During a hard icy rain sometime after 1 PM on a Tuesday afternoon, a young women, a singer-songwriter, set herself up in the corner, on the small stage, said “check, check,” and sent a shrill of feedback through the speakers.
“Sorry!” she said then. It was not the original feedback so much as this sorry that, for whatever reason, pushed out such a high shrill of demon feedback that the dogs out on the sidewalk began whimpering followed by shattering in the Chinese restaurant next door, as if a busser dropped a tub of dishes.
If this wasn’t bad enough, a man in a suit over in a corner seat spilled coffee over his file of papers with the first minor squeal and then literally knocked his glasses off when reaching up to cover his ears with the second. His glasses fell on the hard floor and both of the lenses popped out. “Goddamnit!” he said.
“Come on, Barry. It will be okay,” said a woman across the table from him, a colleague or a client. She was wearing a smart, tight, navy blue business suit.
“It will not be okay!” he said. “I’m legally blind without my glasses and now with the goddamn feedback, I can’t hear a goddamned thing.” Due to the size and acoustics of the room, everybody could hear what they were saying.
As the woman went off to get a towel to soak up the coffee, the singer-songwriter, visibly shaken, said, “Barry, is that your name?” She was speaking sultry-like into the microphone.
“Yes,” he grunted at her as he got onto the floor beside the table, patting the ground, feeling around for his lenses.
“I’m sorry, Barry,” the singer-songwriter said.
Again Barry grunted. Once he found his lenses, he reached for the table to pull himself up, knocking a glass of water over his papers. “Goddamnit!” he yelled again. “Goddamnit, goddamnit!” His colleague hurried back, clicking across the floor in her heels to sop up the water. She put these quickly into his satchel and then helped Barry out to the parking lot as he held onto his broken glasses.
After another awkward pause, the singer-songwriter tapped the microphone with a fingernail and said more quietly now, “check, check, one, two.” Once satisfied, she got herself settled on her chair with her journal open beside her, setting it on top of her closed guitar case. “My name’s Marcy,” she said then as she tuned up her guitar, “and these are some songs that I wrote during a difficult time in my life. But first, to start off, you might recognize this one.”