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weekend part one

So this past weekend i was in PA and NJ. The main reason was for doozel's memorial, but there was a side trip to go teach with the bushwackers. it ended up being a pretty amazing trip for me, and given my recent... heightened appreciation for people experiences and life experiences in general, it's important that i write it down before i forget it. this may get split off into two entries; this one focused on friday and saturday.

i arrived thursday night pretty late. i opted to leave on thursday instead of friday because i knew i was going to be heading up to edison on friday night and decided that i wanted to spend a little time with my parents since i wasn't going to see them much at all over the weekend. That turned into going out to lunch with them plus my aunt alice and my cousin angie who i hadn't seen for a couple of years. seeing them was good, but the food was horrible; my parents and her parents have a couple of places they always go to when eating together, and both of them are horrible asian buffets. i took about as much as i was able to stomach, glad to be distracted by general conversation with Angie about what her whole life plan was now that she's back stateside.

In the afternoon, i ended up playing two games of scrabble with my mom while we both multitasked working on other stuff. I was writing Hermiston drill, she was working on a bible translation (long story). She won the first game (my dad played that game too), mainly because she got all of the high scoring point tiles and i kept on getting all vowels, and i ended up winning the second game. After that, i worked on drill for a little longer and then packed up for the weekend before jess picked me up.

Jess picked me up, we drove up to Edison to Rob's place. The journey was fairly uneventful and passed by quickly because we talked a bunch. i don't really remember what we talked about, but i remember just generally feeling comforted by having her around and knowing that the reverse was true too. We got to Rob's house before Rob got there himself; turned out he was working late because of some special project. But people started to flow in - first Sean Lawler, who i hadn't seen in 14 years, which was absolutely fantastic. Then Stacey and Kaitlyn i think (who i had never met), then Sean McCready, then Chicken Little (snare drummer at bush), and then Rob last.

Rob i hadn't seen in about 14 years either, and our reunion was a great story. Sean Mc was doing his Sean thing of just having a big rapid stream of stuff to say that were sometimes but not really ever related to each other. At some point, Rob walks into the door, sees me on the couch. "Rob Thatcher," i say, "Mendel Lee," he says, i get up and give him a big hug. Before we can say *anything* else at all, Sean hijacks any potential real hello or anything that Rob and I could have had and starts gabbing at me about some sort of whatever else. About five minutes later, Rob says, "i'll be back" which we both were amused by because i knew that he was leaving because he figured that Sean was still going to be talking for another 5-10 minutes or so and it would be better to come back after he had run down. ten or so minutes later, sean was still talking, but eventually *did* wind down and rob and i got a chance to properly catch up, and it was awesome.

at some point late at night, me, rob, sean L, and sean Mc were outside because they were all smoking cigarettes. Sean was again doing his non-sequitor sort of reaction and story-telling, and at one point, something he said was so incredibly absurd that i busted out laughing so much that i cried. I ended up saying in between fits of laughter, "sean, i just don't have friends like you" and everyone burst out laughing.

Soon after we called it a night. the next morning, i got up and taught drum corps.

the last time i was in front of a drum corps as a tech was in 1999. i was a little worried at first. About whether or not i would say the right sort of things, how the line would perceive me, all of that stuff, particularly since i already knew a bunch of people in the line who had much better chops than i do and have done more stuff than i've ever done. I felt like i was going to be the old guy who only really has mid '90s experience with what-the-fuck-to-say-to the current drum corps generation.

turns out i'm not as out of touch as i thought.

it was exhilarating to be in front of a group like that again, to be able to key in on things and be able to fix things properly, to be able to hone in not on just the playing but the mentality and the attitude and give good tools and tips on how to fix them. more than that, there was a great sense of gratification to see immediate (if not sometimes temporary) results because of what i was saying - everyone in the line really liked me and treated me with a great deal of respect, appreciated how i was trying to push them in a way that they knew that they wanted to be pushed and so they pushed for me. I know that Rob pushes them, but i also know what it's like to get a fresh person in to say the same things in a different way, and it gave them a renewed sort of energy, which was nice. It was good for Rob too becuase it gave him a chance to deal with the bigger picture in a way that he normally can't because at this point he was the only one who was a tech that wasn't actually marching.

it was a long rehearsal day on black asphalt, but i didn't skip a beat and neither did anyone else. Rob gave me a lot of freedom to put my hand in wherever i wanted, and so i did my best to find the stuff that needed the sort of work that was close enough to achievable and understandable that i could make a difference. at the end of the day, several of the drumline came up to me and thanked me for coming out, was hoping that i could come around again.

and given the sort of emotional background that the weekend was kind of about for me, it made me incredibly happy. It reminded me why i had done the activity in the first place, why i loved teaching the activity in the first place.

it was also oddly very humbling. i mean, *tries to explain*...

when i get into that sort of mode, i'm not trying to do anything for me. i'm trying to do something for the group that i'm teaching. i'm trying to raise their awareness, their dedication, their level of everything. i see myself as just a guiding force, someone that can bring out what's strong in everyone else. Make their importance shine. That's what i've always been good at.

i understand that that can be recognized as me deserving some sort of credit, but the shy me still doesn't like to receive a lot of it. and i say it was humbling because i didn't feel like they should be thanking me for being that guiding force, i felt i should have been thanking them for letting me get into them in such a way that they could be guided by me. They put their trust in me, because of who i am and what i showed them. to have that sort of influence over people in a positive way is a privilege in my eyes, something that i don't underappreciate.

if that makes sense.

at any rate, at the end of the night, rob made an announcement that some of us weren't going to be at the afternoon rehearsal the next day. he said the words, "doozel passed away" and then started to say a few more things that i don't remember because i started to lose it and had to retreat into myself to make sure that i didn't. When we broke, jess and i found each other and hugged, and she cried into me and i didn't really lose it outside, but i did inside. the announcement of it made it that much more real for a while and it took a while for those tremors to subside.

late into the evening, we went out to a late-stage alcoholic's bar called Ritchie's close to Rob's house that was pretty hilarious because of the crowd and the karaoke. I drank about six drinks, met a few more people and laughed and had a good time with them until we rolled home at around 2am. Sean L ended up coming into my room and we talked for about an hour before i kicked him out and went to sleep at about 3am, and then i crashed.

The one thing that stuck out to me about all of Saturday was that i would get introduced to random people through the day either in the drumline or hornline or Sean's girlfriend Jackie or &c, and one of the first things they would say is, "i've heard about you." Those words always make me self-conscious because i feel like people generally hype me up beyond the person that i actually am. But it was also weird because i didn't understand why i was still talked about, especially after all of these years.

not that it was an unwelcome feeling. but given how much i tend to try to fly below the radar, it was disorienting to be clearly not below the radar in a way that was outside of my control. i'd like to think i didn't disappoint them when they met me face to face. it didn't seem like it, but i can't tell myself that too much or else i lose my edge.

Comments

( read spoken (2) — speak )
jenni9
Jul. 21st, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
I'm glad you had a good weekend but sorry for the reason you had to come out. You were so close - Edison is like 20 minutes or so from me. Glad you got to teach Bush a bit and saw a bunch of friends.
suerocks
Jul. 21st, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
Maybe I missed it, but what happened to Doozel?
I'm really sorry to hear that you lost your friend.
( read spoken (2) — speak )

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