Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I just got back from a week in Florida with my high school BFF.  Much like the summer weeks we used to spend at her family's house on Long Island, this vacation was spent mostly in the sun, by the pool, hanging out with Jessica and her family.
One of my favorite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother, recently had an episode about "revertigo," what happens when you hang out with friends from a different stage of your life.  Basically, you become the person you were in high school, grade school (god forbid), or college, like when my boyfriend goes back to his fraternity for reunion weekends and drinks like he's still 20 years old.  I thank HIMYM for giving this phenomenon a name; I've felt something like that for years, like my one guy friend from high school who makes fun of me all the time, and the thing is, when I'm with him, I do and say things that are worthy of being made fun of (terrible sentence structure is an excellent example of that).  
This week that I spent with Jessica, her mom, her dad, and her no-longer-little brother, made me feel like I was in high school again.  Not so much because I feel like I acted differently than my almost 26-year-old self (even though I probably did), but because I had parents around, a mom who cooked dinner for us, and I didn't check my email for the whole week.  I had shut myself off from my current life almost completely and it was wonderful.  We would wait until the parents had gone to bed to start the real drinking each night - so very high school.  And also I felt totally spoiled by getting to see my old best friend every day for a whole week, which is the most that I've gotten to see her in years, and it was like everything was the same as 8 years ago.  
A good vacation is gets you out of your current locality, but a great vacation gets you out of your current state of mind.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Below Grade

I have a student whom I refer to as "catatonic boy."  This may sound harsh, but he earned the name.  In multiple lessons, we will reach a point where I do something horrific like ask him to play a piece a second time and it is like flipping a light switch.  He will go completely rigid and just start groaning.  In a recent lesson, he went catatonic and I told him "just play the piece one more time and your lesson is over."  He continued to groan for 15 more minutes, which meant our lesson went 10 minutes over time, but I still made him play the piece because I don't want him to think he can get out of things by acting semi-retarded!
The thing is, he has a decent sense of humor and I have a lot of fun joking around with him.  He has started smiling during lessons (gasp!) and every once in a while, if I see him smile, I will say "did you just smile?  you know you're not supposed to smile during a piano lesson!  what if I  think you're having fun?!"  and he'll say something sassy back to me like "I was stretching my mouth" or " I have a facial tic."
When he wants to, he plays very well.  He reads pretty easily, which is no small task because the teacher he had before me never taught him the letters (a,b,c, etc.) of the keys.  I could overlook this if his teacher were foreign and he learned do, re, mi . . . but he didn't, so shame on you, former teacher!  
The other day, we were looking for an F on the piano and he told me that I get an "F minus" as a teacher.  Now I know this isn't true, if for no other reason than he does actually know the letters of the keyboard now, not to mention the 2 or 3 books that he has progressed through under my tutelage.  When I told Nate about how catatonic boy told me I get an F minus as a teacher, Nate said "did you tell him he gets an F minus minus minus?"  and I answered "I was thinking more like a G plus."  Of course I didn't say any of this to my student; to tell you the truth it didn't bother me that much.  Why not?  He was smiling when he said it.