yesterday was the panjam, which means i spent about 9 hours hanging out with steel band people and listening to 6 other bands and playing in the heat (i think it is training for next weekend, when we'll be playing for about 5 hours straight in the carnival parade.)
the event took place at the crossroads, which is a restaraunt/nightclub sort of thing. so they were selling food and beer. roger greenidge, who plays with the panmasters and arranges some of our music, offered to buy me a beer (roger is the brother of robbie greenidge, who is jimmy buffet's pan player, and roger plays for him too when robbie is off doing his own thing.) so i spent the rest of the evening sitting at the bar in the airconditioning talking to roger, mark, lennard, arlene, and rollo. discovered that arlene is family! had no idea. in fact, i thought maybe i had scandalized a bunch of old trini men by bringing my girlfriend to the panyard. ali says she dealt with all that stuff earlier so it's all good. besides, old trini men are way too dirty-minded to be anything but thrilled.
at one point i promised roger i would come over and cook some cuban food for him. but he can't hook me up with jimmy buffet tickets for the concerts coming up. oh well.
i had a few beers, was quite relaxed. yesterday i think i finally started getting to know the rest of the band, where before i felt kind of on the outside. even kristen and laura (the two other white people) i thought maybe didn't actually like me. but hanging out yesterday after we'd loaded up the van and gone over to the crossroads felt a lot better. it might be all in my head, because up till now i didn't feel very competent playing their songs - it's a lot to learn by rote when i am used to having music to remind me. so anyways, i felt better about that.
then i came home and sat around watching tv for a little while. i eventually realized that i had left my cell phone in my car, and i didn't want to miss if sara called from minnesota. so i headed down to my car, leaving the lights and the tv and everything on. when i got to my car, though, i realized i had all my stuff in my pockets and i didn't feel like going back up. so i wandered. i went down to this little war memorial park/plaza thing in downtown bethesda, and sat and watched people go by and listened to music... eventually i found myself at the metro station so i took the train down to dupont. waiting to catch the glenmont-bound train, i noticed the shady grove-bound train coming through, but i was facing the other way. then i turned around and saw that the train had not stopped. i figured it was just a not-in-service train, but then the guy on the other side of the bench said it was stopped just up the tunnel - i guess the guy had come in too fast and was not able to stop at the platform! he had to come all the way down to the other side of the train, and drive it back to the platform. i'd never seen anything like that happen before.
coming up out of the dupont station, the first thing i saw was a group of people who had music playing right at the entrance and were doing some crazy dance kind of stuff. it was sort of half-robot, half-break dancing. i sat and watched them for a while, then went to a bookstore and got a couple new books, and then sat in the circle for a while and struck up a conversation with a dog-walker. i told her that i had planned on maybe getting a movie and staying in but that i decided i felt like watching real life tonight instead. i'm glad i did. on the train home i started getting a really bad headache, though. i also was on the train with people who seemed like caricatures of themselves. frat boys with the frat-boy haircut and the blue shirt and the khaki pants and sneakers. skanky ho with the frat boys. not quite so nice to people-watch when that's all you have to watch.
anyway, it was an interesting night and the first time in a while that i was happy about the fact that, other than being at work at the right time, no one really knows or cares where i am at any particular time. i walked out my door and was swept away by the road, just like bilbo says can happen.