Walk on By is a song composed by Burt Bacharach, with lyrics by Hal David. With time’s passage, the song is appropriately described as a classic. Over the years, the song has been recorded or performed by countless artists. The song was initially performed by Dionne Warwick in 1963. In 1969 – the song was dramatically redone by Isaac Hayes. This muse is written in an Isaac Hayes’ context; dramatic horns, and an instrumental section playing – low, high, low; permitting to tell a different tale to be told.
Some of you know, others don’t, let me explain. The Don’ts are those who have an amazing ability to sits on the plane for hours, walk calmly by the throne. The Others run dutifully to the equivalent of the universal Red Cross Stations. Stations ingeniously designed – stick figures – one in a dress, the other in pants. The Don’ts are don’ts because they are not so affected; ignoring Nature’s call, continuing conversations which should have ceased when the plane touchdown; smiling, laughing, telling one last tall tale. A different plight plays out at the same time; The Others move hastily pass, death in their eyes, meaning they plan and intend death to those who dare interfere with their path to glory before the throne.
The Don’ts are also an oblivious bunch; existing in another world, singing a different tune – walking on by. The Others know the tune – absolutely – though heard through a different megaphone; theirs a twisted, meaner and distorted sound.
Please don’t interpret any of this to mean The Others are pessimist. No, no, no, they are forever hope and pray for the best as they flee. Walk on by they do; forever, forever, forever, trying to hide the tears and sadness.
The Don’ts will never understand what this muse is about, because they – them – those people will never understand our frustrations. Walking, talking, engaged with those of like manner and mode with their irritating, chatty laughter – ha, ha. While we abandon all social graces and flat out run. Grabbing, pulling and holding tightly onto body parts – ten to twenty feet out – rushing, rushing, rushing – wishing, wishing, wishing – we successfully make it to the Red Cross Relief Stations. Hoping there’s no line. Invariably seeing a line – wishing, hoping, doing the woo-hoo dance in unison. Praying to the Pee-Pee Gods, pledging fealty – this time, that time, forever – while the Chatty Bunch continue their predictable path – into the distance, out the terminal.
I just can’t get over losing you
So if I seem broken in two
Please walk on by, walk on by
Foolish pride, that is all I have left
So let me hide
Standing in place, advancement in increments smaller than an inch – it seems; feeling like a failure, wishing for a magical conversion back to the toddler stage so as to be graced with society’s blessings – permitted to let my pee run free.
No Walt Disney magic this time; standing in line, counting out loud, thinking, counting to myself. I thought. Except I wasn’t – a loud and verbal count it was – “one thousand one, one thousand two … one thousand three” … clear, properly punctuated, a loud count, done on cue with our woo-hoo dance.
Why, why, why … “woo-hoo, woo-hoo” … wait … you only have two more people! Concentrate, concentrate, you can do this, hold it, hold it… Looking and staring a hole in the man’s head hovering over latrine 3. Why is he taking so long!? Surely he needs to check his prostate. The man hovering over latrine 2 is singing to himself, peeing more on the wall, his pants and feet, instead of peeing where he supposed to pee. Stall 6 swings opens, then the Disney Magic shit happened. A man runs around the crowd. Out of nowhere he came – Flash! Boom! Wow! – slamming the stall’s door behind him.
The pattern is a predicable one – a guttural, manly sound emitted even coming from the most passive of us. A strong, firm zip done while standing wide-legged to better accommodate “that thang” accompanied by each one of us moving towards the sink. Some to check their hair, clothes, looks, without ever coning near the water; others who do the comic book flash, surely faster than the electronic eye, as if saying – see it didn’t – but the amount of water which actually touched their hands is mirage worthy. Maybe a particularly electromagnetic eye and would be able to detect can water one their hands, but not mine. The CDC has been lied to – the number is 1, if we are lucky 2 out of 10 men wash their hands.
