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Sunday, June 1

Downbeat

You all know I’m “with the band,” but I am also with the band. When people ask me what instrument I play I have to say that I don’t and that’s true. So how was I in band? Well, because my very smart and talented fiancé was the band President both his junior and senior year of college and so therefore I became the band First Lady. Because I majored in music, they let me join and put me in back with the percussion instruments. From that day forward I became known as the first chair triangle.

This past weekend we had an alumni event and for weeks I have been a complete mess over it. Why? Because I’m stupid. Because I have too much going on at work and home. Because that’s what I do best. I stressed over what I would wear, imagining bumping into the ghosts of ex-boyfriends past and shocking them with my new look. I’d bat my eyelashes and they would curse the day they broke up with me. Trust, me I am over a hundred percent certain I ended up with the right guy but hey, we all want a little revenge envy, don’t we? Well, none of that happened because the damn bastards didn’t have the balls to show up (or they were busy, whatever) and  I was spared the embarrassment of how I thought it would go in my mind and how it probably would go with me tripping over a trombone case.

Getting a good shot of us dressed up was equally important. I don’t do all that primping for nothing and I haven’t felt good about myself in a picture for so long I would have taken fifty to get a good one. A comment was made that I have the most couple pictures anyone has ever seen on Facebook. And your point is?

I was also nervous about just playing in the band at all. It has been years since I have performed anything, and they didn’t give us the music ahead of time. We ran through the piece two times before the concert. My husband has been buzzing his lips in a spare mouthpiece for weeks, but hasn’t taken his damn instrument out to practice once since Obama has been in the white house. It’s a little easier to fake playing a triangle than fake playing a trombone and I just wanted everything to go smoothly. I didn’t want the college kids or our old professor to think we were jokes. I didn’t want the other alumni to show us up with their well-practiced embouchure.  Again, why do I care about these things?? Because I do, I can’t help it. Because I am the damn First Lady of band at North Central College and I have a reputation to uphold.

It ended up not only being fine but actually very anti-climactic. My husband (did I mention he was smart and talented?) played remarkably well for just cracking open his slide. Just like riding a bike. As for myself, it wasn’t an Oscar worthy performance, that’s for sure, but I did get the kid playing the marimba to tap his foot with me since the endless measures of repeats were making me lose count.

Afterwards, I never wanted a beer more in my life. The people we were with wanted fro yo. A joke was made about how people don’t change and how even back then we wanted a drink while they wanted dessert. What ended up happening is that we went for the ice cream with them and then went out by ourselves after. We refuse to be the old people just yet and we wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous nightlife we miss so much. Sitting outside in the fresh air people watching you see and hear a lot of things and you remember where you fit into the picture.

Where Brad and I fit in is somewhere unique to only us. We are in our thirties but are still the same college kids from the quad. We are telepathic. We play by our own rules. And so we talked about how lucky we were to still be happy. Crazy, I know. Sitting under the same sky we first met so many years ago, and still happy. If you ask me it is just a matter of divine intervention. I prayed and he came. The end.

Brad has his own ideas of how it all goes down. Not one for ever using any valid analogies (the poor guy thinks Catcher in the Rye is about baseball) he proceeds to say he thinks it’s because he and I are just like the Ancient Aliens. He then continues to go on about some bullshit having to do with physics and how somethings are just about conventions…but WE, like the goddamned Ancient Aliens, know how to manipulate those rules of physics into something that actually works. I looked around to see if we were on The Big Band Theory hidden video but all I saw was him. The man I loved, albeit drunk. The man that stood by me on that stage tonight and made beautiful music with me.


The President of Band. And I’m his First Lady.

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