You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I have writer’s block. I’ve been trying to write this blog entry eloquently for the past 15 minutes, but I can’t even get past the first sentence. So please forgive my heavy-handed prose, I’m just here to state the facts.

One of my main “questionable character traits” (I prefer this term in lieu of “flaws”) is my lack of focus. Some people say this makes me unreliable. I say it keeps me alert. This week, I’m supposed to be working on #29 on my list (exploring), but I ended up working on #18 (spreading musical goodness to the masses) instead. Just by accident, I swear.

Wednesday night, after I found out that my beloved keyboard was no more, I went to my friend Gage’s house. He and his roomies have a potluck/jam session every Wednesday and there is always an interesting assortment of musicians: drummers, saxophonists, banjo players, guitarists, tromboners, washboardists, and on and on.

I’ve been a semi-frequent participant this semester, and when I go, I rock out on keys with a bit of vocals on the side. As far as singing goes, I think I’m not too shabby, but I’ll be the first to tell you that my piano skills are absolute shyte. As a result, I’m quite insecure, so I’m prone to sort of fade in the background and let the other guys take the lead (I’m usually the only girl that participates in the jam sessions, and I think that sometimes affects the dynamics of the group as well).

This week, however, there were more new musicians in the mix, and fewer people in general, so I had an opportunity to let loose a little bit more than normal. I’ll spare you the details. In summation: woot! Good fun! Definitely helped me get over my keyboard-separation anxiety.

The next night, I ended up in front of yet another keyboard, playing and singing to whomever cared to listen. Thursday nights = Karaoke night @ Eastside Tavern. It’s kind of a hipster haven, but it has a comfortable feel to it. There’s always an interesting assortment of people. Anyway. Thursday night. Eastside. Karaoke. That was the plan, but when I showed up, it hadn’t quite started yet and I didn’t see any familiar faces, except my friend that is in charge of the Mighty Karaoke Operation, so I decided to go exploring(!!!) and wander the mean streets of downtown Columbia for a while to waste some time.

I ended up at Sapphire Lounge. I knew (and still know) absolutely nothing about the place, save the fact that a guy named Todd runs Open Mic Nights there on Thursday nights. He’s invited me to play a few times, but I’d never taken him up on his offer, until last night. When I wandered in, the place was almost empty and no one was playing. There was a beautiful keyboard set up on stage, so, after telling Todd the sad plight of my keyboard, he let me fiddle around with that one. It was pretty damn sweet, if I do say so. I think I was intimidated just being around it, at least, that’s what I’ll tell myself to excuse my pathetic piano skills. I decided to play ‘Let it Be’, easiest song EVER! and I still screwed it up. Oh well. Something good came of it all, because Todd invited me to sing with his band in the near future. Fantastic! We’ll see what happens with that.

I made my way back to Eastside, which, in retrospect, might have been a mistake. Usually when I go on Karaoke Night, I run into at least one person that I know. In fact, no matter where I go in Columbia, I’m bound to run into at least a semi-casual acquaintance. But this night? I had got no one, except Meredith, who was bartending, and Skip, who was busy working his magic as the karaoke DJ. I should’ve left, but I’d been looking forward to this all week and I’d promised Skip that I’d be there. We always sing Elvis’s “Suspicious Minds” together. It’s tradition, you know. So I stuck through it, tried to initiate some awkward conversation, and when that didn’t work, started drinking.

Blerg. I’m a little disappointed that I turned to alcohol so easily. Number one, I am super-broke right now; even a few cans of cheap-ass PBR are a luxury that stretches my poor little budget. Number two, I hate using alcohol as a social crutch. I didn’t start drinking until well after I turned 21, which means that I made it through three years of collegiate social situations completely sober…and I still survived! Imagine that. Not that it matters anyway. Alcohol doesn’t really affect my behavior in terms of social inhibitions (those are already naturally lowered or non-existent); it just gives me an excuse for my behavior, I suppose. Awkward conversations are slightly less awkward if you have a Bud Light in my hand, regardless if that bottle is empty or full, because people will write off your behavior as a result of your (apparent) intoxication. And you know, that’s really quite sad.

Anyway! Eastside! Karaoke! After a while, I decided to stop being a self-conscious little Nancy and just started enjoying the various performances without worrying about my status as a solo dork. And the performances were really great! A crowd sing-a-long of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”? Great! Channing Kennedy singing “My Sacrifice” sans various articles of clothing? Also great! (I’ve decided that he is magic. Pure magic.)

Again, details, bla bla bla. I sang Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (P.S. Love Crowded House! Love their newest CD! Yay!), Skip and I rocked out to “Suspicious Minds”, and a splendid was had by all.

So I did more music-ing than exploring this week, but I’m sure it’ll all even itself out in the end.

It all seems very strange though: the same week that I lose my keyboard forever is the same week that I’m uber-active in the musical realm.   When I first discovered that it had been stolen, I wondered if this was God’s way of telling me that it was time to let go of my silly dreams and start pursuing something other than music.

Now I’m starting to think that maybe it was a wakeup call to help me realize how much music really means to me.

Strange.

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