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38 jazz So the jazz quartet sounded OK at first, as I sat at my table with my beer, and then I thought, this isn’t really working for me, it’s more like a post-bebop, kneejerk rejection of melody in favor of a glib but ultimately hollow dissonance, but nonetheless I was nodding my head in affirmation, and I did feel rather hip, being one of the few white people there, and then the set was over and I finished my beer and walked out under the stars, suddenly hungry. There was a Taco Bell just down the street and soon I was sitting in my car in the parking lot with three hard-shelled tacos and a Coke, listening to a woman on a late night call-in show talking about the healing power of dolphins, which are actually like angels: they love us and are here to save and protect us. And I looked through the windshield at the distant galaxies, enjoying my tacos with extra hot sauce, thinking about the dolphins out there in the ocean worrying about me, wasting their healing energy on someone who was merely eating tacos in a Cleveland parking lot. I hoped they would give me credit for sitting in the jazz club, struggling with difficult music and the challenges of the avant-garde, and also, in a small way, doing my part to break down racial barriers. If dolphins were as large-spirited as this woman claimed, there was no way they’d penalize me for occasionally being less than noble and high-minded. Even dolphins must have their equivalent of eating tacos alone in a midnight parking lot, although I can’t imagine what that might be. ...


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