Friday, December 16, 2022

Spilled Drink

Today was yet another day of “my cup runneth over,” but has anyone stopped to consider that means that the floor is wet from the overflowing drink? The fourth of four pitch-perfect—literally and figuratively— Middle School music classes, my last with each and surprising outpouring of affection from the kids. More surprising yet that many were boys. That’s a change and one I heartily welcome. 


So I left the class uplifted and all warm and fuzzy inside and then came back to my car with an $87 ticket because I didn’t notice the street cleaning sign. Water on the floor.


I then met my Colombian friends and after three months of them living here, finally made a date to give them a version of my SF Doug-tour. Parked in the garage at Union Square and walked amongst the festive ice-skaters and dressed-up store windows. On to the Fairmount Hotel, to a notably less extravagant gingerbread house, a closed Tonga Room and little hope of showing them the view from the Crown Room as the last time I tried, the elevator blocked that floor. But entered the elevator and lo and behold, the button lit up and soon we were on top of the world, just us and the always extraordinary view! (see photo). Those who know me can easily imagine how happy that made me!


So my cup ran over again, but when we got to Grace Cathedral and the always free entrance the last 40 years suddenly cost $12, there was more floor-mopping to do. On through North Beach to Mario’s Cigar Box Café, an attentive waiter and their fabulous eggplant sandwich, eaten outdoors in the brisk, but blue-skied-sunny weather. A quick walk through Chinatown, back to the garage, now the clock ticking to arrive at the Jewish Home in time to play piano, clarinet and violin for our last little concert/sharing in 2022. Stalled traffic at the bottom of Bush St., but made a smart turn on Montgomery, off to the freeway and another edgy clog getting on, but finally whisked away down the freeway, found non-street cleaning parking and got in ready to play at 3:02, a mere two minutes late. 


So now the sacred wine was pouring into the cup yet again as our biggest crowd yet—almost 40 people— sang along, swayed, listened in rapt silence and even did some motion songs with me to the usual mix of soul-stirring music of all tempos, meters, keys, styles pulling at all our heart-strings, the full range of human emotion all resonating together for some 75 minutes without a second’s pause. 


Drove back home with my heart humming and my body thrumming and my spirit soaring, the wine of communion filled to the brim and then once at home, peeked at Facebook. Now the cup run-over had spilled wine on a white rug with no signs of coming off soon. The mother of two boys my wife Karen and I taught at school had died. A complete surprise and devastating shock and I still don’t know what happened. One boy my daughter’s classmate and both parents people we had shared much with. Tomorrow I’m going to a Memorial Service for another classmate of my daughter’s Dad. 


So there you have it. The always inextricable mix of grief and gladness, happiness and sadness, Heaven and Hell, the cup that runneth over and stains the floor or the rug. Had someone alerted us that this is what we signed up for when we agreed to a human incarnation, would we have signed on the dotted line?


My friends, savor every minute you have and don’t hesitate to tell people you love them. Bring happiness with you when you enter any room and leave space for sorrow. Inhale, Exhale., Begin again.

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