Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened...

... when I tried to buy a D string.

I started my day in work out clothes, heading to the gym after taking the boys to school.

But on the way I remembered I really needed to buy a D string, ASAP. So I drove to the nearest music store.

But I got there an hour and three minutes before they opened. So I decided to get my exercise on the Rec Trail in the meanwhile.

But I parked my car in the nearby Old Fisherman's Wharf parking lot, and decided I'd take a walk on the wharf first. So I headed to the non-commercial, non-clam chowder in bread bowls, unfamiliar to me wharf.

And I stayed for an hour and a half. And I didn't get my heart rate above resting... except when I saw how breathtakingly close I was to the pelicans.

 And the sea lions.

And the sea otters.

Needless to say, I completely forgot about the D string, as well as my workout. 

I listened to the sea lions breathing right beneath my feet as they swam under the wharf. I watched the pelican's throats throb as their breakfast tired to escape. I heard the sea otters tear their freshly caught crabs apart piece by piece and crunch away. I heard the seagulls crying so loud they almost drowned out the barking of the sea lions! And I watched a sea gull flap his wings, sending a feather floating on the breeze, landing right at my foot. I felt the warm sun on my arms and face and felt amazing.

I overheard a conversation between three locals, just shooting the breeze. They talked about how old they were getting (two of them revealed their ages: 63 and 67), how good young people look when they're tan, but if you're tan when you're older, you just look tan and old. "Thanks a lot," one of them replied to the his buddy. I laughed to myself. A few minutes later when I joined the conversation, I found out that these men had grown up as military "brats" and had found their permanent homes here. They're pretty much living my dream. One of them looked at me and said, "Has anyone ever told you that you bear a resemblance to Barbra Streisand?" Then I really laughed, at which point his buddy said, "Obviously, she has." I told him he'd made my day, he gave me a fist bump, and I went on my way as the sea otters came back up with a fresh round of crabs.

The D string... oh, yeah. How did I end up in such a different world than the one I started out in? 

So the rest of the story, not nearly as fun as my morning began, goes like this. I made it back to the music store, decided to buy an entire set of strings in case I really liked how the D sounded, and headed home to try it out. What I really wanted was to go back for clam chowder in a bread bowl and a boat ride around the bay, but I stayed focused on the D this time. 

I got home, pulled it out of the envelope (attempt #1), and could not believe it. There was a defect in the D string, something I've never seen in decades of buying new strings. So I dug through my stash of used strings, and wonder of wonders, found one brand new D string of the same brand. Why hadn't I started there in the first place? Because I was going to the gym, that's why. 

I began attempt #2 at what I thought would be a routine string change, and could not believe it - the thread at the ball end was too thick to fit through the tailpiece hole! And not just my D, but the defective D as well (attempt #3). I looked at the tailpiece compared to the other couple of violins sitting on the couch, and sure enough, those holes were indeed narrower than the standard size. How could I find out if a different brand of string would change the tone if I couldn't even restring it?

So I went back to the music store, explained the problem, and asked politely for a refund. No such luck. I could not believe it! I'd just spent 70 bucks and wasted a lot of time, for a set of strings I couldn't even use.

The conclusion I had to come to? Today was not about the D. Obviously. It never was supposed to be! And for that, I am glad.


Arian Goodman Johnson said...

I have to clarify, I don't think 63 or 67 is old! (The older I get, the older "old" becomes. It's all relative.) Just relating the entertaining conversation as I heard it.

Lesli said...

I am so glad you don't think those ages are "old". They sound younger and younger to me all the time! I love your account of the day and I really hope you can get the strings to work! And I love you!

Frizzy said...

I so wish I could have been with you! Insert sad face here.

We were in Monterey for a night 2 weeks ago but it was so fast we didn't get the chance to call. Hope to see you all again before you move.

Amy said...

Loved the story of your day! I can totally picture you laughing and fist bumping and "old" wharf guy.