I love music. I love to listen to music in the car, I love to dance around the house when I’m vacuuming while blaring some vintage Madonna, I love to go an outdoor concert in the summertime and get swept up in the sounds. I love music.
Unfortunately, music does not love me. This was painfully obvious when I went out to dinner with my moms’ group last night at a local Cuban place. Somewhere between the appetizers and the last round of tequila shots, my co-moms jumped up and started dancing to the live music. The owner of the restaurant was entranced by our group of 20 moms shimmying around the tiny space, and he started passing out musical instruments to those of us (the smart ones) who were still seated.
Now, the owner was savvy enough to not pass out complex instruments where any actual talent is involved, like, say, the bassoon or the oboe or violin or anything. No. Think along the lines of what you would hand a preschooler: maracas, tamborine, cowbell.
Yes, I got the cowbell. With a stick. I was meant to hit the large cowbell with the stick in a rhythmic fashion, keeping beat with the overall music and dancing.
That is not what happened. Instead, exactly like when a movie’s sound is not aligned with the actors’ mouths and maddeningly lags two seconds behind, my hitting of the cowbell lagged behind the beat of everything else. I tried to stop and re-start. No use. I tried to go faster. No use. No matter what I tried, all I managed to do was have people stare at me and laugh (and not in a sympathetic way, but more of a ridicule-type way).
I have always had this problem. Back in high school, I tried out for the singing group only to be told by the music teacher that the Art Department really really needed extra students to work on set design. She did not have the heart to tell me what I can now look in the mirror 20 years later and confirm to be true: I have no rhythm.
The Husband knows this about me. He found out early on when we were dating. I would sing along to the radio in the car and a strange look would come over his face, a look of fear mingled with pity, some outright laughter and simultaneously, disdain.
This was the same look the waiter gave me as I attempted to beat that cowbell into rhythmic submission last night. The waiter handed me a complimentary mojito and said not unkindly, “Let me get this out of your way for you,” as he wrenched the offending instrument out of my hand. The cowbell dropped to the floor, clanking loudly. Magically, the accidental drop was precisely in time with the music. Well, I thought to myself, at least I finally got the rhythm right.
(“Move Over, Vivaldi”)