Patterns emerge. You just notice them more when you look.
I set out for last night with the unconscious goal of having an experience that would validate moving back near DC. My known goal and intent was to see Cex at the Warehouse Next Door, an intimate space perfect for such a conversational and emotional performer. Phil and girlfriend L were supposed to join Craig and I, but after an evening of gallery management L was is no mood for a show and she and Phil stayed home. Having gone back-and-forth from the city to Bethesda several times that day already, I once again drove down Massachusetts Avenue, my favorite inroad to the District. I didn’t mind driving it again.
Before the show I finally met a friend of Craig’s, Joe, who is working on the album art for Craig’s first album, the first release from our label Adjective Records. Amongst other topics of conversation Joe brought up synchronicity; his day had been filled with minor coincidences and reoccurring patterns. He joked that he was kin to Case, dear-to-me author William Gibson tragic hacker hero chemically gifted with an meta-attuned third eye, able to find connections in vast seas of data. Like, I imagine, many dorks, I’ve read myself into Case more than once. Joe’s reference stuck with me.
Cex played a set dominated by a long, dreamy aural mixture of his trademark simple and emotive acoustic guitar balanced by swirling ambience and snippets of casually recorded conversation, audio perhaps clipped from of a group of friends’ camcorder’d afternoon out. The combination bled forth Cex’s frequent musical themes of both longing-for and dissociation-from familiar friends and places, a sad but hopeful smile laid on the ears. He sang just a little, his lyrics and delivery honest as ever. Progressively more of the small audience sat down on the venue’s floor during the show, like a sleepy kindergarten class happily being read to. It was the best show I’ve seen in some time, and the evening happily could have ended there.
But Craig and I, though lacking Phil’s company, made a near-obligatory trek to Oasis, a perpetually open hookah bar and Middle Eastern cafe located amongst a strip of ethnic shops and businesses in Northern Virginia. I’ve written on the merits of hookahs before but the culinary pleasure of banana shisha is worth repeating myself for. No sooner had we sat down then I recognized an acquaintance from a couple months back: Visigoth, a gifted hacker and general nice guy, who was pleasant enough to invite us over to the table he was sharing with his friends.
Visigoth and company were deeply involved in a game of Zendo, a game with rules so simple and potential outcomes so complex that Steven Wolfram would need to change his shorts after a round. It’s a game of inductive logic, or as Visigoth put it, “pattern recognition.” More Gibson. More synchronicity, literally laid out in game form on a table before us. We smoked and played into the late hours.
And when I drove Craig home it was snowing, endless flakes the same from a normal mind’s-eye distance, all different when viewed closely. And it was better than good to be home again.