A Memory

I think it was the summer before my junior year in high school that I didn’t really put much effort into playing the trumpet… I had played since sixth grade, and had never had to work too hard to have a good sound and play decently.

At this point, I think I had taken it a bit too much for granted, and so practicing had dropped quite low on my list of activities the summer before junior year.

I had also just spend a chunk of the summer studying in Spain, so my focus was more on Spanish – a subject I did not study in school – than on preparing for August chair placements for band.

My brother picked me up from the audition/chair test – he was an alum of the school, and so had spent a bit of time looking around while we were doing the test – and drove me on his motorcycle to a dance class.  I wasn’t taking the dance class, but I was working the welcome desk for it, in exchange for a free group class of my choosing later on… I also had the added benefit of watching this class happen, and learning from the seated sidelines.

Basically, I was focused on doing my best to live frugally with dance, because I was all too aware of my family’s financial situation – well, my mom’s side, anyway… my dad’s was a different story, but I functioned with the mind of one with extremely limited funds, so that’s why I was spending hours of my time working the welcome table at dance classes, in exchange for a ten-dollar class…

Anyway, so I rushed from the chair test to the dance class, loving the first ride on my brother’s motorcycle – while simultaneously being terrified(!) – and had asked a classmate to send me a text message with the results, when they came out in another ten or so minutes.

I was placed absurdly low in terms of capability…, and it hurt my spirit a lot.

But, I imagine, it was entirely valid based on the amount of practice I had put into it all.

I had begun this with a certain incident in mind, but I am not wondering if that incident was even that year… I am beginning to think it was the following year, my senior year, that this incident happened…, but I’m really not sure.

I shall continue with the incident, nonetheless…

So, I was placed after this one kid, who had become a semi-distant friend of mine.  We sat side-by-side five mornings a week for 45 minutes, and chatted here and there, so we were comfortable with one another’s company, but we didn’t spend time together outside of band, right?

Anyway, I had liked being in the Jazz Band, and you had to be placed so high in the count of trumpets in order to be included in the Jazz Band each year.  I had placed one below what was included in Jazz Band membership.  So, I initiated a challenge.  The two band directors each picked a selection of our current music, and told us to prepare to play those and any two scales that they would say at the challenge.

The day of the challenge arrived.  I played beautifully for the selections, and my sound quality was stellar.  The guy had incredibly powerful sound, though with a very odd and un-musical edge to it all, as usual.  The scales they selected, naturally, involved playing really high… something which I was not great at doing, but that usually didn’t matter at our area in the chair placements (higher notes for higher chairs), and I could play the ones that popped up in our music… what’s more, this kid and I played off the same sheet and stand, meaning the only difference, if I were to win the challenge, would be that we would switch chair spots, and that I would be in Jazz Band when it started up, but he would not be in it.  In terms of performance in the band, nothing would change.  Nonetheless, they picked scales that were hard for me, and I made the decision to play beautifully for a single octave, instead of iffily on the second octave… one I had been taught by the band director himself.

We had assigned ourselves the letters of A and B.  When the challenge finished, the directors came out from behind the wall, an area from which they had not been able to see us during the challenge.  They told us that player A had won, and who was that?  The guy wasn’t quite sure which letter he had been, and so looked to me questioningly for help.  I, processing much more than the result of the challenge, informed him kindly that he had been player A, and so nothing was changing with our chair rankings.

What was I processing?

Well, the way the band director had delivered the news… He had put on an air of unknowing, as though he hadn’t known who player A and player B had each been.  I had only been on the planet a teen number of years, and had minimal musical training,  – he had had probably more musical training than I had had in years of life itself – yet I could tell the difference in almost every player in our band, especially the trumpet players.  And he played trumpet, too, so I knew that he knew each of our individual sounds.  Especially between this guy and myself, the identification was easy… even for someone who had never heard us beforehand, one could accurately guess whose sound was which.

So, I knew the band director knew who had won… yet he pretended not to know, to be utterly unaware of who had been which player… It felt like he was proving a point to me, that I needed to practice more… no matter how good of a sound I had, if I didn’t improve further, I couldn’t even beat the nice guy with a weird sound.  I had taken lessons from the band director during my freshman year, but had been able to manage on my own eventually, and so we did not continue the lessons after a while.  For me, no matter what his intentions were, his pretended ignorance of who had one the challenge was like a slap in the face and a terrible scolding… I was embarrassed and somewhat heartbroken.

I had let someone else down, too…, not just myself.  I knew that he had wanted me to be in a higher chair placement, and that he had wanted me to be in Jazz Band.  But he was not going to let me do that without putting in a lot more effort.

Again, that is all my own interpretation at the time.

But it still holds about the same, looking back on it all today.

The irony of it all, however, is that, when Jazz Band started up that year, the band director casually upped the number of trumpets in Jazz Band… by one player.  So, I ended up in Jazz Band, anyway.

