Posts Tagged ‘blues’

Music Moment: The Song Remains the Same — Nina Simone, “I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl”

March 3, 2010

Nina covers Bessie Smith.

Nina Simone – I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl


I want a little sugar
in my bowl
I want a little sweetness
down in my soul
I could stand some lovin’
Oh so bad
I feel so funny and I feel so sad


I want a little steam
on my clothes
Maybe I can fix things up
so they’ll go
What’s the matter, Daddy,
Come on, save my soul
I need some sugar in my bowl
I ain’t foolin’
I want some sugar in my bowl


You been acting different
I’ve been told
Soothe me
I want some sugar in my bowl


I want some steam
on my clothes
Maybe I can fix things up so they’ll go
What’s the matter, Daddy,
Come on save my soul
I want some sugar in my bowl
I ain’t foolin’
I want some sugar – yeah – in my bowl.

A few weeks ago, the o.g. babydaddy treated me and the kidlet to lunch at the Soosh Gardino. He and his wife are mysteriously on the outs this month, I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’ve been trying to be neutral and supportive. They’re not living together any more, though, so I’m not sure what to make of it all.

I drafted her a friendly and supportive Valentine’s card and left it at a place where I knew she had a gig that night; a few days later she wrote me thanking me but then added some surprising stuff about “needing time as newlyweds.”

This was confusing to me because I had just talked to kidlet’s father the day prior and he said in no uncertain terms that he would only take her back to avoid living with his mother … then the next day he phoned and I asked if they had patched things up and he said sort of, but not really, then the following week he said they had certainly not, and were still living apart, so like I said, I am just staying out of it. Because I truly don’t know what’s going on.

I wish there was a way for me to wave a magic wand or wish on some special star and make things perfect for both of us, but I don’t have those kinds of means at my disposal, and I have never been much of a great shakes at relationship stuff.

Apparently neither has the o.g.b.d., for which I can vouch at least during our time together lo five years ago, and also because he asked me abruptly on our way to the Gardino, “Can I ask you something? It’s bad.” He is in the habit of blurting things out so I wasn’t as surprised as I would’ve been with someone normal. I said okay and he asked me, “What happened? With your marriage?”

My stomach lurched but as my kidlet’s father and knowing he wants to support her and be able to be a sounding board for her anxieties and dreams just the same as I do, so why would I not arm him with all information possible in order for him to succeed?, I felt like he deserved a specific reply and not my usual shrug or head shake. I answered as best I could without going in to too many details, but as directly as possible because the o.g.b.d. has a lot of tics and one of them is a strong dislike of roundabout bush-beating. I’ve always thought that was a fair bugaboo and done my best to respect it. I wound down my short explanation as we pulled in to the lot of the Soosh Gardino by saying:


Woman as banquet.

“You know how it is.” (he does) “Growing up, people like us don’t plan on someone loving us, because that means letting them know us. I thought I could let someone in and it didn’t work out. For right now, I’m just not interested even at all in trusting another person, not like that. The jury is out for me on the human race.” He made a tsking sound and started to shake his head, and I held up my hand and said, “Just for now. We’ll see. But maybe I was right, all those years; maybe I am supposed to just be alone.”


Still from Pierre le fou.

I had just parked and killed the engine so I was able to look him in the eye when he suddenly grabbed my hand. He said urgently, “No. Beth — don’t say that.” This is not a story about how I got back together with the o.g.b.d., or how there is still some unwritten chapter about us. I just realized that might be inferred.

That’s not at all the way of it. You don’t know him — everything he does is spontaneous, overemotional, and urgent. He can’t even brush his teeth without doing it slightly “off” like he is coming down off of heroin or flashing his eyes around like Rudolph Valentino. He’s an intense guy, that o.g.b.d. It was one of the things that attracted me so strongly to him when we were together: he is not like other people. He’s more vibrant. Like other people are watercolor and he is painted in oils.


Rudolph Valentino smoking a cigarette with probably much greater restraint than the o.g.b.d. might — less wild gesticulation and hair pulling — but the eyes are the same.

What this story is about is this: You are pretty low when your recently-split, moving-back-in-with-his-mother, hated-you-for-years ex feels sorry for you. I thought, “Wow. Maybe we are moving in to a new phase of our lives where he will be a good friend and confidante to me. That would be pretty unexpected and neat!”

After lunch, we went to a park and it turned out he’d been drinking sub rosa from a fifth of whiskey all day. I was kind of bummed that I’d thought we’d been doing so well and it might have not really been heartfelt on his half. Quelle surprise, I guess. I will never learn, it seems. I don’t want to sound pathetic, I just felt pretty stupid for thinking someone gave a crap about me.

I found this out when he took a hit out of the bottle in his pocket. In front of a bunch of kids. I said, “Um, no thanks, dude.” He said, “Oh, I know. I wasn’t offering. You’re driving.” He had me there: I was indeed driving. And it was a visit we were both in charge of. And he’d literally split from his wife the day before. And the day before happened to be Valentine’s. So I’m not going to judge or flip out unless it happens again. “Everybody gets one,” right, Spider-man on Family Guy?

The point is: Yep. Probably meant to be alone. At least for a good long while.

It’s lonely to want some sugar in the bowl, sure, but the trouble is it’s tough to tell the sugar from the rat poison. Better safe than sorry.