Wednesday, February 14, 2007

the Jedi Counsel Room

There is a bright and shining star deep within the fair mother city. Amidst the clutter of religion, non-profs, karaoke bars, military-friendly businesses, and church buildings lies a cigar bar/coffee joint where everybody knows your name.

The Jedi Counsel Room is truly the only public place in the fair mother city where one can go and not be judged by others. College students, crotchety old retirees, military men, female bartenders, philosophers, cynics, cigar loving clergy, the homeless, and secret agents can all gather together as one family. One family sitting in a giant ash-tray.

I’ve loosely hung around the Counsel Room since it’s humble beginnings eight years ago when an old college buddy of mine first opened it. I was also the first, if not only, music act there for a long time.

Playing for the cynical know-it-alls at the Jedi Counsel Room ain’t easy. But I like this kind of gig. You have to earn their respect, as opposed to the other goofy coffee joints in town where it’s a kin to playing at Disneyworld. Or maybe Branson.

There were some errands to run downtown the other day so I thought I’d spend an hour or so alone in the Counsel Room catching up on a book. Their coffee is surprisingly good (for a place that wasn’t originally set out to be a coffee joint) and I had about three Nat Sherman’s left, so might as well finish them off.

I’m not a “smoker”. I only smoke occasionally, and it’s usually when I’m in the Counsel Room. Which would make me a smoker to most people. I tried smoking a cigar in my backyard once. It just felt wrong, like I was hiding something.

While at the Counsel Room, I ran into Little Wing and hung out with him a while. Conversations with Little Wing go surprisingly well despite 1) his quiet and feminine whisper of a voice and 2) that he talks pure nonsense. Butterflies and Zebras, my friend...

He did answer one question very straight. I asked how long he’s been in the fair mother city. “Since 2002”.

I proceeded to subtly extract information from him that I wouldn’t normally ask my friends on the street. I was trying to find out where he stayed. That question is a huge no-no in the homeless community. It’s kind of like asking your grandparents about their sex life. Or asking a member of your church about their financial portfolio. But I’m trying to figure out if he is in need of shelter. And we’ve known of each other for a year so maybe I had gained some trust.

Little Wing told me of “849”, which I learned was the address of a house he stayed at for about six months. I assume it was an abandoned house the way he described it and how the next-door neighbor called the cops, thus his eviction. I’m surprised he lasted six months. He says that he currently sleeps under “that bridge over there”, pointing behind us. I can’t imagine that it provides much shelter. Much less anyplace one could call home. But he seemed content about it, so I don’t know.

Then, there was this young woman that I vaguely knew from about ten years ago. A friend of mine who I played in a band with was a border at her parent’s house back then. And she was some high school kid at the time. We used their house as a rehearsal place.

I asked if she remembered me. She did. Somehow we got on the topic of what she’s doing in life now.

She practically broke down describing what sounded like my life 13 years ago: recent college grad, loan payments piling up, car failing, miserable job, still in the fair mother city, and a host of other real life happenings gone awry. Overall, she was unhappy as life has turned out different than she expected. I could relate. Not that my passing words hosted any practical advice or healing, but I told her it WILL get better. I’m living proof.

I would have never guessed that the CEO would orchestrate these chance meetings within the Jedi Counsel Room. I was just trying to read a book.


Anonymous said...

Funny, I would have figured Agents would not hang out in joints where "every body knows your name." I can imagine it now... Instead of half the folx shouting "Norm" when you walk in, they all say, "Agent B!'s it going?" To which Agent B says, "IT's a dog eat dog world out there and I'm wearing milkbone underwear."

Good times...

Anon !

Miller said...

sounds like you got some great agent work done!

can't wait to hear more...


Agent B said...

Agents would not hang out in joints where "every body knows your name

Well, that doesn't mean the necessarily know who I am.

It's good to have a place to unwind...