Tuesday, November 07, 2006

i do other things, too

I know I've probably complained about this to everybody who might possibly be reading this, but god, I'm so sick of having the same conversations over and over. As soon as somebody finds out I'm a musician, it's either a rambling soliloquy about how they played the tuba in elementary school or the same damn string of questions that I always get.
"Is that a violin/instrument/keyboard?"
"How long have you played?"
"Are you, like, a professional?"
"Do you play in the CSO?"
I had both of my least favorite conversations with some talkitive guy on the bus today, and also at a bar last night. I'm just so sick of talking about it. I remember in high school refusing to write personal essays or give class presentations about music because even then I was tired of that being all people saw me as. Because this is what I do, it is utterly mundane to me, but unfortunately it's fascinating to everybody else. And I should be glad that people are so interested, but dang, sometimes I'd rather talk about literature or food or something.
Okay, rant over.


Tania said...

Ammie, I feel exactly the same about linguistics! You put it very well. I can't stand the conversations when someone finds out what I do, it's so bad I want to lie about it sometimes just to avoid the banality.

The other day at Kinko's some guy started up a conversation about it and then he had to show me how amazing it is that "mantra" and "mental" are similar in meaning. They're from the same language family, jerk.

erica said...

OMG! this is funny. so i just read this entry to lauren, who is sitting next to me, and then she said "oh my god! the same thing happened to jesse the other day at kinko's!" and as she proceeded to tell the story, i read this comment about the same story...
and then, we compared notes on michael-from-tree-of-life (the kinko's mantra guy), and i came to the conclusion that he is the same michael who, exactly a year and 2 days ago, approached me and jeff at the summit of mt. wrightson, which did not, as we'd discovered, have a functional trail to the top at the time, and invited us to the thanksgiving dinner at tree of life (which he was making flyers for when you saw him), and proceeded to tell us all about alaska, where he's never been. he was barefoot, which confused me, having just hiked 5 hours on rocks and cactus straight up a mountain...but yes, he and others are dumb, thought cutely passionate...
erica is done talking now.

ammie said...

Wow, I'm glad everybody liked this post so much! I've had four people discuss it with me now, and probably only like 6 people read this total. Anyway, I was laughing the other night because Inga Muscio writes that she studies terminology from other professions so she doesn't have to try and explain to clueless people about her writing. She just pretends she's a welder or whatever. That won't work for me (my viola case inspires most of my conversations), but all you less-visibly-employed people could take advantage :-)

Lauren said...

i get the same reaction with my writing. and it's not that writing is mundane to me and fascinating to to others. it's more like writing is exciting to me and everyone else is CLUELESS about it. they'll ask,
"do you write sonnets and stuff"
"does your poetry rhyme?"
"Oh i was published once." (cue 10 minute long story about how they have "an agent" and a novel coming out and they were published in one of those big Vanity books that makes you pay to get into them)
"are you going to write bestselling romance novels?"

ammie said...

>it's not that writing is mundane to me and fascinating to to others. it's more like writing is exciting to me and everyone else is CLUELESS about it.

That's a great way of putting it! I guess that most of what bothers me about my exchanges is that people ask the same questions and all of them are boring to answer or just dumb. I like talking about music but not, you know, how long I've been playing or (god help me) what the difference between a violin and viola is.
I wonder, though, how differently people relate to writing and music as professions. I read something by an author (can't remember who) saying the she had a hard time convincing people that writing was hard because they seemed to feel it was just kind of like talking but written down. They didn't see the skill. But with music, I think people have all these visions of poor little Beethoven being forced to practice all night or something. It's so far out of their range of skill and they know it, so there's this weird awe factor.
So when I say music is mundane to me, I guess I more mean that it's not super exciting to me that I can play as well as I do anymore. The act of playing is still generally enjoyable, but the day-to-day part is just kind of life. But I think you're just less dissillusioned about writing than I am about music, so yay for you!
These comments are getting out of control.