benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

Month: July, 2017

KNOWING AND DOING

I’m grumpy this week because my coach is out sick and I’m training on my own.

 

It’s not that I don’t know what to do when I’m by myself.

 

It’s just easier to do the right thing when someone else is watching.

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TREES

A guest asks me to play the song Trees this week.

 

I tell her that I am not familiar with it.

 

She looks at me in astonishment and says, “But everyone knows Trees, it’s about autumn leaves!”

 

So even though it is in the middle of summer, and I like to play it in the appropriate season, I start the song Autumn Leaves.

 

“That’s it!,” she exclaims, “I told you that you would know it.”

 

I pray for a lot of things on a daily basis.

 

But this incident makes me wonder if I really do know what it is I’m really asking for.

TEACH THEM WELL AND LET THEM LEAD THE WAY

A mother brings her daughter to the piano bar and they sit quietly, listening to the music.

 

When I suddenly burst into a short Beauty & the Beast medley, the girl’s face lights up and she makes her Barbie doll dance along.

 

At the end, the mother gives the girl a twenty-dollar bill and instructs the child to put it in my jar, which she does obediently.

 

I thank them and they leave to finish their meals.

 

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

 

It is exactly what I need right now after overhearing a particularly shrill server trying to show a new young high school girl working with us this summer, all the beauty the later possesses inside.

 

In attempting to give her protégé a sense of pride, the senior lady feels the insane need to impart the following bit of wisdom:

 

“You have a treasure chest down there. You have to keep it locked and buried safely. It is the greatest love of all.”

 

The teenager is uncomfortable with this out of context maternal attention.

 

And because I do believe the children are our future, I feel the need to respond:

 

“Honey, don’t listen to her. She don’t know nothing about no treasure chests. Hers didn’t even come with a lock! And she done gone had her treasure chest pillaged, reburied, dug up and pillaged again so many damn times that there’s nothing in there but cobwebs and dried-up crabs.”

 

When it comes to calling out bullshit, sometimes people need someone to look up to.

COMPLIMENTARY

When a server comes up to tell me that their guests have enjoyed my playing, I tell them that a manager should be informed of the compliment so it can be recorded in the nightly closing report.

 

At a purely practical level, that compliment is of no use to me unless it has been documented.

 

On the other hand, when a workout buddy or another bodybuilder tells me I’m looking swole, that unwritten compliment makes my day and encourages me to keep on track with my fitness journey.

 

There is value in giving someone a compliment.

 

There is greater value in knowing how, where, when and to whom a compliment is given.

 

 

87

The G key in the middle register of the main piano I play isn’t sounding.

I won’t know exactly what’s happened until the technician fixes it on Monday.

Which makes me grumpy because it’s an annoying inconvenience to work around this weekend.

I’m not in the mood for small talk and when I’m angry most of my coworkers know to keep their distance anyway.

“I liked how you used dynamics in that last song you played. You’re a beautiful pianist.”

I look up, surprised that anyone would even be talking to me.

I recognize the conference tag he’s wearing.

It’s a guest from out of town traveling through corporate America, whose business it is to teach the employees in those companies how to get along with each other.

I thank him and sheepishly admit that I’ve been a cranky pants all night because I’m working with one note short on my piano.

He laughs and tells me that a long time ago, he was a music major at Berkeley. He would still rather be playing the piano than be on the road all the time. And that he would give anything to have even 44 working keys to my current 87.