|Gene Krupa -- nourishing himself.|
I knew: It was Saturday morning. He was in his jammies. Cartoons were on. Sloth was calling.
I pointed out that he sometimes complains about going but always has a good time when he is there. He acknowledged this and grumpily pulled on his uniform. He went. He had a good time. He returned to glorious Saturday sloth.
While the boys were at karate, I stepped out in the the rainy gloom to load my drums into the car for that night's job. I was grumpy. I didn't want to leave the warm house to go out into the fog and drive for half of an hour to a crowded room where I would be until two in the morning. I wanted to stay home.
I looked up at the iron clouds as I loaded my bass drum into the car. My winter breath rose up toward them. To my surprise, the clouds slowly took the shape of my father (he's very much alive, by the way, but this is too dramatic to pass up) who looked down upon me and slowly shook his puffy-cloud head, little ribbons of cottony moisture twirling in wisps to disappear into the gray ceiling.
"Dad? What the hell are you doing up there?"
"Don't worry about it. What's your gripe?"
"I don't want to play tonight."
"Yes you do."
"No I don't -- wait. Seriously, how did you get up there?"
"I said don't worry about it. Anyway, you do want to play tonight -- you just don't want to drive, set up and break down. You know that once you get there, you will have a good time. You love playing the drums."
I grudgingly agreed.
"Okay -- I have to go," he said. "Your mother is calling me."
With one last dubious glance skyward, at the now-faceless sky, I finished loading the drums.
That night, I played. My mysterious cloud-father was as right as I had been with my advice to my son about karate. I enjoy playing drums. It was a good night, despite the fog and the drive and the set-up and break-down.
|Paint the fence. LAME! Karate? HUZZAH!|
...except when you're playing. For that time in-between the first four stick clicks and the last cymbal hit of the night, I know I'm in a good place. I'm a musician. Musicians make music -- not because they want to, but because they have to; because they need it the way other life-forms need daylight. That's the core of it.
Maybe many of us get lost in some un-articulated hope that the core of things will bleed out into the whole of things. Maybe we feel disappointed in our lives because we expect certain arrivals to be paradise when all we can really ever hope for are oases in the desert of reality. Let's face it: gardens of plenty don't grow in sand.
Sure, going to karate stinks. Being at karate is great. Going out to play drums stinks. Playing drums is great. All the peripherals of dream X stink. But that little spot where the lines of the letter X cross? -- that's the oasis.