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Paid to Not Dance

Today, my story is about teachers. Seriously, I can cook but I am no chef. I can teach, guide, direct, assist, amuse, challenge and engineer--but I cannot make anyone learn. My degree is in Physics, but I'm an analyst and engineer.

I'm both idealistic and pragmatic.

Yes, both. I also have a wickedly sharp sense of humor and an even sharper awareness that our world is too tense for jokes right now. Seriously, it's 2017--IMHO, we are like rubber bands--some so tight and taut that snapping is a real possibility. Tension is high, so others go loose, so loose, it's all sunshine and unicorns, pooping rainbows. Well, I'll take the sunshine, but I prefer rainbows that come after a rain shower, not out of a mythical horned horse. NOPE, it's like a stringed instrument--you gotta have the right amount of tension, or else you are just making noise. Yes, in 2016--I bought a guitar--a sweet little Martin backpacker with steel strings, previously used, but in great shape.

I fell in love with a banjo and was paid to not dance.

This is true, let me spin this tale for you.

During the middle weekend of a TDY, yes--Ten, Triple-digit Days in Alabama, I fell in love. I fell in love with a mountain and physics. Monte Sano was a whole ten degrees cooler than Huntsville. A work associate invited me to her home--my first Roomba sighting, we took a walk and yes I actually pulled a thorn from her yellow labradors paw--pretty epic, huh? scientist/engineer and musician--she played in an "old time" music band, that was playing a dance. Now, I suspect it was Contra Dancing. So I go, I'm not a big dancer, and I wasn't looking to be overly social--I really wanted to hear them play and hangout. So I pay my money at the door, everyone was beyond friendly. Again--please note, yes--I am female--I love dancing--WAIT, I mean--I love to dance with people I love, little kids, dogs and by myself. So here I am very happily married and pretty conservative in my socializing, I pay my money, and go say hello to CW and her band. I sit with the band, at one point one of the men in the group switches to a mandolin and asks me to hold his banjo--I held it on my lap, like some strange pie--flat to not spill it--the strings of this big, round musical tool start vibrating-- from the music in the room--it's just physics--sound waves. Funny part coming up--a couple of the leaders of the dance group approached me and handed me money saying "you aren't dancing, you don't need to pay." I know that the story isn't that I was paid to not dance--but in a way, that is what happened.  

Fast forward to 2016--buying my Martin steel string guitar.

The salesman said, "you'll be taking classes, right?" Which I totally was not going to do.

I wanted to play--not work at the guitar.

I did concede that it should be in tune, so I bought a Snark tuning thingy-dingy.  Yes, I do strum and play with my guitar, but more from a curiosity, discovery and enjoying the sounds that it creates. So, what's the point--I fell in love with sounds, tones--some teachers are able to guide the student so that the hunger for knowledge, comes from a beautiful place of curiosity and joy. Maybe I will take a class--but for now, my goal is getting the sheet music for Nightswimming and getting the piano tuned. The first book in Spanish that I ever sat down to read was Harry Potter. I sat with a dictionary, looking up words and honestly getting a bit frustrated. I was raised bilingual, and with our a single official class I placed into a 300 level Spanish class in college. Yes, my first teacher, my mom teaches Spanish. So I call her up and describe my situation--this learning stuff isn't fun--she makes the perfect recommendation--STOP looking up words--if you can guess by context, keep reading and enjoy. So this learning in context thing, might be a superhero strategy. When we engage that curiosity, love, hunger in a student--that is super heroics we call teaching, parenting, leading. OK, that's an awful lot of blabbery for one day.  My dad said I should write fiction. I respond that my non-fiction stories, are far more fun and way more real.  
FUNfromAtoZ classes are really "Laugh and Learn" lectures, and workshops--you can call them classes.  

Thanks to my teachers, official and otherwise who fueled my spark and ignited that hunger for learning.

Thanks also to all those wonderful people who have called me their teacher.   peace! SaveSave
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One Comment

  1. Alexis ( AJ ) Alexis ( AJ )

    I love your mother’s advice. Stop looking up words and read. It can be advice for many circumstances and facets of life. Sometimes you have to leap from that precipice and grow wings on the way down.

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