25 September 2007


Even though we both forgot our cameras, the sublimeness of last night could never have been captured with photographs. The moments will just have to exist--indellibly so--in my memory.

We arrived at The Green Muse, shortly after 8 PM for the Black Molly's Wild West open mic. At first, we had assumed Shand would be entered into one of the earlier slots, but he wasn't scheduled to play until 10 PM. We were in the company of good friends, however, so we ordered some beverages and listened to other performers. Of course, Black Molly is always a pleasure with their remote desert band sound. We also enjoyed Yellow Grass' music of revenge on the border, and Chris Giffen's short story reading.

S played his set, and maybe I'm biased, but I do think his one-man-band seriously captured everyone attention...he got the best applause and cheers of the night. During his next-to-last song, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. It had rained a little earlier in the evening, but there was a spooky stillness in the air. Then it began drizzling. And then the wind kicked up furiously.

Hugging my sweater around me, I walked up to the stage and told S that I thought some bad weather was about to stir up. But he played one more, and by the end, it really started to come down. I tried to help him as fast as I could. Black Molly was up there, some of Yellow Grass, frantically trying to get instruments, amps, cables and other equipment shoved as far as possible against the back stage wall. We stood a few minutes on the stage, while everyone else ran inside for cover. We had enough of a roof above us to keep us dry.

S wanted to get wet in the rain, so he gallavanted around the Green Muse like a little kid jumping puddles. Then the wind became really ferocious, sweeping the plastic chairs across the patio as if they were made of paper, ripping the canvas ceiling off one of its gromits, causing it to flap violently against the tin roof. It began to rain sideways. Then the power went out. Lightning was striking so fast, the nighttime sky was more light than dark. At that point, going out into the rain was even less desirable. It was better, we thought, to stay put.

So, there we were, S, Dono and Jules of Black Molly, and me, in complete awe of the storm's force, in the dark with only the glow of my cell phone screen. But someone, maybe Daniel (the owner of the Green Muse) or maybe Chris G., called us from the back door of the Green Muse, frantically urging us to come inside. Hurricane warnings. Tornados. This was serious.

We ran inside, and the first thing I saw were people sitting in the dark, some entertaining themselves with their battery-powered wi-fi laptops. Such is the convenience of modern-day technology. A few people were going back and forth with flashlights. S and the Black Molly guys went back outside to rescue their instruments.

I was nervous. Nervous for them outside in hurricane-like conditions, wondering what the rest of Austin--or Central Texas for that matter--was going through. Who had been stranded in the storm? Who'd been unfortunately caught in a bad place? What about our dogs Changa and Tonka who'd been left outside. I reassured myself that even though they'd be frightened, they'd seek shelter underneath the deck. Did I turn off my computer? I left it on. S turned it off in the afternoon. Did I turn it back on when I came home? No, because I didn't have time to mess around on the computer between getting off work and going to the Green Muse. All this time, still stating over and over again in disbelief, "This is crazy! I've never seen anything like this!"

Eventually, we all settled into our shelter for the time being. All instruments and equipment were brought into dryness. Everyone started drinking more beer and wine. Black Molly serenaded us with an acoustic version of their set. People were calling friends and family on cell phones to make sure loved ones were safe. Daniel turned on his headlights to bring some light into the front room of the Green Muse. Meanwhile, the storm was not letting up. The windows fogged up with the muggy warmth of our breath and sweat. The flowers planted in front were mere silhouettes against the bright headlights.

Then, the Hobo Gobbelins began enchanting us with their music. A duo made up of a flute and accordion. As hauntingly charming gypsy tunes filled the room, I thought about how lucky we were to be trapped there. S and I saw a pair of folks dancing. He asked me to dance, and I eagerly accepted. There is nothing more lovely than waltzing in the safety of friends and darkness, during a terrible storm, to a magical song, with the man you love who is soaking wet from running around in the rain. Really, there isn't much else lovelier.


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