Two days ago I was at the gym wearing my Sun Ra Research shirt and this girl was like “Cool shirt” and I was like “thanks,” and then turned away, since she was at least twenty years younger than me and girls twenty years younger not wearing bras at the gym make me nervous, mainly because I know if I keep talking to them something innocent will eventually be misconstrued, just like a scene from a Ben Stiller movie, and pretty soon I’ll be arrested or forced to walk the runway with Owen Wilson. But she was like “What’s it mean?” and I was like “Who?”
“He’s a musician.”
“It’s a band?”
“Like, hip hop?”
I rubbed my neck, sure the manager was watching the whole exchange on the overhead camera.
“An orchestra leader. From way back.”
“So you like jazz?”
“Or maybe you’re one of those people who just pretend to like jazz.”
“I used to pretend about a lot of things for any number of reasons, but most of them to do with vanity. I don’t care enough anymore to bother.
She played with her hair.
“You know what?”
“I believe you.”
I turned to the lat extension and put on way more weight than I usually do.
“Belief is important. Sun Ra believed he’d been to Saturn a few times.”
“Yup. Also, he was partial to dissonant clarinet.”
She walked away while I struggled through the rest of my set.