The Power of Duos

This all started at my mechanic’s garage (transmission problems); I drive A LOT, back and forth between Toronto and Montreal. I have an old car, and we have a very close relationship. I’ve solved a lot of my problems with “her.” She’s heard me belting out Meatloaf and ABBA songs. She’s heard my crazy hyena-like laugh, and she’s also heard me cry. I’ve even named her. But transmissions, well, those are very expensive. 

In my mechanic’s office on his computer screen was a video for Britain’s Got Talent. The act was called Charlotte and Jonathon.

“Have you seen this audition?” he asks.

“No,” I respond.

“Oh, you gotta see this,” he says as he pulls out a chair for me.

This is a story about collaboration…

Charlotte and Jonathon are grade school friends, encouraged to enter the competition by their music teacher. Charlotte is beautiful and self-assured.  Jonathon struggles with his weight and is shy. He speaks of his damaged confidence, due to the way people look at him. Charlotte is quite protective of Jonathon. “Before you make a judgment, get to know him,” she says, wise beyond her sixteen years. Jonathon would never go on that stage without her.

But they’re partners, so out they go, together.

Judge Simon Cowell asks if they think they could win. Charlotte says, “Yeah,” with a shrug of her shoulders. Jonathon anxiously gazes downward, and shifts from side to side. 

There’s a bit of laughter in the rather ruthless audience, and pessimism abounds. At this point I’m thinking maybe their music teacher should have pushed them toward a local singing pageant instead of this world stage. Even Simon says, with a resigned look on his face, “Alright, good luck then.”

What happens next is pure magic. It really is the stuff of which dreams are made.

The music starts, an aria, ‘The Prayer’.  Now, my favourite part of this entire clip is what occurs during the first five seconds, before they begin singing.  Palpably nervous, Jonathon jumps the gun and starts early. He looks to Charlotte and she lifts her arm, just a little, as if to say, it’s alright, we’re still good here. He stops. She smiles at him in a calming and reassuring way. And then, his eyes roll right back, and he’s gone, for good this time, and you know he’s not coming back until that song is over. What I mean by gone is that he’s out of his head and he’s not thinking about anything anymore.   There are no judges, no audience, nobody else in his world right now, except Charlotte. When they finish, Jonathan is visibly shaking. Not from nerves, though. It’s very empowering when you stand in who you are and take ownership of yourself and that moment. But here’s the thing: he couldn’t have done that without Charlotte.

“Wow, wow, wow, wow,” says a now beaming Simon. “Charlotte, you’re good.  But Jonathon, you’re a future star.” 

Jonathon’s face is filled with pure joy and hope, and perhaps a bit of disbelief. Charlotte smiles alongside him.

“I wonder,” says Simon, “is Charlotte going to hold you back”?

The crowd hushes; there is a pause from Jonathon. Will he improve his chances and move forward without her?

“Well, we’ve come on here as a duo…and we’re going to stay as a duo,” Jonathon responds.

The now approving crowd, goes crazy with thunderous applause.

The show is over, the audience is gone, the lights are dim, and they’re walking down a set of stairs. Charlotte wraps her arms around Jonathon and says, “Do you think it could be life changing?” 

Jonathon quietly says, “Life changing. Yeah.”

Duos. It’s an intriguing concept. As part of a duo, you are somewhat defined by another person. Yet, that other person enhances your character and talent, as you do theirs. Your strength could be their weakness, but together, a duo is an amalgamation of the best attributes that both people bring to the stage, court, arena, podium, camera or family. You instill a belief in one another. You look out for, care about, and support each other. You know when to push, and you know when to back off. You trust. You are there for your partner; unquestionably and undeniably. And isn’t that what life is about? No man is a rock. No man is an island. We need each other to realize who we are, to fulfill our potential, to propel us forward. We exist because of others.   

Charlotte and Jonathon. Lennon and McCartney. Abbott and Costello. Bill and Melinda Gates. Ron McLean and Don Cherry. Rev. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. Bonnie and Clyde. Knight Rider and (his car) Kitt. 

Which brings me back round to my car, Madge.

I decided to have a new transmission installed; we’ve got a good thing going and I don’t think our driving days are remotely close to being over.

Here’s the clip, take a look if you have a moment. And turn it up real loud.