The intro to tonight’s 60 Minutes report on some musicians in Malawi by Anderson Cooper:
“Something unusual happened on the way to the Grammy Awards this past year: an album was nominated from Malawi, a small country in southern Africa not exactly famous for its music. The artists weren’t polished pop stars but prisoners and guards — men and women in a place called Zomba, a maximum-security prison so decrepit and overcrowded, we heard it referred to as ‘the waiting room of hell.’ How could such beautiful music come from such misery? We went to Malawi to find out.”
How could beautiful music come from misery?
Anderson Cooper knows fcuk-all about music.
My Grandma G laughed a certain laugh, one without abandon and with her whole entire body, not at jokes or at funny or ironic situations, but when she was excited for you and your good news, or when she was excited to see you.
It was a laugh unique to her and I never realized while she was living how generous it was. She gave me that laugh again while she was on her second-to-last bed with a mask strapped to her face offering her body 100 percent oxygen, which her body was likely using only a fraction thereof, due to her heart not working much at all at the time.
It was about the new apartment. I had not yet moved in but the move was finally on the calendar. And she wanted every shred of news she could get out of me. And we talked about the new apartment, and she gave me that laugh and told me how excited she was about it.
I think the oxygen, while it was not actually contributing to her respiration, I think it was somehow energizing her. The nurses had to remind her not to talk too much, not to get too excited, because, you know, all that stuff uses more oxygen.
That was the last time I saw her fully cognizant. The last time, and she gave me that generous, excited-for-you laugh. I am at her house tonight, and when I walked through the door, I heard that laugh, though now only in my head.
But I heard it. I reckon I always will. I just wish I’d recognized it for what it was when she was here. That woman had pure joy for everyone in her life and was so excited about good news from them that it made her laugh better than she laughed about anything else.
Gosh she was something.
Just down the road from me, there’s a local furniture store. See, you leave my apartment and make a right and then you got through this intersection and then down the road a little and to the left, there’s this furniture store. And this furniture store hires one person per corner on that intersection to stand there and hold a big sign advertising the store’s current sale.
So, I’m in the market for furniture these days. And I’ve seen these people standing on the corner holding these signs all summer long. And I’ve had a dilemma because this store has nice furniture. But I’m not sure how I feel about buying furniture from a store that hires people to stand out on a street corner holding signs. It seems demeaning, and I can’t imagine these hardy people are earning much.
So today it was rainy and blustery out. And I saw one of these employees just give up. She did. In the time I sat at the intersection and made my turn right, she threw down the sign, got her mobile phone from her purse, and made a call.
It’s refreshing to in a single moment catch someone in a genuine “fuck this shit” moment.
P.S. The TV stand I purchased from there last week is really beautiful.