So, the wedding last weekend. Wow. To start, I would like to say that weddings in general make me cranky… probably because I’m insanely jealous of all of the happy people. Or maybe because I was scared by a woman in a white dress when I was a baby. It’s hard to say exactly. Suffice to say that I don’t really like to be at weddings, and it seems that these days I have TONS of them to attend. And the worst part is, I’m always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Or whatever the male equivilent of that phrase would be.
The bad news was, I HAD to attend this particular wedding, because I was the “official” piano player. (By official, I mean “the guy who sits there during the ceremony and plays really boring crap written 1600 years ago by a mercury-crazed pedophile.”) It had to be mercury poisoning, because the traditional wedding songs all have to be played using what appear to the casual observer as random muscular spasms.
Let’s go back a few days before the wedding. I went to the doctor with several random symptoms, and after carefully diagnosing the problem (taking my weight, temperature and blood pressure) determined that I needed a perscription drug. It’s impressive that almost every malady known to man can be diagnosed by such simple methods. So that night, I took the first dose of the medicine.
Unfortunately, the medicine has a few small side effects… nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, convulsions, festering lesions, coma, and in ‘certain rare circumstances, slow and painful death.’ I was lucky enough not to die, but I sincerely wished I had. I was in a cold sweat, dizzy and nauseated out of my mind… my hands were shaking uncontrollably, and the doctor said “Oh, just tough it out, it’s always like that for the first 5-7 days.”
Great. So fast forward back to wedding day. The wedding is out of town, which means a road trip. Being in the car made me even more sick, so I kept having to stop along the side of the highway to upchuck. And that was the fun part of the day.
Then it came time for the rehearsal. I had practiced the songs for months, so I was pretty comfortable, and I wasn’t really nervous at all. I played the Bridal Chorus… no sweat. Then Canon in D… no sweat. Then it was time for the recessional. I pounded down on the first note…….. and then I went completely blank. It was gone. Nothing. Just static in my head.
The bride’s parents turned white as they realized I could not remember the rest of the song. No one had a CD with the recessional, so there was no alternative. The bride, bless her heart is a dear friend and to protect her identity, I’ll call her SB. SB looked over at me reassuringly, and I found the strength to try again. I pounded down the first note again… Nothing but static. SB started to turn the color of her dress.
By this time, not only was I panicked, but I felt like a total retard in front of all those people.
I decided to wait until the wedding party went outside for pictures. Then I sat in the chapel, trying to figure out what happened. Of course, I still couldn’t get it to work. I stared down at the keys for what seemed like forever. Then I decided to play something else, and transition into the recessional. IT WORKED! So I tried the recessional alone again. NOTHING! DANG IT! WTF!? And I thought “THIS is just great… I can play the recessional so long as the bride doesn’t mind me starting out with ‘Always a Woman to Me.'”
After a while, I realized that the problem was that I was looking at my hands. When I practice, I never look at my hands. When I’m in front of people, I tend to try and be EXTRA careful. Something about looking at the keys was whacking me out. So to make a long story even longer, I found that I could play the piece just fine so long as I stared off into space.
This was an effective method from a musical perspective, but definitely made me look like I had received a terrible head injury right before the ceremony. But I pulled off the actual ceremony without a hitch, and everyone was happy, and most importantly, SB didn’t hear any of the little screw ups.
After it was over, I remembered how sick I was, and went back to my routine of barfing and sweating.
Wow, that story went a bit longer than I expected. Sorry about that. Next time I’ll talk about the joy of work. Till then, remember “Real friends stab you in the front.”