Sunday, August 31, 2008


I walk the urban streets as an African/American. Do you? Well, I do.
During these walks I can usually count on at least two or three people to do a strange dance, as I call it. have to picture this from my perspective, ok? First of all, I do not have a criminal record. I have a clean drivers record. I don't drink alcohol and I'm not a very loquacious person. So, this dance, I do with some folks on the side walks is a conditioned routine that I have just gotten used to:

I will be walking up the lane with no real expression on my face. Sun, rain, wind....whatever. Usually I am thinking about music arrangements. Well...ALWAYS. I am always arranging and rearranging music in my head. A subsequent routine to the vocation, none other than, you guessed it, being a musician. And I will occasionally look up and notice a woman walking towards me. When I was a kid I used to get a smile and sometimes a hello. But that changes when you become an adult, I guess. At least for me. What happens now is that the approaching woman will step to the VERY opposite side of the walk way before passing, looking frightened, nervous or uncomfortable. And sometimes I will say hello to ease this sudden tension, often startling them or making them more uncomfortable. This is a strange dance for me. Because it seems that I am put in to this role without having a choice or say. I become 'usual-suspect-dude'. It's weird. It's common. And it's me? WTF? Strange dance, I say.
Now, if I were to statistically report the ethnicity of most of these women...I would have my own usual suspect list. And I refuse to say, here on a public blog, the exact ethnicity which seems to be constantly repeating itself with this strange dance.
NOW...I'm not saying that this is right or wrong, because nothing happens, really. It's just a passing moment on the sidewalk. And I can't say that it will continue on into the future, either. But what I do know is that this is what I have seen for at least 25 years in a row. It's constant material for song writing, I can tell you. I look into the faces of these women. Some adorned in Obama wear. MLK jr. wear. Bob Marley T-shirts. I wonder...but it's not JUST them. It's a Tango, of course. There are enough bad apples in society's barrel for this kind of mental armor. I do not blame women for being cautious and safe. It is a jungle smeared in concrete out there.

But before I finish this personal topic of opinion, I want to add one more strange thing.
I have met a few women on the streets, randomly, sipping coffee, waiting for a movie ticket, in a line to buy smokes. There are some moments which last long enough to have an actual conversation. An average amount of these women will often be guarded about themeselves as we BEGIN talking. Then, at some point, I am obliged to explain the origin of my name. Often the name Musashi sounds Muslim to some of these women. Wrong. I'm Buddhist! It must be because I have carmel skin. But when I tell them I am half Japanese...they become intrigued and seem to relax and become interested in the reputation that Japanese people have here in America.
" Oh my're half Japanse? That is so fascinating!"
They ask me if I eat Sushi, or drink Sackee. What the hell is SACKEE, I'm thinking?
It's pronounced Sah keh...KEH, I say. Vowels are short, I say. It's Sah keh. If I said 'bur' instead of 'beer', I would get corrected, too, right? And in this moment I instantly remember how stand offish they were BEFORE I mentioned that I am half Japanese. And so, like I said at the beginning of this blogged soliloquy...I walk the urban streets as an African/American.
Do you?

But I'm representing Norcal.
Fully, dude. Totally.
For sure...

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