One of the things about touring with a band – as a newbie – which I am – is that you don’t know the rules. There’s a protocol, a flow, an etiquette that’s completely unwritten.
Everyone just knows …
… except me.
And since everyone just ‘knows it’ they can’t tell me what it is – until I do it wrong. So I’m constantly blundering onto people’s toes. Being where I’m not supposed to be when I’m not supposed to be there. Doing things I ‘should know better’ than to do. I really should! It’s all totally clear once I see it. I just don’t see it until I’ve stepped on it.
To everyone else it’s all obvious, common sense and good manners. So I come across as rude or disrespectful when I’m simply clueless.
It’s painful being an idiot, especially at high levels of functionality, where you can really magnify your idiocy without even trying.
So I was in my hotel room today, licking the wounds I’ve inflicted on others when a link to this video popped into my inbox. A video of a little girl — with a message for me playing her version of a song I wrote.
Ten notes in, I was in tears.
Every imperfection in her playing is perfect. Every stumble is a balm, and her kiss at the end says to me: I know you. You, too are still learning. You, too, are stumbling, imperfect and earnest. We, two, are the same and that … is wonderful.
You never know what profound comfort your own performance can bring – when you’re suddenly in the right place at the right time for somebody. When you make that time and place right for someone – simply by reaching towards them.
Today that somebody was me. And this message arrived with perfect timing.