Come Gather ‘Round People

I couldn’t have been in a more compromising position. Closing shop at the coffeehouse, I was bent over at the waist with my ass up in the air, trying to peer under a table and sweep up the dirt.

“Hey! Hey you!” I heard a voice call, and then noticed a man tapping on the glass door across from my exalted ass. “Hey!”

“Sorry, we’re closed,” I replied standing quickly upright and holding on to the edge of the table for balance.

“Great taste in music! You could sing backup for Bob Dylan!” he continued shouting.

I laughed then nodded in thanks, returning to my work a little self-conscious. Apparently I had been belting out to my beloved Bobby D for the entire world to hear. I forget that since the weather is getting warmer, the windows are often open. There is student housing above the coffeehouse, which is why sometimes when I open in the morning the place reeks of pot (same ventilation system) and why I can tell when and approximately where there is a cabin party. It is also why on this particular evening, this man could hear my singing loud and clear, even though I was belting it out as if I were in the car – by myself, on a dark highway, in the middle of nowhere.

Later, when I went outside to sweep, I was still singing and noticed the man on the picnic bench alongside the coffeehouse.

“Really, you have great taste in music,” he said. “What is it with you guys? I came here yesterday and Tom was playing Bob Dylan. Then Jill was playing it this morning.”

“Must be something in the air I say,” considering the coincidence for a moment. “But really, I’m studying. See, I’m listening to all of his albums in alphabetical order between now and May 6th.”

“May 6th?” he asked.

“Yes, Bob Dylan’s playing in BigCity NC and Mia and I have tickets. Floor seats. Right up front.”

He smiled in approval then turned back to his laptop and my mind was lost in flashbacks.

2001, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon in Portland, Oregon – two epic musical trains heading from a point in history and co-emerging on stage for one sweet tour. Hot boxing in the garage before the show then eating French fries during Paul Simon’s set due to a wicked case of the munchies.

2003, Bob Dylan and His Band in BigCity, NC – the show that begged for John Wesley Harding but got only a few songs with Bob on the guitar and for the rest he slammed away on the keyboard. I had come hot off the Greenbrier River after eight days of mountain biking in West Virginia and walked straight into the Civic Center to cry at the edge of the stage.

2004, Bob Dylan in a small venue in BigCity, NC – the show I missed but had bootlegged while I was hiking around France with the ex.

Twenty-Four days to 2006, Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard in BigCity, NC. Keep on rockin’.

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