Yesterday’s rehearsal was bad. Beyond bad. Let me clarify. My playing was beyond bad. Everyone else was just dandy. As the first violin, however, I anchor the group, and if the anchor isn’t set into solid ground, the whole boat drifts, no matter how sound it might be.
I had no focus. Passages that I’d played quite competently the day before confounded me, as if I’d never seen them before. My bow was all over the place. The more I played, the worse I got. After the first couple of times, I stopped apologizing. It was obvious that I was not going to pull it together. “I’m sorry” becomes both meaningless and annoying when repeated too often.
My son used to behave exactly the same way when he had a bad at-bat in Little League. He’d strike out and get upset and be that much more anxious for the next at bat, determined to succeed and destined to fail because his mind was still on the last time he stood at the plate. I would tell him to “flush it and move on.”
What an idiotic thing to say. Where do I come up with this crap? It’s like telling a dieter to “just eat less.” No wonder he gave me the death stare every time I said it. If I’m supposed to flush it, where’s the handle? Tell me.
Ironically, one reason I was out of sorts was my inability to flush something that happened on Saturday. So it’s like flush-it squared. I am very adept at holding on to things. It is my personal brand of crazy. My unfinished business will drag on me until I beat it off with a stick, and even then it pops back up when I least expect it.
I’d ask my son what strategies he’d used when I’d suggested he “flush it and move on,” but I suspect that answer would be silently wish for you to shut up and go away. I’m pretty sure this is why they ban parents from the dugout. It might be better if they muzzled us all and chained us to the bleachers.
Solutions, however, are everywhere around us, so I’m going to take the political approach. It wasn’t that I was playing terribly, you see. I made some unfortunate note choices. They weren’t wrong, per se, but I could have chosen better ones. Some notes were also taken out of context and misquoted. I played the right note, it just didn’t sound that way to your ears.
And if that excuse doesn’t work, I’ll flush it and find a new one.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph by Mike Lowell © 2008 Creative Commons