Forty-nine paces. That’s how far apart the saxophone buskers are in my city. Forty-nine squawk parp Charlie Parker turning in his grave paces. So close together they might have been better off pooling forces and cycling round an endless Baker Street-athon instead of blaring into and over one another’s repertoire, rendering everything atonal and ugly.
By way of contrast, the cafe I have taken refuge in as I seek the energy to fulfil collecting medication from the chemists and a parcel from the post office (or vice versa if I decide to be contrary) is soothing my sensibilities with They Can’t Take That Away From Me, the Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong version. This tune is a thing of beauty with Satchmo’s vibrant, perfectly pitched horn literally erasing all memories of my assault by sax note by note.
Almost all of the Februarys have fallen away and taken refuge in the recent past. I have spent most of them in isolation, waiting on a non-existent day to come when my lungs and muscles sing happy songs I’d be pleased to share with other humans. When I do come into the city of men (and women) I give these humans the side-eye out of a troubled combination of self-consciousness and mistrust. Back at home I watch Netflixian dystopias filled with unnaturally attractive people with strange powers and over-complicated back stories.
If life is what we make it I seem to have made mine into a self-patrolled lunatic asylum from which my retreat is only really a spell in the padded comforts of solitary confinement.