Friday, October 19, 2007

Up. Down.

Nguyen and I went to Black Rep to see my drumming teacher play last night. We were the first ones in the place, showing up at the seriously uncool hour of 9:30. But we had a drink and found a sofa and chatted while the djs set up their equipment.

Sidy arrived at about 10:00, but didn't start playing until 10:30 or so. By that time Nguyen and I were out of our seats and dancing to the house music that the djs were spinning.

When Sidy started playing is was like an energy bomb was dropped in the place. All of a sudden this booming djun djun was reverberating across the floor. Nguyen and I kicked it up a notch too, totally unembarrassed that we might look like the middle aged dorks that we are. We were having a ball.

And then it happened. The opening scene of my eventual humiliation. Nguyen went to get a beer. I was dancing alone. Sidy's djembe was sitting next to him, unattended. I gravitated over, pulled by the booming beat and the complete lack of common sense.

"Do you want to play?" he asked over the thudety thud thud thud of the drums.

"Really?!?!?" (Picture lamb to slaughter, here)

I sat down and held the drum. I closed my eyes and waited for the groove. I whacked the edge of the drumhead with both hands.


Holy Crap. Sidy's drum is about 4 times louder than mine.

CRACK again. I was having a hard time finding a beat.

Oh crap. I started stumbling around on the drum head, playing no discernible pattern. More or less in rhythm, but mostly a kind of accent beat, which is not what I was supposed to be doing at all.

"Don't play so loud" Sidy whispers.

I soften my tone down.

"Play this" he says, and whispers a beat to me. I can't understand what he is saying. I know he is telling me a rhythm, but it is as if he is speaking a foreign language. Finally, he shows me on his djun djun. My bracelet keeps clacking against the drum head and I am worried it will hurt the goatskin, so I pull it off. Finally, I get into the rhythm, playing the simple pattern that Sidy has shown me. As the song winds down, he says "stop playing" so I do, letting him transition to the next song solo.

One more song and then he announces it is break time.

Thank God.

I find Nguyen and tell him it is time to leave. Hasty goodbye to Sidy and his wife.

I go home and throw up.

My dream, since starting to play drums, has been to play with Sidy sometime. It was NOT, however, to suck while doing it!

This morning on the phone my mom laughs and says that we are always most humiliated when we are taking ourselves way too seriously. Wise woman.

No comments: