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    Mistress Music Part 2 - The Glory of Table Drumming

             A simple but revealing insight came to me not long after I began coming out of My Dark Ages. It occurred to me one day, like a flash of sunlight reflecting off a passing boat, that for almost two years I had not been humorously chastised for table drumming. This is because, for almost two years, I had not done any table drumming.
             Often enough (some would say obsessively enough), my fingers and hands are in rhythmic motion, tapping out beats and fills across counters, desks, tables, walls, doors, and people’s bodies. Whether music is playing or not. But I could not remember the last time somebody made a joke about it at my expense. Because for the longest time, I didn’t do it. It’s a silly little observation, but quite revealing.
             The music wasn’t alive in me during those difficult times. Not only was I not quasi-obsessively table drumming, but I was not responding emotionally to music at all. Usually, several times a week at least, a song will move me either to tears, to head banging, to singing, to air guitaring or air drumming, or to dancing. During My Dark Ages, which lasted over a year and a half, I hardly did any if that at all. Maybe only once or twice, and that’s it. When I realized that, I was astounded. It made me realize just how out of sorts I was during that time. A basic staple of my personality had not shown up for almost one hundred weeks. It was as though I hadn’t eaten in almost two years.
             I wasn’t letting music, or anything else for that matter, in. When I’m so walled off that not even music can reach me, well that’s only happened for one period in my entire life since I discovered, in my early teens, the magic of music and how it affected me.
             I wasn’t even in a band during My Dark Ages, and that’s the first time since I started playing at thirteen that I had gone more than six months without being in a group or having a live performance. That may be the most telling emotional statistic of all.
             Every girlfriend I’ve ever had has made light hearted, amorous comments about my table drumming. Every girlfriend that is, except my last one, principessa. She rarely saw me at anything remotely close to my best. She never got to experience more than a fraction of all of me, because I was incapable of giving anything more than that. If I had the opportunity to ask her if she ever remembers me going nuts over a piece of music, be it table drumming, singing aloud, wailing on my air guitar, or spontaneously shaking my groove thang, she’d say “Yes, once”. And I’d know exactly what time she was talking about. It was right before the moment I fell in love with her.
             She had come down to my house on the cape with a mutual friend. We had met about a month before, and I hadn’t seen her since. When she came into the kitchen, I was busy air drumming to a live version of “I Shot The Sheriff” by Eric Clapton. I was way into it. Musically Possessed, you might even say. Eyes closed, my hands and feet moved all over my imaginary drum set in syncopated motions, with a focused reckless abandon. I was oblivious to the rest of the world. Because in those moments, this was the world. I didn’t even know she had walked into the room. For about a minute, she and two others watched me in this trance like state before our mutual friend screamed “Hello Clint!”. I looked up, and saw my future girlfriend there. I had forgotten how pretty she was. I walked over to her, grabbed her gently by the shoulders, and kissed her softly on the lips, saying it was nice to see her.
             Looking back, I know now that it was precisely then that I fell for her. It was a moment of clarity during a time of great confusion and turmoil. It’s also when I got scared stiff. My mind started running away as fast as my heart had tumbled towards. I was coming from my head back then, so I wasn’t in touch with what I felt, even though my higher self knew what was happening.
             These days, things are different. I come from my heart, and music moves me all the time. I’m letting it reach me once more. Actually, because my heart is so much more open now, it’s reaching me deeper and more often than ever. It’s really beautiful, but sometimes kind of disruptive. This extreme openness is still relatively new to me, and I try not to squelch it. Which means that it’s not unusual for me to start crying in the car when I hear a piece of music that moves me. Or air drumming in between sets at the gym. Or singing the song on the radio quietly, but audibly, in public. Or dancing in my bedroom. By myself. It feels good, hurts no one, and makes me happy. It may look (and sound) a little strange to those in my line of sight or in earshot, but it’s harmless. I’m even grateful for the tears, because it means I’m feeling something, when for so long I was unable to.
             Besides everything else it’s given me, music also serves as a barometer for how much I’m letting in, how much I’m letting out, how much I’m feeling. I table drum like mad now because the music is back in me. Even in my darkest moments, I can turn to music to help me. I’ve let her back in. She feels good. And if she feels that good to me, I feel that good to her. It’s a marvelous relationship.
             I’m forty-six, and I’ve never proposed to a woman. But I’ve been married for over thirty years. Married to music.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a loud screaming amplifier of Wrongs) Reserved.

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