28 July 2005

Brass in pocket

I was a band geek when I was a kid, and a pretty damn good one at that. By which I mean it was equally true to refer to me as both Band Member and Geek. I played the euphonium, which if you're not a member of the Glorious and Resplendent Order of the Band Geek, looks like this.

It's about half the size of a tuba. Sounds kind of like a mellow trombone, or like a smooth brass cello.

I had a pretty good natural ability at the thing, too. So much so that my mother, broke as she was, bought me a brand new Yamaha euphonium when I was a freshman in high school, mainly because I had recently become the youngest member of the local conservatory orchestra. I never really considered playing it for a living -- I knew perfectly well I didn't have the chops -- or the dedication -- for that. But I always swore I would not grow up to be one of those adults who used to play an instrument. Nothing, I thought at the time, would be lamer.

Then when I was a sophomore in college, still playing the horn and even paying for private lessons at the college a half an hour away because my college didn't have a low brass instructor, my beautiful Yamaha euphonium got stolen out of the storage area in the basement of my dorm.

I won't say I was devastated, because I don't remember feeling that way. At that time in my life I had an alarmingly cavalier attitude toward my possessions, and was prone to losing just about everything I owned. (This is why I only have two mix tapes from my youth -- luckily, one is my favorite.)

At the time, I liked to think that this attitude was due to my occupying a higher spiritual plane of non-materialism, but really I was just irresponsible.

So when my Yamaha went missing, I was upset, but I got over it very quickly. Those lessons were expensive, after all, and that half-hour bus ride was a pain in my ass.

It wasn't until years later that the dreams began.

At first, there would just be someone in the background of a dream playing a euphonium. Then someone walking down the street, playing the euphonium. This pattern progressed over the years until I reached the point where I would dream about getting the chance to play a euphonium just about once a month.

More recently, it's appeared as an antidote to my odd anxiety dreams. I'll be in the midst of a full-blown anxiety dream, and suddenly I'll walk into a room full of fifty or a hundred people playing the euphonium, and one of them will shove one into my hands and urge me to play. When I had another one of those dreams two nights ago, I woke up and said OK! OK! OK! I'll look on EBay for a fucking euphonium.

True to my word, I did, and I found one and bid on it. And today I won that auction, and for a remarkably low price.

The odd thing is that it is the exact same make and model as my stolen horn from long ago. Hell, for all I know it is the exact same horn, much-traveled. I'll think I'll make an effort to start believing that.

So in about a week I'll have my horn back, for the first time in fifteen years. Clearly, my psyche has been strongly urging me to reunite with it for some time.

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