Published on June 15th, 2023 | by Randy Weeks0
The View From The Balcony: “Interview with The Balcony”
I’ve conducted many interviews through the years with Supreme Court Justices, ghosts, presidents, disgraced coaches, politicians, entertainment celebrities, statues, and others. It occurred to me that I’ve never interviewed The Balcony itself.
So Saturday night, after a torrential rain, I hid on The Balcony at closing time and waited for the Knights of the Long Table to finish their work and leave.
Once they were gone I went to the southwest corner—my favorite spot—opened my heart to my deepest Zen space and invited The Spirit of The Balcony to come speak with me.
Within seconds the wind rose. All the streetlights went dark, draping The Balcony in a shroud of blackness that would veil any convocation that took place.
“Well,” said The Spirit of The Balcony (SOTB), “You summoned me. What do you want?”
“First of all I’d like to thank you for the sanctity of this space you provide,” I replied.
“You’re welcome,” said SOTB. “I just try to make it inviting, friendly, and safe for everyone.”
“You do it well,” I said. “What are some of your favorite moments?”
“I always loved it when that little French guy, Jean Marie, I think, would climb my columns. He was like a little spider monkey that sure knew how to live in the moment!
“Oh, yes! And who could forget the time you ran down the stairs to ask Drop-Top Tallulah to drive you around The Square? Her little mutt of a dog snapped at you and you claimed it was a pit bull that had swallowed your arm up to the shoulder! I also love The Balcony Parking Commission and when y’all call out the people with the extra-loud vehicles: ‘Sorry about your penis!’ I’m sorry, too!
“Whiskey Wednesday. That’s a motley crew (laughs). There’s a real sweetness in their banter that goes beyond friendship.
At the same time, I love it when people come to Oxford for the first time and land here. The Locals and The Townies are all too generous in making them feel at home and in giving them all the information they need to know to enjoy the best of the town.
“I’ve loved the scores of reunions between former classmates and friends—the laughter and the love. I’m especially moved when a hurting person leans on a trusted friend and finds the solace and understanding they wanted and needed. I’ve heard the solution to political, relational, and economical problems in the world. I’ve listened to philosophies galore and anyone and everyone’s share of B.S.—including yours.
“The many times people who work here come out to spend their off time with each other says a lot. They could go to any other bar, but they choose to come here.
“I’ve tried to keep the playing field level, to make a space for all kinds of people, all kinds of beliefs, all kinds of art, and all kinds of ideas.”
“You’ve done an amazing job of it,” I said.
“It’s not a job,” SOTB said. “It’s a joy.”
With that, SOTB began to dissipate, leaving their solid form to return to the Realm of Spirits. In their last seconds of tangibility, with their voice trailing out, SOTB said, “You’ve said this place is church to you—a holy place. I’ve heard you call it the First Conversational Church of the City Grocery Balcony. I like that. I really, really like that. In the end, conversation is the heart of it all and relationships are the bottom line. Always remember that, Randy. Always remember.”
With that, SOTB disappeared, unable to be seen by the naked eye, but still present.
…and that’s the View from The Balcony.
Randy Weeks is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Shamanic Life Coach, an ordained minister, a singer-songwriter, and an actor. He knows how lucky, how blessed he is. Randy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.