Thoughts by Richard Bleil
A couple of days ago, I blogged about being rather excessively depressed. When I’m depressed, there are several things that can happen. I tend to become listless, finding it difficult to do anything, or even get from the bed to the couch for the day. I tend to be unable to motivate to take care of the basic necessities of survival, like cooking or, for that matter, even eating. I find it difficult to pick up after myself, allowing my home to fall into disarray.
And I buy things.
Yes, I’m a shopper when I’m very depressed. Some of these purchases are ridiculous and unwise, like my genuine museum quality original Star Trek series replica communicator. I mean, for geeks like me it’s pretty cool. It was laser mapped and replicated from one of the communicators used in the actual television series, right down to a flaw in which the cover didn’t quite close correctly, which eventually lead to wear on one corner. To give it at least some limited functionality, they did make it Bluetooth capable, so it does link to my cell phone but, I’ve discovered, holding it for a phone call soon becomes a challenge. And it comes with pre-loaded voices of everybody except for William Shatner (I guess I’m supposed to be the captain), so I played with it for almost twenty minutes before forgetting that I had it.
Today I made another purchase, but I’m feeling pretty good about it. When I buy things like the communicator, I’m at least aware of the frivolity of it. I choose to ignore that little voice in my head because, damnit, I want a Star Trek communicator. I wonder where it is? Anyway, other times I kind of know what I’m buying and feel pretty good about it. That’s how I’m feeling tonight, although, it’s not at my place yet.
I purchased an upright piano. Now, I don’t play piano, and this will be my third. Well, I don’t play yet, but my friend is teaching me. And, yes, I can read sheet music. I can read the title, and the copyright notice. I mean, the notes look like gibberish, but I can read the author. My first piano is a midi keyboard, purchased specifically because I had asked my friend how to write songs. Then I realized that this cannot just play. I have to plug it into a computer, start software, and map it all just to plunk out a song or two. So, I purchased an actual factual electric piano. This I purchased so I could just turn it on and play. It can plug into that software as well, but has more limited capabilities for songwriting, but is also easier to just play. Plus, with an auto-play feature, I can pretend like it’s me playing and nobody is (ahem) ever the wiser. Wink wink nod nod.
Today’s piano is slightly used. She’s an upright Chickering piano, ca1898. The soundboard looks to be in good shape, and I’m told it gets tuned every year, so if it can hold a tune, it should be pretty good. But it’s not just the piano. I might try to pluck out a tune or two as I get better, but honestly, I also love the history. That piano has seen two world wars, Korea and Vietnam, the dust bowl, the Great Depression and so much more than I can even begin to recount. Heck, Billy Joel tried and ended up with a phenomenal song as a result, but he’s much more intelligent than I.
Pianos like this are hard to find for sale, but increasingly easy to find for free. Unfortunately, the kind of passion for them (as I have) is waning in our society. They are heavy and difficult to move, and cumbersome taking us significant space in the home, so people are gravitating away from them and towards keyboards, and usually the less expensive ones at that. I understand that, like anything else, in instruments you get what you pay for. I’m buying beginners instruments but higher end so, if I do actually learn, I won’t outgrow them quickly (if ever as I’m just an amateur). This beauty, on the other hand, is mostly about the history which is as large a selling point to me as the piano itself. But as I am rare in this passion, many of these pianos are simply donated or given away with the stipulation that the person who gets it be responsible for moving it. Still, this was a kind family, so I’m happy to pay, and yes, I’ll hire movers to move the piano as well.
So, I’m very excited. Because I found my communicator. YAY!