Re-focus and re-shoot.

Vix posting about enduring a hellish workday reminded me.

I’ve made a small change in my routine lately.  I’ve started taking my guitar to work.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about off and on for a year or three, honestly.  I just never went the extra step of actually doing it.

I’ve often thought that it would be a good time and place to get in a little (mostly) uninterrupted practice.  At home, I’ve often got my son saying “Dad, can you quit with that?  I’m trying to watch The Goonies.”  Or I’ve got to grab him his 6:45, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, and/or bedtime snacks or something.  Or take the dog outside, or do some laundry, or whatever.  I feel like a bad guy somehow if I feel like saying “Fuck off, I’m practicing” to my wife or my son.  My coworkers, on the other hand, understand the inviolability of a lunch hour.  Especially considering that none of us usually take one.

Christmas at Ye Olde Ancestral Manse is coming up, and for the last five years that’s meant the old-time family sing-along.  Now that my uncle, my cousins, and my little brother have actually taken the next step and formed a bluegrass band (and released a CD, even) I feel like I need to still prove to ’em that ol’ TB can still play.  Even when I can’t.  So I needed to bone up, and soon.   Desperate fumble-fingered guitarists call for desperate measures.

What finally convinced me to take that step was the vast level of stress I’m enduring lately at work, for various reasons (some of which I can blame on others, most of which falls at my own dumbassed feet for opening my big fucking mouth and/or taking on shit that nobody else seemed willing to do).  The thought suddenly came to me that it would help me enormously to be able to have something to do with my hands in the middle of the day, to bleed off some nervous energy.

You know, sometimes I amaze myself.  This has turned out to be a really good idea.

I’ve started taking my beloved Fender in with me every day.  (And taking it home every night, because although my office is probably more secure than my home, it just doesn’t feel right to leave it.  Anyway…)

I feel a little conspicuous carrying a hard case around campus, but we’ve got a pretty big school of music here so it’s not that huge a deal.  Particularly compared to the 110-pound kids who lug double-bass and cello cases around during the music school summer camp every year.  But once lunchtime rolls around, I can close my office door and not bug my colleagues while I run through some scales, arpeggios, and try and remember how to play songs I haven’t played in years.

It has really been wonderful.  Not only has it been effective in giving me something to focus on (besides all the shit that’s stressing me), but the practice itself has been more effective than I’d hoped for.  It’s coming back to me, woohoo!  And because of that, I get to have a feeling of having done SOMEthing positive in a given day, even if work itself kinda sucked.  It helps me put my work back into focus, and I leave here with a little different memory about the day.  About how I worked on that A-minor gliss pick instead of how that butthead from the next state pissed me off.

So, while all the shit at work keeps getting deeper, at least I can now feel like I can put on some snowshoes and walk on TOP of the shit.  That’s a good one.

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4 Responses

  1. Excellent way to manage stress. I often lose myself in music by popping in a CD, I can imagine playing it would just make it all that much better.

    Still giggling at the snowshoes comment. Our local news did a whole feature on “picking out the right snowshoes for you” this morning.

  2. Never worn ’em myself, although I probably should have bought a pair for one of my deer seasons in the Midwest. But it was that winter that made me want to move back South again!

  3. […] as last year, I have the impetus of my upcoming visit back home and the traditional family sing-along.  Not […]

  4. […] of the office, after some debate, I’ve started taking my guitar to work again.  Last time it worked pretty well for both giving me good, uninterrupted practice time and for […]

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