benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

Month: May, 2015

GHOST HUNTING  

It is rumored, that the mansion turned restaurant where I play, has ghosts.

 

And when the television show Ghost Hunters closed it to the public to film an episode, I had two days off to come to a chilling realization.

 

I do see ghosts.

 

Every song I play has special memory of the people who have sung with me, the people who have listened, the people who have taught me the right chord progressions; and of the people who have loved me.

 

Mostly though, I feel the spirit of my late partner telling me that I am talented and capable.

 

He encouraged me to pursue playing the piano professionally.

 

He said I was wonderful even when I knew I wasn’t.

 

What I do know is that in life or from beyond, people come to us for a reason.

 

We should therefore do the same to inspire and to be a light for others.

 

So maybe, I should stop telling guests who ask about these ghosts, that the only things haunting the mansion are the broken hopes and dreams of everyone who works there.

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PREACH.

A reality somewhat-star is seated on a busy Sunday night.

 

As a pastor on Oxygen Network’s series The Preachers of Detroit, his particular televised rant is that all the other cast mates spend way too much money on women.

 

Specifically, hookers.

 

And yet, here he is with an obnoxiously drunk and loud one.

 

This time though, adultery is amusing because this nonchalant act of pretense isn’t swagger, it’s schadenfreude.

 

Everyone is laughing.

 

From the maitre d’ to the matronly grandma at table 57, we all know she’s not his wife, we all know she’s not his mistress and we all know he’s definitely paying for it.

 

Adding to the many stones already being thrown, I whisper to my manager, “You know, Jesus hung out with prostitutes too – he just didn’t fuck ‘em.”

 

A server walking past overhears and starts laughing too.

 

Just then, a man comes up and puts a hundred dollar bill in my jar. He requests Piano Man. A song I never ever play because I hate it that much. This time though, I obviously cannot refuse.

 

As I start, I glance across the room and lock eyes with the pastor.

 

He smiles and nods.

 

Each of us whores in our own special way.

 

 

THE FEELING AFTER

I did not want to go to the gym today.

 

But I did and I had a great workout.

 

I did not want to go to work today.

 

But I did and I had a great time with everyone.

 

The message is presence.

 

Situations can change; people can change; feelings can change.

 

If I just show up.

EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSE’S

I was approached last night by a mother who introduced herself with this bit of sparkling rhetorical conviction:

 

“Do you know what you need? A singer. A beautiful, blonde girl who can sing.”

 

The daughter in question wasn’t there. But I was informed that she was studying opera, and as a soprano, could sing anything. I would only have to tell her what, and when to sing.

 

She continued to interrupt the set several more times, only to mention that the song I had just played would be perfect for her child who was going away to college next year to study voice. And also, to ask when it would be a good night for us to start performing together regularly.

 

On my break, bladder bursting, dying to take a literal and figurative piss, I was cornered with a Facebook video post, played full volume on a iPad, of the girl singing a very forgettable showtune.

 

And the very final persuasive argument that since the regular accompanist had played at Carnegie Hall countless times, this should be a much easier gig.

 

It made me think.

 

If everything is going to come up roses, I sure hope how I pray and what I pray for doesn’t come off sounding like that.

 

 

 

PRIX FIXE

During Restaurant Week, most kitchens downtown offer a three course sampling dinner for a set price as a showcase of the executive chef’s broader culinary vision.

 

The week, which happens twice a year and actually lasts 10 days, is meant to revitalize the city’s economy by encouraging the greater metro-suburban community to keep Detroit in mind for wining and dining options.

 

The house is full and reservations are a definite must.

 

Trouble is, I’ve never seen any of these diners return.

 

And even worse, treasured regular guests stay away until what they dub “amateur hour with the bargain hunters” is over.

 

This is my eleventh Restaurant Week.

 

I’m still smiling and putting my best foot forward.

 

In the hope that I’m actually making a difference, but also because I know life isn’t a set menu.

 

I can’t pick out only the blessings I want to have.

 

Sometimes, I have to taste really bad food before dessert gets served.