School is a terrifying and wonderous place. A place where we struggle to find ourselves amidst so many others just like us. As we grow steadily (and sometimes a little too quickly) into our bodies, we also grow into our minds; taking the ideas, morals and values that we have learned from our families and merging them with the malleable semi-formed spirit of ourselves. Some of us are blessed with a pre-existing direction by the time we get to school. Others aren’t so lucky. Still, we work together – and seperately, creating ourselves and beginning to experience life as a maturing adult.
As hormonal youths, many of us have no idea what we want and we’re determined that absolutely no adult has the answer either. What has worked for everyone else will never work for us and so we battle on, sometimes weaving our way through many and varied avenues before finding something that settles our restlessness – even for just a little while.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was never much of a sportsman. I tried though, I seriously tried. Basketball, baseball, cricket, tennis. History will long remember the fact that my hand-eye coordination left a lot to be desired. It will never say that I wasn’t a trier though.
I was one of those kids who was playing Dungeons & Dragons in the back room when they gave everyone their life mission, but I made up for my lack of direction by trying my hand at a great many things. One of the many pies I stuck my angst-riddled fingers into was music. I was going to be a guitar legend, actually.
My parents were very supportive of my desire to become said guitar legend. They bought me a guitar and sent me to lessons. The only problem was that I apparently didn’t have the fingers for it. Don’t freak out – I HAD fingers, they were just too short to pull off the sexy chords that all the girls swoon over. So my tutor said anyway. I’m betting he was jealous and that was all there was to that.
Fortunately, the loss of my guitar dream did not end my musical career totally. At first I was reluctant. The warm, wooden, hourglass shaped instrument that surely would have eased my way into the affections of the ladies was replaced by a cold, snaking, brass monstrosity, garish and attention drawing simply by being itself. The guitar was an unassuming being and what I had been handed in its place would certainly not do me any favours whatsoever in the romantic stakes.
But I had little choice and I only wish now that I could have approached things differently. Instead of unjustly hating this instrument for destroying my original hopes, I should have embraced the opportunity that this bright, life-filled saxophone offered to me. My bull-headedness blinded me to what could have been one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done.
I worked with my sax over the years and learned both the alto and tenor. By the time my high school curriculum got in the way and forced me to give up music, I was on my way to picking up a baritone. If I had been paying more attention, I might have noticed how much more impressive it was to the girls when a guy played an instrument more unique than a guitar.
It’s funny how we look back on things. I’m sure we all have a story very similar to this one – where we’ve put too little effort into something that we now see we should have stuck with all along. I think that as soon as the opportunity presents itself, I’ll pick up the sax again. Not to pick up girls, mind you. Just to enjoy playing again.