Another night at the office
Posted by keithosaunders on August 18, 2015
My office last night.
I’m a jazz pianist but that doesn’t mean I only play jazz gigs. The name of the game is survival; loosely translated this means I’m a gun for hire. Last night I was hired to play background solo piano at a garage that repaired, restored, and sold classic cars. I was surrounded by Ferraris, Porches, and Alfa Romeos, among others. There was an interesting mix of people there consisting of mechanics, people who raced cars, and people who bought cars.
I noticed the car people had a certain look. Most were tanned and rustic looking but in a well kept sort of way. A lot of them, for some reason, wore Hawaiian shirts with khaki pants. One of them brought their young-teen son who resembled a live-action Richie Rich.
Usually on a dinner break the band will eat together and hilarity ensures. In this case, since I was alone, they placed me at one of the tables. So here I am, a jazz pianist sitting at a table with people who race cars and people who can afford to buy Maseratis and Lamborghinis. Awwwwwkward!
I had a strategy, however: I willed myself to become invisible. Simple. You can’t talk to who you can’t see. But wouldn’t you know it the strategy failed and the person sitting directly to my right struck up a conversation. It was kind of stilted, but not the worst. I was actually nervous for him. What could a one-percenter possibly have in common with a guy who’s idea of living large is buying Bounty paper towels instead of the Safeway brand? (they really are good paper towels)
But converse we did. The beginning of the conversation was like trying to start a 30 year old Volvo in February in Green Bay. After a minute or so, however, things loosed up. He was comparing how exact a car’s details have to be in order to take first place at an auto show to how good a musician has to be to break through to the upper echelon. Not bad, actually – I can’t disagree. The funniest thing is that through this brief conversation we were able to determine we had a mutual acquaintance. He lives in Minnesota while I’m in the Bay Area. Go figure!