Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Singing in the washroom

Not in the shower, but in the side-by-side stalls in the women's room. I've done it perhaps three times in my life (in the last two years) with my friend, Lark*.

Lark is a lovely core member in our L'Arche community with a high squeaky voice, eyes that are always winking, a curved spine, and a cheerful disposition. Being with her never fails to make me smile.

The first time we sang together from our separate partitions in the washroom, it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. I was at work, and nature had called, so I entered a stall, settled in, and soon realized that Lark was in the one right beside mine.

"Boing-gy boing-gy boing-gy boing," she sang, and then giggled like a little kid, though I think she's older than I am by several years.

"Lark, is that you?"

"Boing-gy boing-gy boing-gy boing," she sang again -- her way of saying, "yes" at that moment, I suspect. And she giggled again.

Her little song was infectious, so I sang it back to her. And there we sat, boing-gy-ing away for a few minutes. One, then the other, then both together. After finishing up by washing our hands at the sinks, Lark took my hands and did a little impromptu dance as she sang some more. The sound of her thin little voice amplified by the tiled walls filled the room, and her delight in her music delighted me.

Not long after that, I heard her singing something like "Camptown Races" at the door with one of our Day Program volunteers, no lyrics, just "nana-nana-nana-na," and I wondered where she got her boing-gy song. It wasn't until a music therapist visited the Day Program several weeks ago that I found out... I heard the boing-gy song through my office wall, sung by the therapist -- a "call and response" tune with interesting intervals between notes. I realized then that Lark was singing the "call" and I had automatically sung the "response" without knowing that was how it actually worked!

Then last weekend, at our L'Arche 50th Anniversary gala, I found myself in a washroom partition beside Lark's in the banquet hall ladies' room. "Boing-gy, boing-gy, boing-gy, boingg," she sang again, like she knew it was me next door, just waiting to sing with her.

"Oh Lark, how did you know it was me?" I laughed, and she giggled and sang her song again. She didn't know it was me, of course not! Or did she?

Even though I didn't know who else might be in the bathroom with us, I sang back, and we both giggled together, and sang some more.

After all, when you're singing with Lark, it's never the audience that matters.

(*I use online pseudonyms for all my L'Arche friends with disabilities.)

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