Isolation (Time at Claflin’s Health Center)

I always start off my blog like it’s not a blog. The first sentence was going to be very essay like stating “Sickness has inflicted me with such consistent force that effort has been thoroughly drained from me”. Now, I feel like this is a terrific sentence, but it sounds like I haven’t spoken to actual people in a while (As opposed to theoretical people).

Last week, I had caught the itis (the nurse never told me what I actually had, just some prescriptions (Thank you Claflin University Health Center) so for ease, it shall be referred to as the itis). This was a very difficult time for many reasons and since my health doth runneth over, I can make fun of the situation. 1. Do you know how fast people will end a conversation with you when you say you aren’t feeling good? It will take about 3 seconds for it to fully register, 4-5 seconds to say they’ll pray for you, 6 seconds to be swallowing hand sanitizer hoping it’s not too late. If this is the way people are going to react to illness then there should be a designated section where sick people communicate with the outside world. I’m picturing some plexiglass and a telephone, even then you might need to keep your holy oil on you to anoint the plexiglass. 
2. “Take these at night, gargle salt water after every meal, take these with food, don’t take this the same day you take these, and make sure you aren’t standing up for this, and try to drink 32 Gallons of water because you might catch kidneys stones”. It’s not very easy to feel better when you are worried about what the side effects of all your different drugs, what not to take with what, how often to take it and such. There were nights were I was really researching why I was taking these pills, what these pills actually did. All the nurse actually told me was “Wow, red red red”. I know kindergartens who would’ve gave me a more colorful description. In fact, I might have felt better playing doctor with some 5 year olds.
3. (Actual Conversation) Me: Wow this tea makes my throat feel terrific. Nurse: I’m make you some more. (Uses same tea bag) Me: Do you mind if I could get some of this tea to take home Nurse: THIS tea is expensive, we can’t do that. I couldn’t actually respond because my justice gland was swollen. Are you telling me you can let me pop as many pills as I want, but the tea is too expensive to give away. To have that sort of attitude over tea, those tea leaves better have each been divinely inspired as they grew in gardens that only nourished their plants with water, miracle growth and Bob Mintzer. Anything short of that is tea for us common folk.
4. So since I’m sick, I get to ride with campus police to the health room (since I live off campus). I call that first morning, and everything is peachy, I ride up there and they check me out and tell me I have a sore throat (Thanks). I call them the next day at about 3, and the guy says, we don’t do that. “Wait, ya’ll did it yesterday.” “Who did!!” “You want me to walk to the health room?” “I’m sure you could find a ride.” “You are supposed to provide transportation for me…Hello? Hello!???”. I call my friend to pick me up (who is perpetually late) and sat in the freezing lobby to catch a ride. As I get to the health room they ask me how I’m getting back to the dorm, I say I guess I’ll walk or teleport, I’ve been working on that option. She tells me “Oh! Well campus sercurity’ll take you”. 5. I had been so thoroughly disappointed through this process of Claflin’s health center, that every little good thing was a MARVELOUS thing. They have honey in the cafe, I really was on the verge of crying. My friends called sporadically to check on me, and I told them how much they meant and then I started making prophesy for them. I found the power of Nyquil, and I finally slept which ended my feverish delusions. 6. Bonus (One of my feverish delusions) I am naturally very paranoid, I just use my logical mind to get away from that, however my logical mind was on a vacation. This let all my paranoia run wild throughout my mind’s playground. I sat in the office for like 20 minutes by myself with some green tea. I was soooo sure that they had put some psychedelic drugs in my beverage. With that thought, my mind was trying to see how that would feel, producing the most vivid colors and tie dye type scenery. I wasn’t sure if this was due to my fever, or to only being able to sleep for 30 minutes at a time. It was very i

nteresting to see what the brain can produce (In hindsight).


A Night with The Cool Kids

On February 4th, Claflin University students decided that instead of waiting on “legislation” to certify events, they would just start scheduling them when they wanted.  Fortunately my friend Jacqueline Pleasant invited me to be apart of this momentous occasion (Which my introverted side thought of passing up, but my inner Saxophonist made me consent to).  This was an event hosted by the ever poetic Shaketa, whose words always resonate deep within my heart.  The crowd wasn’t large, but people just kept showing up, presenting their talents with other students.  In between sets the musicians got a chance to shine with musical selections (and at the end of my short stay I presented a saxophone solo that was very decent).  It was so inspiring to be apart of a gathering that was semi impromtu, with people putting themselves on display.  Not some fictional character to impress people, but the emotions they feel, and the thoughts that accompany them throughout their life.  Several of my friends sung songs (Jackie even did a few freestyles including “Is anyone else cold” Featuring Krista Bradley lol!) And people I’ve never met blew me away with their talent and soul.  This whole gathering was incredibly soulful which was helpful as a musician.  Freedom engulfed everyone present, allowing me to stray away from chord changes, licks and theory, and really get back to the basics.  The unadulterated emotions that get lost in the many practice sessions and the repetiore.  Sometimes you just need to step back and ask yourself, what am I saying?  When the audience listens to my music, do they care that I substituted the V with a b2 or used a different scale? NO!! All they want is to be moved in some way, and playing Giant Steps in all 12 keys doesn’t mean anything unless you are saying something.

Before I went to the poetry event, I listened to John Coltrane’s live version of Resolution from the Suite, A love Supreme.  Growing up, this album played several times through my youth.  When I picked up Saxophone, I listened to the Album, and said “I can make those noises”. So I made a couple of noises and realized that me and Coltrane sounded vvvveeeeerrrrrryyyyyy different.  I didn’t know why for a long time.  However, at this point in my life I understand that it is more than just notes, more than licks, it is about emotion.  Note that John Coltrane was not alone on that stage, he shared/portrayed his emotions with 3 other musicians.  They had a musical conversation in a language that not everyone can speak, but can understand PERFCTLY if you listen right.  Needless to say, when I got on my saxophone in front of those people, I became a canvas.  I left all my tools (Licks and rep) and I aimed for feeling.  After I was done with my last improvisation, I felt like I had finally expressed myself, and it was a extremely fulfilling experience.  To know that people left, feeling what I conveyed…that is powerful.  I would like to extend thanks to my friends Jackie, Krista, and Shaketa for allowing me to create music and be apart of a potential culture growth at Claflin University.