebanon, Liza migrated to the United States in 1978. In speaking with her it is impossible to not feel of her depth of understanding of this experience we call “life.” Light-filled is her face and pure and direct are her words… oh yea, that song? Liza sets it up.

“I’d love to sing a song. It is an international song the applies everywhere and to all people.”

In a voice the likes of Liza Minnelli she begins:

What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play
Life is a cabaret, old chum
Come to the cabaret

Put down the knitting, the book and the broom
It’s time for a holiday
Life is a cabaret, old chum
So come to the cabaret

Come taste the wine
Come hear the band
Come blow that horn
Start celebrating right this way
Your table’s waiting

What could permitting some prophet of doom
To wipe every smile away
Life is a cabaret, old chum
So come to the cabaret

I used to have this girlfriend known as Elsie
With whom I shared four sordid rooms in Chelsea
She wasn’t what you’d call a blushing flower
As a matter of fact she rented by the hour

The day she died the neighbors came to snicker
“Well, that’s what comes from too much pills and liquor”
But when I saw her laid out like a Queen
She was the happiest corpse, I’d ever seen

I think of Elsie to this very day
I remember how she’d turn to me and say
“What good is sitting all alone in your room?
Come hear the music play
Life is a cabaret, old chum
Come to the cabaret

And as for me
And as for me
I made my mind up, back in Chelsea
When I go, I’m going like Elsie

Start by admitting from cradle to tomb
Isn’t that long a stay
Life is a cabaret, old chum
It’s only a cabaret, old chum
And I love a cabaret

As I sit her, absorbing the lyrics, a somber note is kindled in my heart as a think of Elsie, the central character in the lyrics. What side of the track of judgment do I (and we) stand on? Are we comfortably seated at the platform of the snickering neighbors, or are we willing to admit to the shared length of our stay? A thoughtful consideration for certain; not one of us is perfect or infallible.

The point being (and what I feel Liza is suggesting) is that we should look beyond the first impression we conjure as we interact with the people around us and, in doing so, lovingly embrace the cabaret we call life.

She shares a few thought as to how to get there.We have to create happiness for the children. The children today don’t have happiness. The parents are not happy. Me as a kid, I remember with my family. I was a very happy kid. That’s why I am able to smile and give this love to other people. But we don’t see this in this young generation; too much greed, too much selfishness. Why don’t we replace that with loving each other?

With all the races and all these religions. We only need one religion in this world. It’s the respect and to love each other, and with that we will not create this fundamentalist and the extremists, and these dirty politics around the world. We can share the whole earth with love, and worshipping our lord. You know, God above, God almighty… Amen.”

Liza, thank you for your street side audition. But with that said, may we remove you from the stage and place you in a new role for the day. Welcome, Director Liza, you have motivated us as participants in a virtual and ongoing awakening of unity. Its title, “What Good Is Waiting?”

Talk soon my good friends,