Monday, December 16, 2013


December 16-

The advantage to being stranded at home in a mind-numbing cycle of sameness (can you tell I will be a mother who goes back to work?) is that every little shift in texture, every nub in the weave, looms large. 

Yesterday a very nice, baby-happy woman from church offered to sit so I could go to a concert.  So I went to the concert.  Never look a gift horse in the mouth, and all that.

(What IS a gift horse?  I imagine a worn-down jumper sporting giant bow.  Why would you want to look in this horse's mouth?  Why would you want to look in anyone's mouth?   Do you think there's going to be treasure in there?  When was the last time a pirate stashed his booty under someone's tongue?  Never.  That's when.)

But the concert: One of the most unfortunate side effects of becoming a professional musician is that you basically hate music.

This is an oversimplification, but it's tough -extraordinarily tough- to turn off the inner critic that you have so rigorously trained up in the service of becoming the best musician you can be. It's like going to a party and bringing along your grumpy Great Uncle Herbert who served in the Great War and finds every person and experience thereafter morally bankrupt.  The enjoyment other audience members so clearly experience as the holler and leap to their feet- well, it's lost on you and on Herbert as the pair of you sit there cataloguing mistakes and missteps, ticking off ways this or that thing could have been better.

In these situations, enjoyment requires a deliberate act of will. 

So I mustered it.  There are always elements to savor, even when those elements are surrounded by things that piss Herbert off.  Enjoying a concert is a small triumph, but it is a triumph.  I took Herbert home and picked up the baby and the three of us sat on the couch together, being quiet.


hana. said...

You have the inner music critic; I have the inner ballet critic. I remember going to see American Ballet Theater perform Romeo and Juliet in New York and being distinctly disappointed when three of the male dancers had their timing slightly off as they jumped together. And this was ABT! Oy.

Andrew said...

You probably actually know this, but the reason you look at horses mouths is because you can tell how old they are from their teeth.

- your friendly neighborhood librarian/pedant