Dominic and I wandered into a music store yesterday. He needed to buy some strings for his guitar and also his boss's guitar, whose strings he broke a couple of weekends ago at a party. This is the same party where Dominic's boss's wife also succeeded in getting me totally drunk off beer in the presence of small children and, oh yes, Dominic's boss. I mean, she kept opening them up right there in front of me and telling me to drink up and what was I supposed to do; it was his boss's wife
...but I digress.
When we entered the music store I went straight for the clarinet reeds, in particular the Vandorens
because my dorky high school band nerd heart still loves a good size 4 reed that isn't a Rico
because Ricos are for the nail-painting, gossiping, third part-playing auxiliary members in the back row who think it's okay to play a 2 1/2 reed because they don't have to blow as hard, or--better yet--they can just pretend to play because it's not like they know their parts anyway. Do you know why high school bands have so many clarinet players? It's because the only sounds you're hearing are coming from the first row and maybe half of the second, and if you hear anything at all from the third row it's gonna sound like the equivalent of smelling rurnt cheese, and that ain't pretty (hi Audra
But to get on with what I'm trying to say, it's almost hard for me to believe this now, but there was a point in my life when I was playing the clarinet every day, and I was playing well.
But now I wake up and carry on with my life and I never once see a musical note or think about a piece of music or practice a scale or prepare myself for an upcoming concert. I'm not a musician anymore, and even though I'll always argue that if I was ever a musician at all I was a pretty shoddy one, I'll also let you know that I did play music once, and I was as accomplished as anyone running off sheer maniacal practice and false bravado could be, and I liked it.
Lately, I've been having these dreams, dreams of nostalgia and regret where I'll be trying to play my clarinet but I can't because my reed is so ragged and broken the only sounds I make are heinous squeaks. Of course there was that one dream I had where I came in mid-season and challenged and beat out a lot of people from their chairs and ended up on first part. Oh wait, that wasn't just a dream. I did that once. When I was fifteen. It was so totally dramatic. Kristy D_ threatened to beat me up after school for separating her from Caroline N_ because I challenged Caroline for her chair. And won. Oh, I was such a cold-blooded bitch.
Anyway, these dreams. They've made me feel nostalgic and a little lost, like I need to go back and revisit a part of myself I may have never been ready to give up. So I bought a couple of reeds. They were Ricos after all because those are the only reeds the store sold separately, and like I'm going to pay 20 bucks for a whole box of fancy-pants Vandorens when in all likelihood I'll just loose interest in playing my clarinet next week. Again. So I took the reeds home and broke out ye old and slightly-worse-for-the-wear clarinet. The keys are dull and worn. My cork at the base of the lower section is still crumbling slowly away to its demise. My mouthpiece still smells disconcertingly like disinfectant and something you might pick out of the garbage (gross, I know). But I put my clarinet together, and lovingly gave it a little blow anyway--
AND MY CAT TOTALLY FREAKED OUT AND RAN LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL TO THE BEDROOM WHERE SHE HID IN THE CLOSET.
When I fished her out from under a shelf where she had taken refuge behind some hanging shirts and tried to demonstrate to her once more that it's a friendly clarinet--see, I just blow on it like this and make these notes here, and isn't that a pleasant sound?--she again ran like a bat out of hell and hid under our bed, where this time I couldn't drag her back out.
So I guess the truth has been revealed. After all these years, I finally know. I know that my clarinet playing scares the living hell out of small furry animals, and they will freak out like you are torturing them in the 7th level of hell. But I also know it's fun--playing my clarinet again. And scaring my cat. That's fun too.