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Every day at the Ballston station on the way home, I see the same man with his seeing eye dog. I want so badly to say something like, "Hello, there. I see you here every day, and that's a mighty nice dog you have." But won't I just be the crazy guy to him, too? I shouldn't treat him any differently than any other metro passenger, and should avert my eyes and retreat into my own shell? Only he seems so nice, probably because anyone with a dog seems automatically nicer to me. Although I have never once seen him pet the dog, and I do find that a little disturbing. I really, deep down, probably just want to pet his sad-eyed, clearly very ingtelligent golden retriever.

When I don't bring the face of my stereo in the car, I always end up singing any song I sang in chorus in high school. Once, we spent a season on spirituals, so often I find myself singing one of the following:

Oh, What a Beautiful City
Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel
Ain't Got Time to Die
Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit
Ezekiel Saw De Wheel
There is Balm in Gilead
Soon Ah Will be Done-ah
Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho
Wade in the Water

If you've ever sung spirituals, I don't care what you believe, you have felt the power of something. Call it music, call it spirit, call it whatever you want. I think this comprises almost every song we sang that season - I am sure geniealisa will correct me if I'm wrong. I was a little white kid in a very expensive private school. I am glad that I was exposed to this music, even in that context; I'm not sure if it gave us all any perspective, but I like to think it did, and that we were better for not just singing dusty old european chamber music. (I love me some dusty old european chamber music a whole bunch - don't get me wrong.) Of course, usually we sang the arrangements with all the soul of a bunch of rich white kids, if I'm really honest with myself. But it didn't dim the joy I always felt when I sang them... and still do. Even if I can't remember the alto part all the time. If I could reasonably host mp3s of every one, I'd put them up so people could hear them.

Finally, please welcome my oldest friend, whom I have known since the 6th grade, to LJ. keryx! Yay!



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2004 02:08 pm (UTC)
You know...
I love gospel music - when it's sung by a chorus and not a performer. I definitely *feel* something, and I've already secured my own layer in Hell during my short life. I know what you mean.
Jan. 7th, 2004 02:42 pm (UTC)
deleted post that made a good point:

Their reply was:

Maybe he pets the dog when they're at home. I've heard that one ought not
to pet a working guide dog, as it distracts them.
Jan. 7th, 2004 02:54 pm (UTC)
Re: deleted post that made a good point:
Yep, that's what I was gonna say. When they don't have their harness on they can be like any other dog, but when the harness is on it's all work.
Jan. 7th, 2004 03:52 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean-- I always have to suppress the urge too. But I wouldn't ask to pet the dog-- even very nice blind people get a bit tired of explaining that the dog is working. In the words of a friend of mine, "Petting or trying to call over my assistance dog is about as helpful as grabbing the steering wheel of a car I'm driving."

Annie says you can come pet her any time you want. (Be warned. She takes a lot of petting. *g*)
Jan. 7th, 2004 04:38 pm (UTC)
There was a blind guy who used to hang out near the Food Coop at the University of Maryland when I was there. His dog was good 99% of the time, but 1% of the time, you could see him eyeing your food, thoughtfully. I wrote a long-since-lost poem about the dog, which began with the line:

Joe the Dog was a gentleman soldier...
Jan. 7th, 2004 08:31 pm (UTC)
I'm in agreement with what they have mentioned about guide dogs. If you feel so inclined to pet the dog, that you just can't resist it anymore, talk to the gentleman, and then ask him nicely if you could pet the dog. A lot of blind people will have a sign on the harness that says "dog working, do not pet" Please respect that. If willing he would unharness the dog, and then the dog can be played with. If harnessed- leave it alone. Do not feed it scraps.

This is exceptionally hard for kids to grasp. So mostly blind people are ok with the whole thing, but it is very disruptive for them. A distracted dog can mean the owner and the dogs' safety. The metro station is probably not the best place for the dog to be un-harnessed, but if this was a going home event, you could probably invite the guy to tea/coffee somewhere along the metro and grab an excuse to pet the dog.

Jan. 8th, 2004 06:32 am (UTC)
The Power of Music
My final Religious Studies paper in college was a piece on ritual. Secular and religious ritual. I spent a lot of time talking about the reasons people engage in rituals, and what they do to us.

Music is one of the most powerful ways in which one can commune with the divine, god, whatever you want to call it. It's relatively simple to enter an altered state of consciousness when performing (or listening) to music. Because at it's base it's vibrations. And 50 or 100 people singing the same thing (well and in harmony) vibrates a hell of a lot of space.

Speaking from my little subjective place in the universe, music has the power to alter consciousness more than anything. Even drugs.

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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