Years ago Roberta Flack hosted a radio show which originated out of New York – WKRS, KISS FM. The show aired in Houston at 4:00 a.m. each Sunday morning. As with her music, so was her hosting; soothing, instructive, invoking memories. Laying a marker in time, before and after, educating her audience how music, life, and time remain forever interconnected. I religiously rose, turned on the radio to participate in Roberta’s music appreciation class. One particular morning, Roberta seemingly isolated us by age, instructing the listeners of a certain age not to ignore new artists. Marveling over “those artist under twenty five,” before introducing the musical group Tony! Toni! Toné!
Roberta spoke of those who influenced Tony! Toni! Toné! ’s sound, imploring the rest of us to listen to their voices to hear the voices of others. Playing the song, stopping, allowing silence to invade – one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three – before speaking again, forever soothing, pulling us closer, rewarding our joining her so early in the morning.
“I am going to do something I normally don’t do.”
Playing the song again, allowing the voices of the artists to instruct the class. Making the point, bridging the gap, making sure those who arose each and every Sunday morning understood why she rose each and every Sunday morning to share with the rest of us.
So that I am clear, this musing has little to do about music, less about Roberta Flack, and absolutely nothing to do about Tony! Toni! Toné! It is, this musing, is written to discuss the dance the mind does to make sense of nonsense.
In listening to presidential candidate Donald Trump explain away his conversation with Billy Bush, my mind tried to make the sense of what I heard, what I saw. Bragging, pointing, ogling (in front of others), caring little what others said, thought, or heard. Allowing their handlers to depart the bus, while they remained seated, continuing to share their views on women, assessing their figures (“move, move”), comparing (“the short one”) as men or wont to do, then reaching for the tic tacs – not caring their mikes were hot – behavior which had normally been protected.
My mind did that dance, jumping over logic, not hearing the voice of a grandparent, parent, or theorist, ignoring the political pundits, instead hearing Roberta Flack’s voice, while Tony! Toni! Toné! ’s lyrics rang in my head.
It may never rain in southern California –♫ “They tell me.” ♫ – Trump’s voice, and Bush giggle, said that it didn’t. At least they have never experienced such rains. Their setting was no different – the comforts of luxury, surrounded by handlers, protected, sunny California weather, privileged – allowing them to let down their hair, to share a commonality; and share they did.
Perfect, perfect for ten years, until someone told. Putting NBC in a bind; causing them to hold the tape for a week, refusing to tell the rest of us (my paranoid surmise), suddenly hit with a stark realization – sometimes it rains in sunny California. Sometimes you have to tell, even if it hurts the franchise.
Perfect, perfect weather, until someone got angry at NBC’s refusal to tell (the tattle-tale among us strikes again), sending the tape to the Washington Post – the Post told, telling the rest of us.
Trump apologized – “if any of us were insulted.” Bush suddenly became “embarrassed and ashamed.” It felt if both were actually apologizing for getting caught (as men are wont to do) before he – Trump – instructed the rest of us to dismiss what we heard, saying it was not what we heard.
Of course it doesn’t (never rains) – so they assumed. So we were told. So we have always been told.
Explaining bigly styled – as if life experiences and time suddenly became irrelevant – so he says. So his handlers say. So they will now tell us?
Hearing the explanation causes me to hear the voices of others. Life and time forever remains connected. Playing life’s song, stopping, allowing silence to invade – one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three – knowing what we heard, hearing Roberta’s voice, soothing us, knowing it finally rained in southern California.