Realizations and untapped talents.

Two weeks ago, I went to New York City for a conference. This meant that I left My Guy to work on the house by himself and I got to hang out with My Gay Eighth Grade Boyfriend. Super yay!

So, I learned some stuff at the conference – if you need to talk web content strategy, I am your woman. But I also learned 2 far more interesting items of note:

  1. I could have lived my whole life without seeing Cynthia Nixon nekkid.
  2. I should program music for restaurants … restaurants that struggle with branding and need a helping hand.

First up … number 1? MGEGB’s husband got us tickets to some random show. OK, cool. MGEGB couldn’t remember the name, and I was pretty much like, “An NYC activity that I don’t have to plan and to which I will be squired with minimal effort on my part? Yes, please.”

Well, that show was Wit, starring Miranda from Sex and the City. MGEGB and I were both like, “Umkay, sure.” And then, as we were running to the theatre, late, I saw the signs … the signs with Cynthia Nixon’s bald head.

Oh, fuck. It was a play about cancer.

We both stopped in the street. MGEGB’s 10-year-old nephew recently died after a long, horrible illness. And what with the cancer funness that my mom has been through, I’m not too jazzed about, you know, cancer.

We made a deal that we’d leave at intermission if it was too terrible. But there was no intermission! And Cynthia Nixon dies. And you know she’s going to die. And it’s horrible.

Finally, I couldn’t take it any more, and the tears came. And since we didn’t know the play was sad, I had no tissues! No hanky! So, I pulled myself together by questioning whether it would be considered in bad taste to blow my nose on my scarf. I decided that active blowing would be bad, but a secretive little wipe? Well, no one would be the wiser, especially if I rearranged the scarf afterward.

Anyway, finally, at the end of the play, she dies. And she strips off her hospital gown and is nekkid, and then does this ascension thing.

Neh. Kid. If I wasn’t prepared for a cancer show, I really wasn’t prepared for Miranda Hobbs sans clothes. Nixon did a great job, and it’s a powerful show. But … I just wasn’t prepared. And I guess I can cross “see Cynthia Nixon nekkid” off my bucket list, but it would be one of those things where you write an item on your to-do list just so you can have the satisfaction of crossing it off.

Which brings us to my community outreach as a music programmer for struggling restaurants.

One night, I was on my own for dinner. I walked along 46th Street, looking at menus and peering into restaurant windows. I had a hankering for gnocchi, so I stepped into a little Italian joint. As soon as I did, I sort of wished I hadn’t. The place was empty except for two tables of tourists. The chairs were the black metal type that they have in every Chinese restaurant. And every single person working at the restaurant was Mexican.

Not to be racist, but an Italian restaurant with Chinese decor and an entirely Mexican staff does not immediately instill a lot of culinary confidence. Plus? The music playing was Babyface.

But I wanted gnocchi, so I ate gnocchi while listening to Spanish chatter and the sweet, sweet, baby-makin’ sounds of late 90s soul.

Except! Then the music shifted … to Dave Mathews Band. I figured they must just be playing some Sirius channel called Cha Cha’s College Sounds. Except … then the next song was The Pina Colada Song.

I started truly nursing my food and my wine. I started texting my husband, because ohmyOprah, I had to share this experience.

The next few songs:

  • That Rusted Root song that’s now used in a car rental commercial
  • Benny and the Jets
  • More Babyface
  • Why do fools fall in love (seriously? that represents a 40-year span)
  • You can call me Al

Finally, I realized that if I didn’t force myself to leave, I’d sit there all night. I was so enthralled that I had to make a conscious effort to leave. But as I did, I realized that this little restaurant just needed my help. The gnocchi was good, and the people were kind. The ambiance just left a little something to be desired. And what creates ambiance better than music?

Sure, they could have just gone for the stereotypical Sinatra station on Sirius. Or, they could enjoy the musical stylings of yours truly. I’d mix up a little Sinatra to keep it classic, a little Diana Krall to keep a mellow vibe, and a little Amy Winehouse to maintain a touch of street cred. They could pay me in gnocchi.

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