Saturday, February 03, 2007

being young, being dumb

“Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
What life is, you who hold it in your hands”;
(Slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
“You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
And smiles at situations which it cannot see.”
I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea."

i was out in the hallway at the college, when I heard someone ask,
"Where do they teach guitar?"
A faculty member pointed the student to room 113.
I kept on walking to my destination (hoping to avoid).

Returning, said faculty informed: "Someone is looking for you."
That never bodes well.

The young gentleman had the uniform of the well-dressed metal-grunge-rock musician, complete with very long hair that calculatingly covered one eye.
The dude explained that he was in a band (big surprise there) and that he had been playing only a few months, but he wanted to learn....
With an appropriate level of courtesy, inserting the proper acknowledgements, my ears were tuned in as I handed him a syllabus.
"You learn to read music in this class."
"Yeah." This always seems to slow their course of enthusiasm. I condense the course of his discourse:
"Playing well ......but reading music, now that's hard...can I play your guitar?"

My dear fellow-he does not know what he asks. It would be better for you if you had asked my wife to dance with you-right in front of me. To ask to play my guitar? Only someone with no civility or someone very young would ask such a thing.

I avoid saying what I am thinking and tell him that I would love to hear him play, but there is a lesson to teach right now. Could he come back later? No, that isn't possible.

I smile. We exchange civilities, talk about next semester and he asks again. As if to say, once I hear him play, then what? There is a person waiting for their lesson. it is rude to keep him waiting. This is not a tense situation nor uncomfortable. This guy is just clueless-he doesn't mean harm. He's just young and dumb. He left and the day went on without a hitch.

I told my wife the story. "You were like that once. He just wanted to play for you to impress you." True.

But I was probably worse.

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