Isolation or Buffalo Herd?

The Facebook singing network asked, “Have you ever sung in a unique setting.” Oh, yeah! But most of our memories are embarrassing more than funny—never want to do that again!

We did an evangelism event at a football field. We sang on a platform on the fifty yard line. The crowd was in the bleachers across the track from the field. During the altar call, a stray dog started walking slowly on the track at about the 20 yard line. I saw people turn their heads to watch this dog. By the time the creature got to the 40 yard line, no one—absolutely no one—was listening to me. The dog stopped on the track between the stage and the crowd and just stared at us. And then! Relieved itself—as in, runners, don’t step in that—right on the track. Not much of eternal value happened after that.

We were scheduled to sing in a Nebraska state park. Outdoor events are a challenge because you cannot control dogs, birds or mosquitos. We arrived to find it was a primitive camp. That means no electricity A couple hundred people had set up the circle of lawn chairs. My first thought was, “I can do primitive. If anyone can, I can.” I would run an electric cable from our bus AC generator which would drive our sound system, electric piano and reel-to-reel taped soundtracks. No problem. I started the generator which ran for five minutes before the generator muffler fell off. Now the primitive park was filled with loud, ugly noise that no amount of singing would overpower.

My solution was to run a power cable off the inverter. An inverter changes the vehicle DC voltage from the battery into AC current. The closest we could get the bus to the gathering site was about fifty feet. I ran a power line from the inverter to the PA  and sound tracks. We got a workable PA sound check.

By the time we were into our third song, the battery was losing charge. Add to that the loss of electricity through the long extension cable. Our tape machine was running slower and slower until we were singing our songs a key lower than the arrangements called for.

I do not remember the rest of the event. It has been erased from my mind, but I can imagine.

With that in my mind, a podcaster asked whether we listeners were extroverts or introverts. That is a question about whether a person is charged by being alone or by being with people. I’m alone in my office so much that I have missed entire fashion life cycles while sitting at my desk. I need to surface occasionally to be around people. Where?

It’s coffee shops for me. Sometimes food courts. I don’t need to interact with the people, just have them close by. I was in a mall food court the other day thinking through a creative blockage and an idea came with authority, like it had gained momentum and substance just by floating past Panera’s, the Greek place and the people around me.

When my emotional or spiritual energy is running low—batteries are dead—I often find taking a cup of good coffee to the river front opens the thoughts that lead to solutions or strategies. I think something mystical happens as the energy of the flowing water stimulates my thinking or awakens my contact with the Spirit of God.

How about you? In what setting do you do your best work? Going with, rather than fighting your innate wiring is most productive. Do you do your best work in solitude or while roller skating in a buffalo herd?

©2014 D. Dean Benton

—Writer, Wonderer, Out of fashion dresser.

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