The piano sat for a while, until I got a nice guy to come out and show me some chord progressions, some musicianship. Ultimately I couldn't justify the expense of regular lessons. The piano sat a bit more. I would go to it sometimes but I was too self-conscious to play, being the perfectionist and having too much pride where music is concerned doesn't help. The piano waited a bit more until it started to become a repository for all the stuff a house accumulates, paperwork, work hats, sunglasses, toys.
Finally the piano, I felt, started glaring at me. I know, it was really me, glaring at myself. The part of me that neglects my creative life, sure. I already have a whole other kit of musical stuff I'm neglecting! I don't need any more pressure!
It's days were numbered from then on. Finally I needed the space for my father's beautiful old desk, and I put the call out - and a friend is paying the price of transport. She has the piano now in her house, and her two kids played it when it arrived. I fervently hope they can form the habit of playing it with abandon every day. I'm not saying I'll never play, I'm saying this isn't the right time.
A much more subdued Dale arrives early in the morning, far less chatty than he was when he came last time, as if he somehow knows my naivety is gone. Again I know I must be projecting, but he looks at me with an "I told-you-so" expression. Maybe it's just- here we go again. Because what he knows is, most people don't understand pianos, how expensive they are if they are any good at all. To make you want to play them, they've got to sound good. As an audio engineer, I of all people should understand this, especially when it comes to the concept of getting what you pay for. The fact is, I didn't sufficiently enjoy the sound of the piano to get my hands on the keys repeatedly. It didn't sound honky and sour enough, and it didn't sound sweet enough either. As I watch Dale and his sidekick huff the piano up my driveway, I feel a pang. I close my eyes and picture all the piano movers across the country right now, moving mediocre pianos from house to house, being there at the beginning and ending the arc of hopes and enthusiasms slowly turning to resignation. Possibly it's not like that, but it's so easy to picture Dale and his buddy exchanging glances as they pull out of my driveway and trundle off to the new owner of this piano, waiting at home with a space cleared in the lounge room, in hopeful anticipation.