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Emily Grossman

Sanity is a Thread that Hangs by a Treadmill

November 29, 2011 at 9:47 AM

"Augh, I'm so extremely frustrated right now." I mumbled as I reached for my student's notebook. Having just played a section of her assignment for me, she stepped back, obviously discouraged. Quickly, I clarified, "No, no, not you at all. Sorry!" I moved my focus back to my last lesson of the day and tried to forget about what lay ahead in the schedule.

Earlier last week, I received the annual preliminary pit rehearsal email from Tammy. Monday, 6:30. Tammy and I had made an agreement last spring--shook on it, mind you--that I would play for her musical if she would rehearse the Khatchaturian clarinet trio with me. Here it was, nine months later, and she hadn't yet held up her end of the bargain. I replied to her latest email with another gentle prodding--a little, shall we say, threat? No Annie unless we rehearse Khatchaturian. I wondered if she would call my bluff; after all, the pit is my family, and you can't just not be part of the family. She responded with a list of possible get-together times. I told her that I taught until 6:30 this Monday, so it might not work out for this first run-through. "Maria teaches until 6:45 and is coming over after..." she replied. Ugh, if Maria Allison can do it, then of course I gotta do it. I rounded up my gym bag before the teaching day started so I could hit the treadmill on the way home from rehearsal.

As the day wore on, it was obvious to me that my new-found left-handed-boot-camp progress would be completely undone if I had to jump in and sight-read a bunch of new music at a rehearsal. I'd have way too much to think about to concentrate on keeping my tension-free form. Moreover, I'd made an adjustment to my left hand shape, and my little finger buddies were still getting used to their new housing. I needed more time for things to settle.

I certainly needed more time for dinner. While the car warmed up, I threw together an egg muffin sandwich and tossed it down my throat while rounding up my gear. Four miles to town, and then ten miles over to Kenai Central High School. As I pulled up, I noticed the parking lot lay dark and empty. Shoot, did I even stop to read where this rehearsal was taking place? I trudged back over to Soldotna and out to the Skyview high school. Silly me... Even sillier, the Skyview band room lay dark and empty. Grr. Where was everyone? My anxiety and frustration came to a head. Slamming into the car once more (which, happily, had finally warmed up), I noted that if I'd had a pint of ice cream right about then, I probably would have sat there in a sulk and eaten the whole thing. But no, we will do the right thing and go to the gym. (I speak of myself as "we" so as to include my faithful finger buddies.)

The girl at the desk always gets to hear about my day. She's nice enough to give me her ear, and I usually offer mine in return. "Maybe you can still make part of your rehearsal," she offered. "Do you want to use our computer to look at that email?" Curious, I checked. And read: KCHS. "Kenai Central? I was there! The lot was empty!"

"Did you check the back lot?"
"Back lot?!" %&*$@

It's like they were all hiding from me.

I jumped on the mill and settled into an easy, tension-burning pace. My latest copy of Runner's World had enough mindless articles to allow me to escape while my body released the day's angst. Time passed, even without my steady eye. By the time I finished, I felt completely refreshed.

And people wonder why I insist on making time for the gym.


From marjory lange
Posted on November 29, 2011 at 6:39 PM
Oh, I feel your pain! I've done that in a town where the two possible rehearsal sites are 1/2 hour apart (and it's a 45-min. drive from my home in the first place) and no one will answer their cell phone to set me straight.

But--the bright side: you didn't have to upset your boot-camp digital gains.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 30, 2011 at 4:01 AM
Yeah, I know, I was kinda glad about that. Would've been nice to see people again, though.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on November 30, 2011 at 10:58 PM
Aargh, I feel your pain. A flutist for the Bach cantata we were rehearsing last night showed up at 9:20 for a 9:00 rehearsal. Why, she explained breathlessly, she had been at another rehearsal first and then left and driven to the wrong church--the church where we rehearsed the Brahms Requiem last week, and which also has the word "Park" in its name. Poor woman, that easily could have been me. I was just sure about this particular church because it is 5 minutes from my house and I am always psyched when rehearsals are there!
From Emily Grossman
Posted on December 1, 2011 at 3:33 AM
It takes a certain amount of courage for me to walk into a rehearsal late. On days that I'm forced to be late because of lessons, it is so difficult for me to summon the strength to open the door while everyone's playing and looking at me.
From marjory lange
Posted on December 1, 2011 at 10:07 PM
Last night one of the 6 1st violins came in over 1 1/2 hours late to a 2 1/2 hour rehearsal. He was very welcome. (We couldn't watch him come in and play at the same time, btw). It's so much easier to get the job done when everyone is there--better late than never. You can't see the relief on your colleagues' faces when you are the one coming in.

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