I kind of hate what I am about to do, because no one hates the schmaltz more than I. I am not sentimental, really, not in a conventional way, and I hate anything that is purposely trying to make me cry. In fact, that sort of thing pisses me off. Above all, I HATE ANYTHING MOTIVATIONAL. Pep talks, web sites, positive thinking quotes and those stupid posters they sell on Skymall--I detest them with the power of a thousand suns. Ask the person who sent me encouraging platitudes EVERY DAY. I defriended his ass AND blocked him. Don't tell me to be positive. I'll be as fucking negative as I like, thank you very much.Yet here I am, about to write something that could be construed as any of the above. I beg you to NOT be inspired, NOT get teary. I am still the snarky bitch I always am, just a wee bit less snarky than usual. Maybe even nice. Maybe even happy.
I am waiting for my new bass to arrive. Not new, just new to me. It is a 1975 Fender Musicmaster, Olympic White that has aged to a creamy yellow, with most of it's original parts intact and it's original orange shag-lined case. And the big-ass tuning pegs, which were a must. I am looking for the UPS man like some sadly-single man awaiting his Russian mail-order bride. I have been afraid to leave the house all day, for fear that the five minutes it would take me to get a burrito would be the 5 minutes in which UPS Steve would arrive and find me gone. I vacuumed the whole house to keep myself occupied and away from the industrial size bag of M&M's I foolishly bought at Costco. I am as jumpy as an expectant father. And I say father, because having been an expectant mother, I was anything but jumpy. I was begging for the alien to be removed from my body.
When I started playing music, only a few years ago, I was at the breaking point. Kind of like a mid-life crisis, but more so; not just an "is this it?" feeling, but an "if this is it, i am going to kill myself" feeling. Exclusively raising my kids and all the complications and emotions and energy and stuff that came with it left me depleted of myself. There was no me. My wonderful children (and they are, I say that sincerely) had sucked the life out of me and left my bones to bleach in the sun. I thought if I didn't do something, ANYTHING, creative, I would literally disappear. Why I chose music, I am not sure, because I come from a musical family in which I am definitely NOT the musical one. But I did. I learned to play rudimentary guitar (i.e. G, C and D7, G and C done on single strings) in a Mommy and Me guitar class, got on the internet and learned a bunch more. I went to Ladies Rock Camp in Brooklyn and forced myself to sing in public. I came back and answered an ad on Craigslist, and met my beloved Joe,with whom I still play with to this day. Because I couldn't play barre chords or power chords, I wrote songs that I could play. And lyrics. I just did. I didn't think about it, knowing I would talk myself out of it, knowing I would retreat from this "musician" I was pretending to be. So I didn't think. And, slowly, I am becoming that musician, not a fake anymore exactly, but evolving into something real.
The bass is different, though. The bass is completely new. I can't rely on muscle memory right now to know where to put my fingers, I need to learn notes. I can't retreat into the background of the music, because the bass is vitally important. And I have already committed to playing bass in a band, when I don't know how to play. Because I am forcing myself to learn. Because I can. And I will. I am.
P.S. I got my bass. UPS Steve practically threw it at me and ran, I looked so crazed. The box looked impossibly narrow and small, kind of how I felt when I looked at my grandfather's casket at his funeral. Can a box that small really contain what it is meant to? And as I pulled off the bubble wrap, looking at the tweed-ish case with the ancient stickers (WHAT DO YOU DO IN CASE OF A NUCLEAR ACCIDENT. KISS YOUR CHILDREN GOOD BYE. STOP URANIUM MINING.) I knew it would be exactly as I hoped. I held it and it feels exactly right. Exactly.
P.P.S. You can go throw up now.