Are you there David? It’s Me (no, not a pre-teen Margaret) Justin.
The last time I was graced by your presence was during last year’s 826: Revenge of the Bookeaters benefit. It was the finest combination of children’s literacy charity and a David Byrne country set I suppose I will ever see. Before that, in Manchester TN you treated me to some of the Talking Heads greatest hits catalogue and then brought out the strings for “Un di Felice.” Sometime in between these two performances, I was able to sit in on your talk and PowerPoint presentation at the George Eastman House.
Perhaps my three encounters come as a result of my desire to meet you- Intelligent, well-spoken, insightful, reflective, analytic, creative, worldly, and provocative. Instead of our meeting (one which I have semi-rehearsed a couple of times in my mind) I have settled to simply enjoy being in the presence of your performance. There are a few living people I would like to share a cup of coffee and guarded conversation with- Robert Frank, Bob Dylan, and David Byrne.
I’m not sure where the idea comes from… it is nothing in the vein of celebrity awestruck, or naïve fantasy- I have had many great conversations and chance encounters, sharing time and words with complete strangers. These serendipitous conversations come unexpectedly and offer these intangibly interpersonal bits of thought. I guess knowing that someone has neither something to gain or to lose from their interactions with you offers an openness and realness that is not experienced everyday. I have found that my best meetings have been those unscheduled, unattached, and unexpected encounters on the bus, the street, or even at a restaurant.
Last week I did some solo expeditioning around London. Traveling alone frees you up a bit, but certainly feels like a disadvantage when it comes time to eat. Dining is a very social activity, and nothing proves it more than when you find yourself sitting alone at a table set for four. Anyway, I stopped in Chinatown for a bowl of soup and was seated at a shared table (funny, but somewhat unthinkable in America). I found myself, all of a sudden, not alone- across the table from me was an unassuming woman half-way through her lunch. We began talking, sharing not only the table, but bits of our lives. She, Dreda Say Mitchell, was a John CreaseyAward-winning crime novelist. It was nice, not only to have company, but to share in an exchange with someone who is skilled and passionate about what they do.
It is this same interest, skill, and passion that leads me to believe that to meet you, to share life- in passing would be stellar.
So, David… Mr. Byrne, if you stumble upon my musings and want to share a table sometime… please be my guest.
I like when people think.
A PostScript: By way of the journal of David Byrne comes this piece by Katarzyna Kozyra