I’m now over two years into my third attempt at ‘learning to play the piano’ (my interpretation of that incredibly vague objective is something to be addressed on another day).
I don’t remember much of my first attempt, other than my fingers being forcefully moved from wherever they were happy to wherever my piano teacher was happy. I was a young child at the time so it wasn’t as smutty it sounds, otherwise I might have stuck at it. What would I call my piano lesson porno though? ‘Mrs. Vickers’ Bare-Bach Symphony’ I think. I digress. I’m fairly sure the piano lessons were my mother’s idea, vicarious folly spawned from the rueful, thin bleat of ‘I wish I’d learned an instrument when I was young’. Regardless, it was not as much fun as riding my bike and didn’t last long.
The second attempt was equally brief and I don’t want to talk about it yet.
And here I am, up to my eyeballs in the third attempt.
The thought process was very simple and didn’t begin with ‘I wish I’d learned an instrument when I was young’. I’m now steaming through my late thirties and it has become clear that my undiminished enthusiasm for sport isn’t equalled by the ability of my body to withstand it. After playing five-a-side football I will gimp around for a week like a fat, alopecic chimpanzee with rickets. The day after a long bike ride, the chimpanzee awakes to find its rickets have been supplemented with spondylosis.
And so, it is necessary to accept my limitations and ‘sport’ is duly added to the grim list entitled ‘Things I’m Getting Worse at With Age’, sliding in at number twenty-two, just beneath ‘having fun’.
The good news is that my brain seized upon a small, sober slice of my ex-sports time to ask itself what I could get better at with age, at least up to the point of dementia, arthiritis, or whatever miserable terminal shuffle I find myself performing to a crowd of none.
And the best answer was ‘the piano’. And as irreverent as it may seem, that is my origin story.