The Strange Nature of the Truth (and a little bit of clarification about the piano story)

I was twelve years old and on a bus with my mom, and she launched into this long story about a concert for deaf people with a deaf choir. Then this handsome man behind us half climbed over the seat and said, "I just have to get in on this! What in the world are you talking about?" And we all laughed, and my mom told him about it, too.

I thought a lot about this music concert for deaf people (she said they were enjoying the vibrations- who was I to argue?) as sort of the epitome of a Frances story. I think that it was probably a concert to benefit deaf people, and my mom just somehow missed that crucial fact. (After I wrote this, my dad sent me this link, and perhaps I am wrong- perhaps it was a concert for deaf people. The way she told it was so outlandish as to make it seem unbelievable, so I guess it's just an example of how things get scewed.) Because that's how she is. She misses these logical connections that the rest of us get immediately- like, for instance, that if you own a house, you can store a piano there indefinitely. Or that you can dust your house when it gets dusty, you don't have to move.

When I was a kid, she told a lot of stories about crazy things she experienced that I thought were lies, but turned out to be totally true. Trusted people told different versions of the same stories. So now, I actually believe her stories.

The thing is, the truth is as you see it. My mom is a strange person, and she sees things a bit strangely. She has a lot of strange friends, too, and when they get together strange things naturally happen. Also, it's just in her nature to stir things up a lot. She produces extreme reactions. I'm sure that the piano story was told a lot differently by the people stuck on the third floor who needed to get to the doctor. And differently by John Chang. And the landlord.

Frances is like this traveling disturbance. She gets stopped by the police a lot, even when she's on foot. When I'm watching Star Wars, and Yoda says he feels a "Disturbance in the Force," I'm thinking my mom must be around here somewhere.

She also always talks about the thing I am thinking about, but haven't spoken. I think she unconsciously reads my mind. I hadn't mentioned that my piano had just been moved, and yet she just suddenly started talking about when her piano was moved four years ago. Why? She does that almost every time I talk with her. (She probably won't do it next time, now that I've admitted this.)

She also sometimes doesn't seem to notice the passing of time. A lot of people are like that.

You put it all together and you get some stories.


  1. A place on Valencia Street in SF used to have concerts for deaf people. I think Dennis' band played there once. I never heard of a deaf choir, but it doesn't surprise me. Evelyn Glennie, the famous virtuoso percussionist, is deaf. Music is more than just sound.

  2. I've done sound for deaf concerts- you could turn up the bass all the way and they loved it!

  3. Well, I certainly am learning a lot!

  4. Bill Holm (of MN and Iceland) wrote a lovely story about an Icelandic choir traveling out of town to sing a concert for a deaf man who was celebrating his birthday. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. (Wait a minute! That's what happens when we read Diary of Mindless ...) Or, you can listen to it on Prairie Home Companion ...

  5. Any story that makes a handsome man scramble over furniture to get to it doesn't have to be true...

  6. Rose- thank you, I'll check that out


    Glory- well, yes. it was a good time, actually.