April 30, 2020:
Have you ever gone to Disneyland and stood in an extra-long line up just to get onto a ride because you didn’t have a fast pass? You’re standing there in the hot sun for thirty or more minutes waiting for your turn and when you finally get to the entrance you realize that there is still a mile (maybe slightly exaggerated, but not by much) of turnstiles to go through on the inside before you even get to the front of the queue.
Okay, now substitute Costco for Disneyland, cooler weather for hot sunshine, and senior (not necessarily retired) citizens for fast passes (sixty and overs get to skirt the lineup). That’s the new shopping reality at the mega-wholesaler in Newton right now. Two hours all in from parking the car to in the car leaving. You better believe I took full advantage when I finally breached the doors after an hour and a half of waiting. I filled my cart up to the rim, even with meat prices jacked 20%, and yet…still not the highest bill I ever paid there.
I have to say though that I do appreciate the way they’re dealing with the situation. Crowd management is respectable and there’s lots of checkout counters to handle the outbound flow. I’m actually not opposed to the new system (it's not anywhere near as crowded once inside). Maybe it should continue this way post isolation. It's a great opportunity for the younger crowd to reconnect with their elders, even if it is just for the fast pass advantage.
Here I am spending two hours of my retirement day shopping, and yet I seem to have difficulty slotting in time for things like guitar practice. My motivation is definitely lacking, although I did try to connect with my buddy through zoom over the weekend. It turned out though that without the necessary interfaces (computer add-ons) on both sides, it just wasn’t going to work (lag time being an issue).
On those talk shows you might watch (Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, etc...) it may sound like they’re playing together live during their Brady Bunch opening, but I’ll bet you that they’re over-dubbing the music to present that effect. Television is all about editing (aka smoke and mirrors). It’ll be interesting to see how my new internet acting class (which is coming up soon) will turn out given similar parameters.
I watched a music documentary the other day (does that count as practice), about a guitarist known as ‘Slash’ who played for the band ‘Guns and Roses’. Not unlike Keith Richards, Joe Bonamassa (check him out on YouTube), or Eric Clapton (the list goes on and on), it's made obvious that if you want to become great at something, it has to be everything. Of course, these successful artists will tell you that it was never about fame and fortune, but when you dig a little deeper you find out that most of these talents had advantages like parents money or connections to the industry (that's not sour grapes, that's just reality).
Having said that, I might spend three hours on a day playing my guitar (maybe twice a week) and I’m barely getting through the small set list of songs that I know I can handle (this doesn’t include anything extra). These guys devote three hours to just getting warm before lighting it up for the next eight (and that’s every day). I tip my cap. Basterds! (that's french for bastards)
Even though I enjoy watching the music documentaries, I also find them kind of depressing because I know that my aging fingers are past their prime. I can’t even grow a proper ‘Rock and Roll’ mop without taking a shot from my son who aptly calls it “cul-de-sac hair” because of how my front hairline recedes in a U-shape pattern. Kids, there’s no return policy.
The one thing about me though that I think is consistent, is that if I’m motivated to do something, I’ll put in the time and “git ‘er done”, but if I don’t see an end game, if I can’t connect the dots to a logical conclusion, if there’s no target to shoot at (should I keep going), then my goal orientated personality is not going to put out the kind of dynamism needed just so that I can hit ‘nothing but air’.
Maybe I'm being unfair to myself, but realistically when it comes to musical success, I can’t think of a single example of anybody who has become a notable musician after thirty-five years of working for a living, but should it happen to me, "I’m going to Disneyland!"
Until next time.
P.S. Thank you to all first responders and essential service workers for doing what you do. You rock!
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