Ever commit to something before you know exactly all of what is expected of you? (Who hasn’t, right?)
Well, I’ve done it recently, and now I feel stuck, because I’m really only interested in my original perceived level of participation, and not the current overload I’m feeling. But it seems like my choice is all or nothing.
Remember a while back I joined a band? It was good for a while. Rehearsals were every Tuesday evening for an hour and a half, and they were located at my town’s middle school about a half mile from where I live. Following April school vacation, rehearsals changed locations to an elementary school twenty-five miles away!! Rehearsals frequently run long, and I often don’t get home to start dinner until after nine pm! It is exhausting. The other night our rehearsal was running late because a few members felt the need to discuss an issue that should have been left up to the board, not the general membership, and I started quietly packing up. The alto sax sitting next to me, gets mad at me for being so rude (it should also be noted that this individual was one of the members who had many thoughts to add to the discussion) and asks if I’m going to turn into a pumpkin. Well! Excuse me! I haven’t seen my apartment since six-thirty in the morning, or a bite to eat since lunch, and I have a forty minute drive on dark pothole-ridden roads ahead of me. Yeah, I want to leave.
The drive is another issue. In the past week, the only day I drove my car anywhere was Tuesday. I’ve been trying really hard to do everything by bike or foot. It’s good for me. It’s good for my wallet. It’s good for the environment. I feel proud to be among the local bike commuters that I see regularly (we all wave to one another; it’s quite different from the one-finger wave you get in a car). I can’t get to rehearsal on my bike for four reasons: 1) it is so far. I could probably do one direction, but then how do I get home? 2) I’d be riding home in the dark. No thanks. Too dangerous. 3) The roads out there are really really rough in a car; they would not be suitable for a road bike. And some have no shoulder to ride on. 4) I play the tenor sax. It is too big to carry on my bike.
Then there is the performance schedule, which was finally handed out two rehearsals ago. Thus far, there have been two performances, which is about the frequency I was expecting. The first was a joke: we hadn’t been rehearsing long; we were inside and it was brutally hot; there was a bean supper to follow, so the beans could be smelled cooking downstairs – I thought I was going to puke! I missed the second performance (a series of three parades on Memorial Day), because I had to work. We have a performance outside at our lakeside bandstand tomorrow for Father’s Day. It will eat up my entire afternoon.
Next weekend is a parade in a town south of here, for which our band has also been invited to do a 2 hour performance afterwards. To participate or not (last minute invitation, reduced fee, poorly organized event) was the issue we were discussing the other night. Boyfriend and I have already been talking about going camping next weekend, because it was supposed to be a rare “free weekend” for both of us. The weekend after that, there is a cancer walk that we are playing at on Friday night, and then a big event Saturday two hours south of here, for which we are chartering a bus and will be gone the entire day. There is a performance, or two, nearly every single week between now and the end of September in addition to our weekly rehearsals and independent practicing. Most of the members of the band are retired; perhaps this doesn’t seem like such a huge commitment to them considering they have forty more hours in the week than I do.
I love my sax. But do I love it to the exclusion of my other interests and my free time? Absolutely not. So what do I do now?