Sunday, July 20, 2014

Smile on a Summer Night

Somewhere amidst all the noise, I heard music.

I was sitting in my dentist’s chair last week with my head cranked back and my mouth wide open while Dr. Cohen went about cleaning the old ivories.

No cavities, thank God, and in just a few minutes I would be out in the world enjoying the gorgeous summer weather.

But above all the whirling and sloshing I could hear someone singing. Was I imagining things or had my dentist been working on a ventriloquist act in his spare time?

“I have often walked down the street before but the pavement always stayed between my feet before…”

Wait a minute. That’s “On the Street Where You Live,” a lovely song from My Fair Lady. It seems my dentist has music playing in his office, but he keeps it so low—and I am apparently so clueless—that I had never heard it before.

And I like this tune so much that I was tempted to ask Dr. Cohen to hold up his noble work until it was over. But I kept my mouth shut--even though it was open.

Tomorrow” from Annie was next and while I’m sure many people are sick of this tune, I still enjoy its positive message and rousing delivery.

We were just wrapping up when “Put On A Happy Face” from Bye-Bye Birdie came on. The timing was excellent and I was more than happy to oblige seeing as how my chompers were sparkling clean.

Dr. Cohen told me to come back in six months, better known as the dead of winter, and I wished him well as I headed for the door. It seemed like such a long time off…

On the way out I ran into an elderly couple coming in for their appointment. The woman was using a walker and her husband was struggling to climb up the front steps.

Stick Out That Noble Chin

This poor man’s legs were so terribly twisted that I have no idea how he made it up the stoop to the front door. I offered to help him, but the nurse assured me that she had it under control.

Later that day I was sitting in Shore Road Park, soaking up the sunshine and trying to decide what I wanted to do that night.

No fixed plans…nobody seemed to be doing anything…maybe I’ll just stay in and watch some tube. I could feel myself slipping into the comfort zone once again.

And then I thought of that elderly couple at my dentist’s office. They were once young and active before time and illness had done their relentless work.

Now they have virtually no choice about where they can go or what they can do. I am certainly not young, which means I have no excuse to sit on rear end on such a fine night.

I jumped on the computer and looked around for things to do. There was a concert and film showing in Prospect Park after which I could have dinner at a nearby Colombian restaurant that I had been meaning to try.

Screw the tube; I was going to have a night filled with music. Gypsy guitarist Stephane Wrembel was the opening act, followed by the Alloy Orchestra providing the music for a showing of the Lon Chaney silent film He Who Gets Slapped.

Then I was off to Colombia in Park Slope on 5th Avenue, where I enjoyed my dinner to the sounds of Edwin Vazquez.

I was feeling good. Yes, I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely. I felt like I was part of something. Just listening to that great guitar music and enjoying this fabulous food—it was a perfect summer night.

There’s not much we can do about encroaching winter or growing old. We just have to get out there, enjoy life, and put on a happy face.


Ron said...

Okay, I was like TOTALLY smiling through this post, Rob!

Once again, you mix your wonderful sense of humor with your keen eye for picking out the insightful lessons you learn by observing your day to day life.

"I was feeling good. Yes, I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely. I felt like I was part of something."

Good for you! And it's true. We can do things along, but that doesn't mean we're lonely because we're out there mingling.

And I love this last line...

"There’s not much we can do about encroaching winter or growing old. We just have to get out there, enjoy life, and put on a happy face."


GREAT post, buddy! Have a fantabulous week!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, thanks so much!

I like to think that blogging has given me a chance to observe the "little" things of daily life. Often you'll find they're not so little after all.

Take care!

Bijoux said...

My dentist plays 1940s music. Honestly, it gets on my nerves!

Good work on finding something to do while the weather is still great. After this past winter, I made a commitment to myself to spend time outdoors everyday this summer. It's been wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Rob I really need to take a lesson from you! You are so good at keeping yourself motivated and active. I think you have inspired me to go out tonight. I was invited to a lil girls night but wasnt sure if I wanted to go but this post is pushing me to say "why not?". Thanks!

Rob K said...

Why not, indeed, Shae?!

Get out there and have a good time! Lil girls night could be a real blast!


Rob K said...


I made that very same commitment too after that hellacious nightmare of a winter!

Out, out out, I go until the snows drive me back in!

But what's wrong with 1940s music...?

bonnie said...

Sounds like a great day even if it did start with a dentist appointment!

I love how much good free music we have in NYC in the summertime. I don't take advantage of it like I used to -- I should really get back in the habit of looking at the schedules to see what's going on.

Rob K said...

Hey, Bonnie! It was a great day! And you're so right about all the music we have in this town. We just have to make time to enjoy it.

Stephanie Faris said...

For a second there, I thought you might have a singing dentist. Which would be kinda creepy.

Rob K said...

A singing dentist? Now that has possibilities...