Sunday, June 25, 2006

Definition of Dignity

Yes, I survived the retreat, marbles somewhat intact and everything. The weekend itself was fairly uneventful, and if I do blog about it, it’ll be next week, as I seem to run about a week late on my blogging adventures. I think it’s better that way. Perspective and everything.

Besides, Karaoke Coffee Club was two weeks ago, and I haven’t had a chance to talk about it. This is the third go around for me, and I came prepared this time. Working in the kitchen the last two times showed me that CCCO has a dire need for kitchen essentials such as sponges, dishwashing soap and towels for drying wet dishes, so a quick trip to the store before I went down there would make the Cleaning Of The Pizza Pans much easier. But there’s so many newbies that are more frightened of the place than I am, so I relinquish my Cleaning Of The Pizza Pans to them, and hang out in the main room for much of the time.

Yes, I did the electric slide with Dexter again. Poor Dex was harangued by a woman who was mighty irked that he was a little hesitant with the steps. She did not feel, as I did, that Dex deserved mucho points for getting up there in the first place, and basically yanked him around through the steps, exasperated that there was a guy who wasn’t SLIDING so much as STEPPING. But Dex was a trouper, he really was.

The other funny thing about the Electric Slide is that when they call out “Where are my sliders!?” And you run up there to claim your tiny piece of the floor, you’re faced with the realization of Which Way Are We Going First? I’d always thought that you go to the right first, because, well, I dunno. Don’t most people go to the right? Seriously, it’s an old Disney trick. If you’re running around a Disney theme park, and you’re approaching a line for a ride like Space Mountain, and there are two queues, you always pick the left one, since most people bear to the right. Same thing with movie theaters. You walk into the movie theater from the back, and you can go either to the left or right, and you’re trying to guess which side will be less crowded, go to the left. Again because most people bear right.

“Bear left.” “Right, frog.” Sorry, never pass up an opportunity to slip a Muppet joke in there, even if it doesn’t quite fit.

So I’m thinking we’re gonna start the Electric Slide to the right, and Dexter’s Soon To Be Nemesis hollers out “We goin’ to the right!” Which makes sense to me. Unfortunately, there appears to a Lefty Leader who has the other half of the crowd in their sway, and they’re goin’ to the left. Which makes for a lot of initial chaos, and people being jostled around like pinballs. But it sorts itself out eventually.

It was an uncharacteristically mellow night this time around, as most people were singing melancholy and/or low key stuff. And I watched the people sing and clapped for them, and the phrase “Dignity” kept banging around my head.

Dignity. It’s kinda of an old school concept for something that’s still relevant as it ever was. Good old Webster’s defines dignity as “The quality of being worthy of esteem or honor; worthiness.” I think one basic Christian principle holds that every person has dignity, where things get messed up is that people don’t necessarily think they have worthiness, or they let other people take that away from them through words, deeds, action, fists, what have you.

And one of the most interesting things about Karaoke Coffee Club is that dignity shines like a beacon through these folks. They may look strange, they may smell funny, they may not have all their marbles, but they are PEOPLE, dammit. And they’re here, and if they sing off key, they are going to sing GLORIOUSLY off key. They are going to OWN their off key-ness. And more than a few can sing gloriously ON key. This gal in particular, is awesome. I don’t see this dignity in the “Spare some change?” folk. Those people look lost or ashamed. And these Karaoke Coffee Club people may be no better off than those people. But the Karaoke Coffee Club people are in touch with their dignity, and that might be vital to survival. To recognize, for however long, that they do have worthiness.

I took these pictures with a crappy Kodak disposable camera, because I forgot my digital that night, so these are crappy quality. But I like the way you see the joy and the dignity radiating through these people. I will go to astounding lengths to avoid getting my picture taken, because me and the camera lens are not great friends, and we shoot spitballs at each other whenever we can. But these people didn’t mind getting their picture taken one bit. They own every bit of their essence, and it is simply glorious to see.

1 comment:

Richard T said...


"Never mind."

Lovely piece, Amy! I'd pay to see you eletric slide!