Andrew and I are both learning to play the guitar. It was one of those things we both wanted to do, but perhaps seemed so GRAND and INVOLVED that we couldn’t quite wrap our brain around actually getting started. Silly us – getting started was actually pretty easy, with an instructor friend in town eager to get the ball rolling.
Andrew has had an electric guitar for years now – it came with his VW Jetta TDI. (Isn’t this how everyone gets started with The Guitar?) It was a promotional gimmick, tapping into that latent desire we must all have to play the guitar while driving. (you can plug it directly into the car’s stereo system) Yeah – it was funny for awhile – showing up with his guitar, plugging it in, shredding a bit. Ultimately, though, the joke could only go so far without actually knowing how to play.
And I’ve always wanted to learn how to play something. Piano, mostly, but there was that other episode with a guitar, the one where I got one for Christmas, stroked it lovingly for months, but never learned how to play. A short stint with the trumpet in fifth grade was overshadowed by saxophone envy (everyone wanted to play the sax that year and got in line ahead of me) and the birth of my baby sister. Mom said it was too much driving to keep up the lessons at the neighboring school, especially with winter approaching and a new baby. Likely, though, she sensed my waning enthusiasm and jumped on the opportunity to simplify the routine.
I hesitate to put words into Andrew’s mouth, but I think I speak for both of us when I say that we act with a certain “where have you been all my life?” fervor towards our guitars. The kids’ heads barely hit their respective pillows before we rush back downstairs to rock out. The chords come pouring out, some more gracefully than others, and the expressions on our faces alternate between concentrated focus and awe, as if the sounds coming from our very hands are magic. Daily, we compare the slowly-forming calluses on our left hands’ fingertips, take new interest in the state of our hands. Hangnails and too-long fingernails become barriers to our new-found love and must be avoided at all costs.
I think we’re quickly becoming infamous as The People Who Bring their Guitar Everywhere. While we’ve only racked up 3 lessons each so far, we’ve already given a handful of concerts: at our fire pit, while visiting family, at the cottage, and most recently at a nautical-themed dinner party. Was it fate that our ever-growing songbook included tunes perfectly suited for an after-dinner performance? Perhaps.