looked back and forth, from one to the other. "Harp. Hmmm. VW ...
Bug. Hmmm." He nodded, he stroked his chin. He screwed up his mouth,
he shook his head, he narrowed his eyes. And finally he said, "Yes.
This harp will fit in that car."
I said. "Hallelujia!"
only if you take out all the seats."
you can leave in the driver's seat."
took out all the seats. And, by gum, the harp DID fit in, and was in absolutely
no danger of sloshing about. On the contrary. "Snug" was the
word. A triumph of applied physics. Plus, it generally drew an admiring
that is how far I had come in my musical career when I first met Celeste.
I had not yet come up with my Grand Plan of being friends by starting
a band. That part of the story can't begin yet, because at that point
I was terrified to ask her to play with me. She'd been playing for many
more years than I had. She was an Expert. And I was a Beginner.
we were both equally bad at playing the piano.
asked her to play "Piano 4-Hands." We took "Piano 4-Hands"
versions of the great works of Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert and we would
play them at breakneck pace, accentuating the dynamics, dramatizing rhythms
and neither of us hitting even five percent of the correct notes. Beethoven
sounded like Charles Ives in our hands, Brahms sounded like Stravinsky
on a bad day. But we didn't care. The fun of playing with Celeste was
that, no matter how badly we played, no matter how cacophonous our music,
we always ended on the last note at the same time, a cadence of sudden,
unexpected consonance leaping out of utter musical chaos. And the surprise
and triumph of that consonance, the realization that we HAD been playing
TOGETHER all along would make us laugh so hard wed fall off
the piano bench.
that time, I began subbing with the Oakland Symphony. I was not a great
player, but I was very serious about counting. That meant that whether
or not I played the right notes, I came in at the right time, and thats
what got me hired.
the harpist I was subbing for, explained the union rules of harp moving:
By union law, a harpist is not allowed to move her own harp. Or his own
harp. It's not a gender thing. It's a union thing.
the other hand, she pointed out, the stagehands at the Oakland Symphony
absolutely hated moving the harp. So that, while I would be required to
have the stage hands move the harp, they would gripe about it the entire
proved to be true. All the way to the loading dock.
Next: The Charm of Fitting