The following year (Or the year after that, depending on which year this had all been during), I ranked even lower in the chair placements at the end-of-summer chair test.  After several weeks of Jazz Band rehearsals, someone was sent one day to bring me into Jazz Band… so, I ended up in it then, too.  I was clearly good enough for Jazz Band – I even practiced that music, including when I didn’t really need to practice it, because that music came so naturally and easily for me – and the band director agreed with that sentiment enough that he kept letting me be part of it, even though I didn’t ever do well with the whole ‘practice on your own over the summer’ thing.  During the school year, I was always fine, and I always got A’s on my playing tests at grading periods.  It was when there wasn’t a concert or performance coming up, and I wasn’t surrounded daily by musicians and music that I struggled to practice and perform well.

I’m not entirely sure what brought all of this up today… I am reading a book about poetry that was recommended to me as a novelist/writer, because it is supposedly applicable to all forms of writing (which, the author even says this in the book, and it seems so far to be entirely true…, but it makes me want to write poetry now, too!).  Something in that got me thinking, and somehow sent me to that memory moment of embarrassment after the chair challenge with that guy.  I wonder if he even remembers it… if any of them do.  Clearly, it had some significance for me… whew…

Anyway… I’ll let that muse in the background, while I move on to other things in my day now. 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Embarrassment by Inbox

The other day, I received what I thought was a final effort from the laser hair removal place to advertise their extended Black Friday sales.

I didn’t fully read the subject line, since only the beginning shows up on my phone without opening the actual e-mail, but I saw the sender, and so opened it to see if their Cyber Monday piece to their Black Friday sales was anything worth noting.

I scrolled down, searching for the expected pricing options, but couldn’t find any… the e-mail wasn’t making any sense, somehow.

Where were the Cyber Monday discounts I expected to see inside this e-mail?

I was processing what on Earth this e-mail was from the laser hair removal place for Cyber Monday and Christmas Presents….

I read the bottom piece first, and hen went tot he top of the screen to see if I could make sense of it all…

Like What does that have to do with hair removal….? Does the hair really make that big of a difference for people? And what does it have to do with having babies….?

I was completely lost in this e-mail.

I needed to start from the beginning again.

And then I scroll up to see this:

And then super sexy guy at the gym walks in the door, we look each other right in the eyes, and I feel like my face turns bright red.

I say hi to him, somehow able to talk, despite my brain still being in the middle of processing this whole e-mail thing, and simultaneously panicking that he definitely can read my mind and the e-mail currently showing on my phone, and he knows exactly what I’m contemplating at the moment (i.e. vaginas and babies and sex)…, even though he 100% has no way of knowing what I’m thinking unless I were to tell him, and he is too far away to see my phone.

I can’t bring myself to share with him the embarrassment I am feeling, and so I message my friend who gyms with me (and who, of course, knows how firmly I stand on the belief that this guy is the most gorgeous and attractive person I have ever known in real life), and tell her what has just happened.

She laughs at the part where the super sexy guy walks in, and then asks simply, “Is it the vagina steamer?”

I laugh something terrible in the inside, and tell her, “Didn’t even get that far,” because I didn’t, and she laughs once again.

Of course she knows all about this thing of which I had never even heard.

Typical. 😛

Haha

Eventually, I start smiling, as my embarrassment fades and my logic finally wins against my panicked insanity, and I finally can enjoy the hilarity of the situation, as opposed to only knowing it to be hilarious without actually feeling anything beyond panic and embarrassment. 😛

It was a good couple minutes, that was. 😀

Post-a-day 2019

First day of school nightmares

Walking onto campus this morning, I had a sudden concern that I was wearing the wrong clothing – it wasn’t actually our last training/in-service day, but, rather, the first day of school… and that meant that blue jeans were not welcome…

I thought really hard on it for a couple or few seconds, and determined that no, it was not the first day of school – the boys really are just dressed up to come take their photos for their school IDs and the yearbook; that’s why they’re here at all, even.

Phew!

What a relief that was to be clear on…

And it had me recall the idea of the horrible dream of showing up in a terrible outfit, possibly one akin to the Emperor’s New Clothes, or being late, and jus my generally being horribly embarrassed on the first day of school by getting something terribly wrong somehow… and how, as a teacher, that fear-filled dream never real goes away.

I still tend to have a nightmare-ish dream before the first day of school.

Typically, I forget the first day of school, and so show up way late and wearing the wrong clothes and utterly unprepared for classes, somewhat in a dual daze and panic…. this morning was almost the real-life version of that dream… fortunately for me and everyone else, it was not.

I’m curious as to what dreams will come tonight to me… we shall see… (probably, anyway, though we’ve no guarantee I’ll have any or will remember what I have)… 😛

Post-a-day 2019