Thursday, December 30, 2010

Expecting the Unexpected

As 2010 draws to a rather mellow close, I'm enjoying the soothing peace. For a change.

But I know that expecting the unexpected is a way of life in this busy world we attempt to function in, so I can't help but wonder a bit about what surprises 2011 has in store.

I'm reminded of the night a few weeks ago when I agreed to play the piano at a wedding. Now I don't really play much any more ... actually NONE ... since I stopped teaching private piano students three years ago, so I was a smidge nervous about this prospect. It was a small wedding and the bride wasn't at all picky about her music, so I suggested four classical pieces, which she readily agreed to.

So I diligently brushed up on those specific pieces - Pachelbel's Canon in D, Beethoven's Ode to Joy, Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and Beethoven's Fur Elise - for several weeks. Altogether, they were designed to last about 15 minutes before the bride was to appear at the door, cuing me to launch into "Here Comes the Bride."

Cool beans. No worries, mon.

Then came the big night. The bride's sister (the only family member able to attend from Haiti) was delayed at the airport at the last minute so the 7:00 wedding was switched to 7:30. Finally, at 8:00 when she still hadn't arrived, and the guests and I had become thoroughly bored staring down one another, I was told to "just begin playing - she should be here any minute and we'll start the bride down the aisle at approximately 8:15." 

So I played. And I played. And I played. All my prepared music. Then I went through them again. And again. I had no other pieces with me and heaven knows whatever I'd memtorized during my early years had long since evacuated to higher ground.

I finally had to stop due to hand cramps after completing Canon in D for the FOURTEENTH time. Honestly. I ain't funnin' ya. I considered Chopsticks and Heart and Soul as time-fillers, but decided against it. I think if I ever see Canon in D again I'll rip out my very last three hairs.

I felt like cheering when the bride finally appeared at the back door, giving me the thumb's up. I attacked "Here Comes the Bride" with the zeal of a freshly pardoned convict.

So unforseen things happen from time to time, and we are called upon to dig deep to deal with them. Gracefully. It's easy to deal with them like spoiled little brats - my personal forte, but much harder to act like a grown-up. I've been told that once you're in your 50's you're expected to be that level.


So here's hoping your New Year will be peaceful and calm and uncluttered with Canons that never stop.

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