The Joy of Oblivious Disorientation

I went to the Gallery Elusie a Saturday or so ago to hear my friend Cindy Bow play her guitar and sing. She had left her tuning thingie, not a fork but rather a device, at my studio months back so I thought I’d bring it with me and return it to her. I hoped she’d not be out of tune for this performance on my account. But I was filled with pride for finally remembering to return it. As I got out of my car in front of Old Town hall in Easthampton, where the gallery lives, I handed it to my friend Cassandra as I rummaged for other things in my car. She asked what it was. I thought, ‘she doesn’t know what it is but I’ll let her be surprised. I didn’t know what it was when I first saw it either. I guess it’s a musician thing.” This is the tuning thingie:

Mo Ringey

So we went inside and there was Cindy. I handed over her tuning thingie. She feigned confusion. It was kind of funny. I pressed it on her and she was like, “Really–what is this?” She was doing a great job of carrying on this joke. It was funny. I hugged another friend who was there and Cindy was still carrying on like she didn’t recognize her own tuning device. I thought it odd a bit – I hadn’t known her to carry on a joke for so long. So I played along and said, “Yeah, like you don’t even recognize your own tuning thingie?” Now everyone was looking at me funny. They were all in on it? Then it all came back to me and I felt my face turn red:

Last summer and fall I spent most Sundays going to the RT 47 Flea market in Hadley which is a delightful outdoor carnival-like scenario. And it turned into a group of regulars who would meet at my studio and go together and of course the people with the booths started to look like regulars so it all became so very regular.

One Sunday Cindy came back to my studio after, and she played guitar and sang for a bit. After she left I noticed a funny foreign object behind that looked like an alien thought-protection detection device or a meter of some sort. I called her and asked about it. Turns out it is a tuning thingie but since I don’t play an instrument and am not a groupie or roadie, it was an objectual mystery to me.

When people leave things behind, they inevitably become non-things that hang over my head because I feel that it’s urgent to return them as soon as possible, yet thoughts fly in and out of my head like a revolving door and so they hang around and over my head. It’s a busy, linty place.

Dropping off another thing to another friend after another flea market last fall, I noticed a shiny silver thing on his lawn that was flashing an orange light. I like shiny things and flashing lights so I stole it. I told him first of course partly because I don’t really steal things (or not return borrowed things) and partly because I needed to ask him what exactly I was stealing. It was a landscapey thing that powers up in the sun and then flashes in the dark. I liked it’s shiny flashiness. I kept it in my car so it would power up during the day and flash at night. I hoped that the Holyoke car thieves would assume it was a crazy and revolutionary anti-theft device and be afraid of it.

But in my linty mind the two thingies had switched places. Sigh. This is the actual tuner that I now have yet to return:


It’s not likely to deter car thieves but has a snazzy needle. It’s not very shiny though.

One Response to “The Joy of Oblivious Disorientation”

  1. No,no,no! Trade them back!

    If you power up that square object that flashes, you can turn it in at Panera’s and claim someone else’s soup and sandwich.

    You might have called this week’s column Chatty Kathy; sub-title Magpie Thievery (there is an opera title, The Thieving Magpies.)

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