Beautiful song by Hoagy Carmichael, called Rockin’ Chair. Louis Armstrong did several great versions of it over the years, with his friend Jack Teagarden and with Hoagy himself (Teagarden sang much better than Hoagland) among others. Jerry Garcia did a plaintive version with David Grisman. The point is, the old guy narrator sings about how he can’t get out of his cabin, how’s he’s grabbin’ at the flies round his old rockin’ chair, and chained to it and so forth.
I hit on this line because I’m chained today to my desk chair and this old typer. Every time I get up to go outside, get a little air, a constitutional, run an errand or two, clear the head, it’s a few circles around the crowded apartment and plop, back into this ol’ swivel chair. A few times I picked up my guitar (I feel like playing Rockin’ Chair now, all of a sudden, I dare not) but most times I did things I needed to do, checked off a few items on my checklist, moved things incrementally forward, with any luck.
Devised a trick to get my fevered self out of the cabin just now, well, almost six minutes ago. Grabbed the timer off the refrigerator, set it to ten, told myself “go!” and off I went.
Forget Hoagy, Louis, Jerry, music, the soul, the rest of it. Forget everything but the 4:40 left on the clock and a little tale to tease out. Walking down Broadway last night with a friend of more than 40 years I mentioned something about a post here on this covert blahg. “I don’t read the blog, I haven’t been able to find it lately, I’m sorry to say,” said the American I assumed was my other reader– most days there are the American and the Polish reader, two pinpricks on the map each 6 hours to one side or the other of NY time.
“Who the devil….?” I began musing. No idea who that second sphinx on the grassy knoll is anymore. The likeliest suspect is mildly apologetic, telling me how much he used to enjoy the old blagh, look forward to it each day, but somehow…. and his voice trails away.
“Who the devil…?” I ask the cluttered desk, the groaning shelves, the overburdened Lazy Boy. Ninety seconds on the clock means I’m unlikely to solve this puzzle any time soon, but at least, with luck, I’ll be up out of this chair, like a NASA space craft being launched, straight up in a foamy jet of smoke and steam, into the atmosphere and into a shirt, down the two flights into the street and saying “damn, why the hell did I not do this five hours ago when I first proposed this excellent idea to myself?”