Living with the Entertainer

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“My mother says you don’t want to live with an entertainer because entertainment is something you’re supposed to be able to shut off. An entertainer isn’t like everyone else. But my mom says there is no such thing as an “everyone else.” That is just something someone says when they want the person they are talking to to believe them. An entertainer is someone who wants to be seen. And every musician is not an entertainer. My sister Mary plays the guitar all the time. And she’s real good. She’s just not a musician or anything. And she doesn’t like to be seen. It’s just that when she plays it sounds like music and not someone trying to play music.

“Mary won’t play for other people. But she plays Beethoven and stuff. I don’t know. Classical music. She even plays rock music. Gotta whole bunch of guitars. Mary is always angry. Mom says she was born that way. (Laughing) Mom claims she doesn’t know where Mary gets it from. But when Mary plays guitar she feels better. I think that is why she told me about a guy named Schiller who said when he started to write a poem it would first come as a sort of musical feeling. Like a mood. I don’t know. My sister has a degree in literature.. She’s written some stories but she doesn’t like people to read them. I told her she should start a blog and share her poems at least.”

-In case you’re wondering, she wasn’t abused. Our parents were good people. Always fighting. They acted nice to other people though, and always gave us what we needed. But Mary rarely spoke to either of them. My other sisters were real mad at Mary, saying she needed to see her parents more, and look after them when they got old. But Mary has always been a difficult to explain. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be there. It was the anxiety she felt when she was around them. Our mother belly ached a lot and it always got on Mary’s nerves. I think she has PTSD or something because mom was always on her to go to church. And Mary believed in god but she didn’t see him in church so she saw no reason to go. God was in everyone like Emerson said. Well, that’s what Mary says. Mom could never be able to understand someone going religion alone. “

“Well, Mary is what I would call the prototype of what the entertainer wishes he could be, someone who can express something that cannot be said in another way. The entertainer does it while showing off. But since the entertainer’s main objective is to show off it follows that everyone you see playing music is playing the part in a scene where music is being played but not necessarily made.”

“Ok, Misty. You can set down. thank you for sharing with us today. Class, remember, the assignment is about music appreciation. Tell us about you favorite music composer and why their music is important to you. “
“But my sister is my favorite musician.”
“You said your sister wasn’t a musician.”
“No. She just plays music and it makes me happy sometimes. Sad sometimes.”
“Yes. Well, that wasn’t the assignment.”

-And you trace your intolerance for people to this community college teacher?
-I think so. Because whenever I hear someone describing expression as a “supposed to” I see the same look as on that teacher. Senseless authority. Assertive, dismissive and stupid. It just showed me that even the teacher has their own agenda. There is no way possible anyone can know what is going on in the mind of another.
-And you say this look is part of the real language that the body speaks besides words. And sometimes contradicts them.
-Yes. That is all I tried to tell that damn teacher or anybody else. Whenever I try talking about body language and stuff people don’t know what they are talking about and call me paranoid.
-You are not paranoid.
-I know that. I just wish there weren’t so many people who thought I was.
-I empathize with you, Marjorie…
-Sorry, Misty. Believe me, I do. It is a tough world we live in. We need to support each other because all day long we live with the assumption that all our interactions don’t have to be confrontational but then fate does something that doesn’t cast you in a favorable light and it pisses you off. You feel humiliated by circumstances beyond your control We betray the absurdity of this ongoing scene by questioning our own validity, our own compassionate because we feel we are losing control of choice due to an over weaning authority like the one your old community college teacher really represents for you. But it isn’t where your intolerance started. It is just a symbol of your over all frustration.
-But…that’s your answer, life’s absurd, deal with it?
-You put it that way. Your music. I said the words and you put them to music. Music is language but what inspires it is not logical. It’s just that our systems of understanding must be logical. To children learning scales an old musician clanging disharmonic arpeggios is someone who doesn’t know music. The uninitiated in their childish way dismiss him because he doesn’t sound like their practice music. Perhaps they send the old man Youtube videos of what scales are supposed to sound like. The old man, meanwhile, has a handful of people who love to catch a few seconds on video of him playing strangely familiar combinations of notes. To those people the man is playing something special. And there are a lot of entertainers who existed who never were able to reach as many minds and ears in such a special way.
-You know, I wish you were my friend in that community college literature class.
-Haha. No, my mom wouldn’t have let me play with you. You wouldn’t have wanted me to be your friend back then. One of my greatest ironies is that I now take money from a few people I knew in high school, guys who laughed at me because it wasn’t cool to be seen talking to me. Only, I didn’t quite know why until years later one of those guys, a patient told me it was because a few of the mean girls convinced everyone I was stupid. He told me he was shocked to hear I was a therapist and that he figured I maybe had become a dental assistant or something. Said he came in more or less just to check me out.
-That’s unfortunate. I cannot empathize but I can sympathize.
-What makes you think you cannot empathize?
-Because I was one of those mean girls. Not in your case obviously, but in my own class I was the one who always told those around me who we were hating that day.
-And that community college teacher made you make a decision, didn’t she? You have to be willing to accept a certain amount of absurdity. Things don’t have to make sense. But you have to take responsibility for your reactions.
_Hhhh. I guess. Well, I guess I better be going.
-I…will miss you.
-I mean talking to you. You are very forthright. You don’t try to hide anything. I wish all my clients were as easy as you. (nervous laugh)

Ten years later Misty is thinking of the therapist and wondering, “I had forgotten all about her. What made me think of her?” Misty is watching a horror movie with a soundtrack of music that was popular ten years ago. The killer in the movie is woman with a faraway look in her eye reminiscent of the strange therapist Misty had seen once during a period of her life she was concerned about having trouble getting along with others.

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