Coming Out


The New Love In My Life

I shall call him “Tetris” because I can play Tetris for hours.


It’s time for me to come out and admit the truth.

I’m a bassist.

I know I’ve talked about it in the past; I always wished that I played the bass. When, in fourth grade, we got to pick out instruments to learn for band or orchestra, I remember coveting the string bass: it was BIG for one thing and it was cool. But we already had a violin so I became a violinist instead. I liked the violin well enough, at least at first. The orchestra in our school district was superlative and it was exhilarating to be a part of it. And I liked the sound of a well played violin but that meant that I never liked the sounds that I was making with a violin.

Violinists, as a breed, require a diligence that I never could commit to and a confidence that I simply didn’t have. This was Junior High. I never got to play first violin; and I didn’t mind playing second violin; I even preferred it since it meant I could play harmony instead of having to show off high complex fingerings that I just couldn’t do. There was a week or two in eighth grade when I even got to sit in the front of the second violins and didn’t that make me feel like a king: I think I practiced more enthusiastically during those few weeks than I did for the rest of my orchestral career. The we had seat-auditions and I was sent right back to the very back of the second violins behind sixth and seventh graders and beneath the tubas and the trombones and that was the final nail in the coffin of me ever touching a violin again.

Years went by before I ever wanted to pick up an instrument again. All through high school and college I joked that I “played the stereo” and that I was an accomplished “appreciator of music” since my sisters and brother all played instruments successfully. I remember when I quit the violin people told me that I would regret that I didn’t play an instrument when I got older but I never did. But I always wished that I’d learned the bass. It wasn’t really a regret but rather a part of myself that I’d just gone ahead and walled off with the failed violinist. Several times I thought about buying a bass guitar and learning how to play it. Every time that I did phantoms from Junior High would rise like spectral mists and demand to know when I would find time to practice and what made me think that I would be any better at a bass guitar than I was at the violin anyway? And I would concede to this reasoning and put the bass-player-pipe-dream back on the shelf for another day.

A few weeks ago at Christmas I felt the impulse again. I knew it was impractical- irrational even: me a responsible grown-up deciding to take up the bass. Was I planning on starting a band? Did I think I was some kind of prim rock star? Who was I to do this anyway?  I didn’t know. I didn’t have answers. I just really, really hoped that Santa [my husband] would surprise me with a bass on Christmas morning: not because it was practical but because it was something that I’d always wanted.

I didn’t get a bass on Christmas morning. I got a lovely and practical TomTom that I use every time I go driving. But I still really wanted a bass. When my husband asked, at the end of the day, whether I’d gotten what I wanted I had to confess that no, I hadn’t.

“What was it that you had wanted?” He asked.

“I’d hoped you were going to surprise me with a bass.” I said.

“But that wasn’t even on your list.”

“I know. I felt silly putting it on my list. It’s completely impractical.”

On boxing day, at my husband’s insistence, we went to a Sam Ash to buy  look at bass guitars. I insisted that we were just looking. I’d seen the prices on bass guitars. There is a point where really really wanting one isn’t enough to make it worth it and I was pretty sure most of the basses I’d seen were well over that horizon and picking up speed.

We left with a beginner kit.

So it has been just shy of a month now. I wish I could say that I’ve practiced every day, but I haven’t been too lazy about it either. And it may be too soon for me to call myself a bassist, per se, but at least I’ll be able to say that I gave it a shot.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 20, 2013.

2 Responses to “Coming Out”

  1. Brick by brick…

  2. […] Tetris. (The […]

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