Saturday, January 31, 2009

more than a piece of wood

I swear, soon I'll go back to movie reviews or something. But gah.
As I was exiting a bus today, the strap on my viola case came unhooked and my viola hit the ground hard. It was 6 PM, and I was en route to making a brief birthday party appearance before heading to an 8 PM concert. As soon as it hit the ground I anticipated trouble, but it's too cold here to open the case outside so I headed over to the party. Inside, I opened the case, and...
A big crack, up the face of my viola at least six or seven inches long. My heart stopped. Thirty seconds later I was outside, coatless, on my phone dialing every violist I knew within easy train access. A friend of mine lives only a few houses away from the party I was at, but he didn't answer. Nobody answered, and I paced. Eventually, I tracked down a viola that I could borrow in Rogers Park (a few miles north) and ran my ass over to the train to head up there ASAP.
Here's where things really went to hell. I got on a train, went two stops, and then my train driver announced that there had been some sort of train-and-person accident farther north and that all the trains both directions were going to be staying where they were and cutting off power. I jumped back off the train.
Luckily, my original hope (the one who lived by where I had just come from) called me back. I took a bus back to his house, swapped violas, and went back to the train station, where the trains were still shut down. I took a cab, played the concert, and took a (mercifully running) train back to my friend's house to swap back.
Now I'm home. Things still haven't hit fully, but I'm becoming a little bit less comatose. I can speak in full sentences, that sort of thing. I was so exhausted by my efforts to get to the concert and by the overwhelming nature of the evening that I was practically incoherent when I was at the show. Now I'm just worried about my viola. It's an object, a thing, but very, very close to my heart. It's hard to describe, but my viola is very like a person to me. We've spent so many thousands of hours together. I've shared at least as many highs and lows with this piece of wood and metal as I have with any single person. My viola has made me cry, and laugh, and go more than a little crazy; I've shed sweat and blood for it. My skin and sweat and fingerprints are literally embedded into the wood. I first saw my viola when I was maybe 12: it was my birthday present, and I was in instant love the first time I saw it. Her. I struggled (vaguely, and not too often) in high school with the fact that my viola felt female to me and that I loved her. (This is funny now :) I'm hoping that they can fix the crack without too many problems, but the damage hurts in some undefinable way. Something constant in my life for well over a decade has sustained damage.
I'm not writing well. Thanks for reading. I'll post something not about me soon.

7 comments:

erica said...

whoa...that's one shitty evening. hugs!

Emilyon said...

I hope she gets fixed ok!

Amanda said...

I completely understand... I've often wondered what would happen if my viola was somehow damaged. They can do amazing things, so hopefully they can fix it without changing the sound much at all.

I fell on the ice this morning (only minor injuries) so I'm thankful you weren't the one falling and breaking anything.

Lauren said...

oh my god what a nightmare. I think the feeling of connection to a musical instrument is really cool and not weird at all. and i like when you write about yourself! i'm glad it all worked out, but good lord, that sounds awful.

ammie said...

Thanks everybody! I'm still having mood swings from the hellaciousness of Saturday night, but I'm feeling much better than I did. I can't take my viola in until Friday probably, but for now I have a very nice loaner from a friend and high hopes for her fixability. Still, I hope nights like that are few and far between.

ShanaRose said...

I totally understand the pain from the break of a precious object. Ouchie. I'm glad you're ok and that she'll have a nice doctor to fix her soon.

justin said...

One of the first things I do when I visit my parents is go play on my piano for a bit. And also one of the last things I do before I leave. And I'm not even a real musician...