“Right here, man — these are probably the best days of your life. This is as good as it gets.” — Said, a teacher to me once, over a year ago — as he hovered over me, with his eyes digging into my left hand as it shivered over the neck of my bass. It scared the living shit out of me — and I am not one to be easily frightened. Now that I think about it, it was probably closer to two years ago. Step aside, Mr.Nolan, if you want a real idea of time dilation — forget Gargantua and try Berklee on for size.
I remember the day he said that to me. The streets were covered with slush from the week before. The afterthoughts of an onslaught of snow, which left the city draped in white. It was pristine. ‘Was’ being the operative term. My mood that morning, reflected much the same.
I walked into the class with the black of my case and my clothes speckled in white. I would have given anything to be anywhere else that 9am morning. It was more than a year ago, but I do remember that.
I would have given anything to be spared from the scrutiny that made that class what it was: A regular public undressing for a bass player. Everything was wrong — and nothing about me was right. “Watching this rhythm section play — it’s a little bit like watching Ray Charles trying to drive a car. It’s not pretty and nothing good is going to come of it.”
I’d like to believe things are slightly different now. Better things have been said and predictably, my skin has grown thicker.
With a mild digression, now that I think about it, I remember most things with vivid detail. I remember lunches and dinners from when I was five and I remember PTA meetings from when I was ten. I could tell most people I know what they were wearing the first time I met them, and in all likelihood, I could write them out a word for word script of everything they said to me when I did meet them.
I honestly remember much more than I want to.
Like everything happened yesterday.
I remember my grandfather trying to teach me how to swim in a bathtub — and I can safely now say that I fully sympathize with his frustration at the time — and I understand the same frustration arose from a unique combination of his own inability to swim — and my inability to float; the latter of which, I have still not been able to overcome. I was also easily distracted by the sound of aeroplanes. This did not help our cause at the time.
Anyway, I’ll swim a mile in half an hour for you, but don’t ask me to float. I just don’t have that sort of composition and I’ve never been that big on hot air.
It puts an interesting spin on things though — it’s easier to see patterns in your life when you remember them — and it’s a little remarkable the extent to which a lot of us spend time moving in loops. Life becomes much easier when you stop punishing yourself for it, though.
Maybe some of us are just meant for different things; A few of us — for happiness and stability — and the rest of us, for motion — and I leave it at that adjective.
I’m quite certain, however, that I’ll recall this with great vividness in a few years.
Afterall, this is as good as it gets.