This morning it appeared as though we had escaped the rain for the past week. Instead of being greeted by the now-typical patter of rainfall, I was instead woken by a phone call from my beautiful fiance, who had the advantage of being three time zones ahead of me. She is spending today at a wedding for her high-school friend Vanessa. She took some well-deserved time off to go home, but I wasn’t able to go with her. I was stuck here in Seattle. The sky was clear, the birds were singing. After her phone call, I got in the shower and I started singing, probably scaring those birds right away.
See, I usually sing in the shower. And I’m not just a hummer. I belt out the tunes, try different harmonies, think of rhyming couplets, whatever. At this point it’s just habit - I can’t even remember what I was singing when I get out, but it’s quite possible that my neighbors do. I’ve been thinking lately that besides these little morning renditions, there’s not a whole lot of music in my life. Not the kind I make anyway. And I don’t have an iPod or anything fancy like that - I am still convinced that the iPod is overpriced.
I used to play the trumpet, but it’s been a long time and besides, I don’t have a trumpet. A few years ago I tried to pick up the harmonica. I got some self-taught lessons and made a go at it, but frankly, the harmonica has its limitations. It’s just not that fun. It’s great to belt away at, but it is not a complete instrument - you can’t play melodies on it, not many anyway. So to make up for this shortage, today I decided to buy a guitar.
I rented a car and drove all over Seattle, from the Guitar Center to the Guitar Emporium to Dusty Strings. Most places were high-end guitars, but I ended up getting a pretty good deal for $200 at Guitar Center. The salesman was pretty cool - he taught me a few cords in the store.
I remember back when my dad first got his guitar, and we made plenty fun of him. I thought of guitars as a young person, rock musician kind of thing, and the idea of my dad being that cool sort of scared me. I guess that was so many years ago. Although I do remember Carrie, Scott and me sitting in my parents bedroom singing “Leaving On a Jetplane” while my dad struggled through the chord sequence. Every time he’d mess up, we’d get frustrated but keep on singing anyway.
Most recently, my little sister Norabegan playing guitar. She is already a super genius with the piano and the french horn, and she decided to pick up Yet Another Instrument and conquer it. She took her guitar camping a few weeks ago, and played a few campsongs for us. Most twelve-year-olds would probably be bashful, maybe not want to play in front of their whole extended family, but Nora really didn’t care. And she’s really good! I asked her afterwards if she found it tiring playing piano AND guitar AND french horn, but she said “This is the most fun EVER!”. I took that as a resounding endorsement, and decided I wanted in on some of that fun.
My sore fingers and I are getting in on the fun. It’s my “Nicole-is-in-Miami-so-I’ll-play-the-lonely-musician” weekend, I guess. I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll be hearing “Leaving on a Jetplane” coming from my very own basement.