There is no dust in my eyes
Smoke ain’t making me cry
It’s the hurt you put on me
I don’t want you to see this man cry
One more… One more… One more… Left foot, right foot, tippy-toes, back on both heels; then reality struck. The man with the prostate problem, he finished around the time Another Poor Soul entered and emitted the well-recognized wounded primate scream. We didn’t push Another Poor Soul aside; social disorder became social order. The collective hoard stepped back and permitted one of our own to cut the line. Another Poor Soul held onto dear life – now purple and engorged. Another Poor Soul took Latrine 1; one hand remained down, the other hand up, against the wall. He was a whimpering, sprinkling mess – sprinkle here, sprinkle there – whimper, whimper – watering both legs, the floor, casting aside all pride. His companion – apparently one of The Don’ts – stood on the other side of the concrete wall. She thought these were Another Poor Soul’s mutterings, they weren’t. The sounds belonged to He Who Lingered at the Latrine and the Man Who Broke Protocol and disappeared into one of the stalls. He Who Lingered at the Latrine’s lips was flush against the tile. He wailed away, pulling, tugging, flipping his member left-right, right-left. A pure exhibitionist – wanting to be noticed – while not realizing he was tempting fate. In our state of agitation should have … we didn’t; civilized and restrained we were, even though a collective was our growl emitted. These were the sounds she heard. Another Pour Soul’s sounds assured us he didn’t cheat the players or the game. A utterly possessed souls he was; nature’s sounds told us so. Our wait permitted me to realize how rich life is – seeing life, feeling death, touching ones inner and outer-self in the strangest of places.
Approaching the throne, hurting, holding onto the prize – then absolutely nothing – did I lose the urge when seeing the man flip, flip and then stroke? Where the painful guttural sounds too much? Did I really need to go? Those standing behind me didn’t care to engage in a philosophical debate. Not this time, not that time. They didn’t care: right, left; left right; back on both heels, not the same as a chorus line, surely just as coordinated and in time.
Under normal circumstances, I would agree with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). I muse to say the CDC has been lied to; the number of men who wash their hands is far worse – 2 out of 10 on most occasions, 1 out of 10 when in a rush. This is considered observation.
The same predictable sounds and pattern which plays on a reel – a guttural, manly sounds emitted, sounds which come from the passive of us. A strong, firm zip done while standing wide-legged to better accommodate “that thang”; accompanied the individual and collective herd moving towards the sink. Some to check their hair, clothes, looks, without ever coning near the water; others do the comic book flash, surely faster than the electronic eye – the amount of water which actually touches their hands is mirage worthy. Maybe a particularly electromagnetic eye would be able to detect can water, but not mine. I say this to say, the CDC has been lied to – the number is 1, if we are lucky 2 out of 10 men wash their hands.
Why is the CDC number higher? Maybe the CDC didn’t do their empirical research on the ground, meaning sitting in the bathroom and watching. Perhaps CDC was being too optimistic and not scientific. Probably they were fooled by the men coming out patting their butts pretending to be drying their hands. They didn’t wash their hands, they know they didn’t! Most likely the subjects flat-out lied to the government agents.
So we move to and from, listening to the news, trying to figure out what to do, what to purchase, whether to travel. Rushing to and from, attempting to learn more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19); pushing away from the latrine, opening the stall doors,; nodding to others without making contact, while predictable male-pattern bathroom decorum continued, then it didn’t. This time something changed. When moving to the other side of the wall as strange phenomena occupied; something new in nature. All the sinks were occupied, in use. Water was flowing and splashing onto hands. Not flash washes. Not turning on the water and letting it run while the subjects do the vanity thing. None were using the water to comb heads of hair. No, no, the blessings of the human race were washing their hands, a full, flat assault on those hands. I know I believed there was a one-eyed, one-armed man who lived on the railroad tracks in community when I was a child; one of many mythical creatures of who lived in my mind. I now know there was no such man. However, in these changing times, eight out of ten men paying homage to the throne and washing their hands before exiting indeed seems to me to be a bit of Disney magic I had been searching for all along.
Is all that I have left
So let me hide
The tears and the sadness you gave me
When you said goodbye
Walk on by
And walk on by
And walk by…