Friday, December 08, 2006

Ode to the birthday girl

(Note: This was written on December 7th...just couldn’t post it until today.)

First off, happy (?) Pearl Harbor Day, everyone. What do you wish someone on a day as tragic (“infamous,” by a famous standard) as Pearl Harbor Day? Not sure how that works. Especially for someone like my dearest friend, Wendy, whose late father was a survivor of the attack in this day has very special (for lack of a better word) significance for her. Hope she can feel my love from afar today, as that’s all I can offer her...

And happy birthday to my first “real” girlfriend, Laura Dudley. I’m sure she has a new last name now or something. God, what a little piece she was...hottie-hot-hot-hot. But hot in the hottest of all ways, which is that of someone who doesn’t know she is hot. Once she realized she was a few years later, she became – and remained, for at least as long as I knew her – thoroughly impressed with herself. Which, of course, made her not very hot at all. At least in my eyes. To me, there are few things less attractive than lack of humility. I’m sure that says something about me, but whatever. I don’t think there’s anything more unattractive than somebody who obviously knows they’re attractive. And I’ve met a few people like that lately.

But I digress, for that is not the birthday girl in question. This birthday ode – which I will communicate via the time-honored and hella-fun haiku format – is for Amanda, who, in addition to countless other things, puts the “t” and “a” in Boca Tinta. Amanda’s birthday is tomorrow, the eighth. She will be turning thirty-something (I don’t know what) and tonight’s combination “Listening to...” / Boca birffday bash should be quite fun. I know Val’s doing her part...

The last time I saw Amanda – at the Thursday Dada show a couple weeks ago – was right on the heels of a pretty crummy period for her. Without getting into details, I know I’m still very startled and hurt-on-her-behalf (yes, that needs to be hyphenated because I can’t think of a better single word) about everything that was said and not said, done and not her and about her. As far as I know - because I still haven’t had enough opportunity to get to know her as well as I’d like - Amanda puts her heart and soul into promoting the local music community. Why she does it...I have no idea, though I have some theories. Although, it ultimately doesn’t matter what her motives are. The fact is she gets up every day and does something she feels is important, and that’s more than most of us can say for ourselves most of the time.

I’ve had very limited experience with anyone who has put forth as much energy and commitment (emotionally and physically) into something that is by definition a “volunteer” endeavor as Amanda seems to. And I have had a decent amount of experience with people who devote some part of their lives toward a cause for/about which they feel strongly, considering I “volunteer,” myself (god, that’s badly worded). Yes, I’m sure she gets repaid for her efforts by way of the internal/spiritual/intellectual creamy goodness we all yearn for. And there may be other, more tangible forms of payment she receives for her efforts; idea, nor is it any of my business, though I’d enjoy learning of her doing so. But what I’m trying to say is that as an occasional witness to what she does, why and how she does it, and the amount of her very being that she sacrifices for the cause, it really did hurt me badly to watch her get hurt. And it still stings me. Although, I should say it’s unfair of me to even assume she was hurt because I honestly don’t know whether she was...we’ve never really discussed it. But even if it did roll off her without leaving a mark, it felt like an injury to me. And to add some amount of salt to my wound in a weirdly unexplainable way, I never saw her react to any of what was happening with anything less than total dignity and class. Myself, I wanted to whip at least one person’s ass. And give at least one other person a big piece of my mind. But Amanda more or less – and, again, this is only from my limited vantage point – just picked up what needed to be picked up and got back on with things without missing a beat. And that’s more than I can say for those other people, or myself, for that matter.

What hurt me about the whole thing was that it wasn’t fair and she deserved better. You don’t volunteer to do anything sincerely because you expect to make a literal or figurative profit somehow. You do it because there’s a part of you that needs to do it, and you do it simply because no one else will. For every one person who actually gets off his or her ass and does something meaningful (relative term, I know), knowing that there’s no guaranteed reciprocation, there are a hundred other people who don’t...for various reasons, virtually none of which are legitimate. And those of us who do certainly don’t expect to get kicked in the teeth for doing so. (So much for the humility I was just praising...I don’t mean to sound self-righteous.) But when it does happen – and it inevitably does – it speaks volumes about people when they continue to “put themselves out there” (as Wendy, another selfless soul, loves to say) after experiencing even a small amount of misfortune. So watching Amanda get back to business was actually very inspiring. And that really is what Amanda has been to me for the short time I’ve known inspiring person.

(Having said that, though, I must concede that she’s probably a royal pain in the ass to live and/or work with – as am I. And she’s probably annoying as fuck with regard to, annoying things. Like for example, I know she sucks ass when it comes to returning emails. So there’s that. Plus, I get the impression – and I ain’t sayin’ how – she has her share of demons, blind spots, lack of consideration toward some things she should pay more attention to, etc. As do I. Or something. I just don’t want anyone to get the impression that I think the woman can walk on water or anything. Anyway, back to my “the last time I saw Amanda” story, which got buried in the gooshy sentiment.)

The last time I saw Amanda, we were saying goodbye to one another during...fuck, I’ve already forgotten their name...somebody’s eleven o’clock set at Dada. As is her tendency, she gave me her BocaHug and even tried to give me a little peck on the mouth. (She only partially succeeded because I was indecisively dodging on account of the cold I was carrying around with me at the time. I didn’t want to be, you know...communicable or anything). Anyway, as she was embracing me, she spoke into my ear, thanking me for “believing in” her, sticking with her, etc. I’m sure she said other stuff, but I’ve honestly forgotten what it was since it caught me off guard (both the attempted smooch and the message). Because – and this is really where I’ve been trying to get in the midst of all this blabbering – I should really be thanking her. I don’t know whether she “believes in” me or is “sticking with” me (and I’m paraphrasing, anyway), but I do know that she saw or read or heard or felt something that led her to the decision that I had something to offer her and/or her cause on some level. I don’t know what that is or when it may have happened, but I’m hugely appreciative of the fact that something made her consider me worthwhile or even a little inspiring to her. That’s a very, very cool thing. And through that – whatever “that” is – I’ve been inspired to open myself up more to a lot of things…another piece or two of the outside world...some untouched or neglected places inside my own shell...avenues and activities I would have most likely never explored had I not learned of her enthusiasm and support for...whatever the hell it is that I do. She’s already rewarded me with so much in return for...very little on my part, as far as I can tell.

Anyway, I’m rambling. The point is that I owe her immeasurably. For “believing” or something, I think. I’m not sure.

So thank you, Amanda.

And without more of the endless babbling I seem to do whenever something gets me motivated, here is the Boca Tinta Haiku...


Love to love Boca.
She works hard for no money...
better treat her right.


Happy birthday, Amanda.

Love, Danny



Anonymous wendy said...

I can feel it. Thanks, hun.

9:19 PM  
Blogger rama666 said...

I hope so. If I could figure out how to physically transport it a thousand miles north, you know I would...

PS - It should go without saying, mostly because I've said it to you a hundred times before, that there's been no greater inspiration for me than you. And I hope you can feel that, as well.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous wendy said...

Amanda just sees in you what the rest of us who love you see...

I hope you, umm, see it yourself someday...

And you're too sweet.

love ya!

11:24 AM  
Blogger bill h said...

Well Said Danny. I love reading your posts. Keep it up and hope to see you this Thursday.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous amanda said...


I think those words are the kindest anyone has ever uttered about me.

You made my mascara run you bastard.

1:26 PM  

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