Love (or Sue?) Thy Neighbor

If Condoleezza Rice and Aretha Franklin can make beautiful music together, can't we all just get along?

Two weeks ago I attended the Condoleezza Rice and Aretha Franklin concert at the Mann. When I first saw the concert advertised, I have to admit that my curiosity was piqued. Truthfully, if I hadn’t seen the two names together, the ad would not have attracted my attention, but there it was, lefty and righty set to perform together on one stage.

Rice is an accomplished pianist and Aretha Franklin, while certainly the Queen of Soul, also has a varied classical repertoire. Who can forget her stepping in to replace the last-minute no-show Pavarotti at the Grammy Awards? So clearly, music brought these two successful and talented women together. What interested me is, in fact, what keeps them apart: politics. Rice has an eight-year tenure of service in a Republican administration, and Franklin is a staunch and passionate supporter of our Democratic President. And so, I attended the concert with more than a receptive ear to the music but also a watchful eye to the body language and the dynamic between these political-polar-opposite women. They were together on stage only twice. After the second number, they greeted each other politely and shook hands. Then, facing each other, they playfully “boogied” a little while the wonderful Philadelphia Orchestra played behind them. No big girlfriend hugs but, still, really very amazing considering the depth of political divisiveness that exists in our world today.[SIGNUP]

I got to thinking about just why it is that we all can’t seem to get along, as a nation, as a community or even as neighbors. My friend Alice (her name has been changed to protect her flower beds and her car paint) is embroiled in a humdinger of an argument with her next-door neighbor. They live in adjoining townhouses, his being the last unit on the end. Because he has the last unit, he enjoys the common area to the side of his home. This Condo Commando, however, has decided to treat this space as his own private lawn and will not allow anyone to access the woods that lie beyond his personal Gaza Strip. That means that the dog-walkers, of which Alice is one, are literally up shit’s creek without a poop scoop.

Why? I mean why can’t people just get along? Condi and Aretha found common ground. Why can’t Condo Commando find a solution that doesn’t piss off all his neighbors and yet give him the undeserved privacy that he wants?

Alice has hired a lawyer. Condo Commando has planted trees and shrubs and the entire complex is eyeballing each other like the Hatfields and the McCoys. Maybe if Alice pumped some Aretha out into the yard and went outside with her groove on, her neighbor might give her some r-e-s-p-e-c-t. They might end up dancing their differences away while the poor pooches sneak past on their way to the woods for a little bathroom break.

Condi and Aretha would be so proud of them.