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Mr. Piano Man March 18, 2008
I live in a mid size, Southern California hamlet whose motto should read “Kid’s Rule.” As a parent, it is a great place to raise children…a bit intense, bordering on Stepford….but for a kid it’s one step away from nirvana. It is with this framework in mind, I ask you, what would you do?
First, a little background. To the horror of the So-Cal SMS (Suburban Mom Syndicate), I have decided to teach my children to play the piano…myself. I grew up playing, and am not without skills. However, to the Mommies support group who hold counsel at our local park, the thought of my bucking tradition (tradition is to hire a team of competent professionals to mold your progeny) is “cute”. Their french tips tap as they seriously caucus over this break in parenting protocol.
“You know, Amber London Kate only takes lessons from Mr. Pianoman. He really gets that kids M-U-S-T must learn proper fingering.” she bends into tree pose. “If they don’t learn to hold their fingers correctly, then why bother even getting them lessons. I mean, maybe if they only want to play at Nordstroms.”
“Oh,” I ask, “do you play?”
“Well I own a Yamaha baby grand, it looks so cute in my living room. My designer Heath picked out the mahogany one, because everyone has black.”
Which tells me she can’t even play chopsticks.
“You should go to the Yamaha store and talk to Mr. Pianoman.” Can you sound reverent and superior at the same time? “He is the only one I would trust.”
I have decided it would be cheaper to send my children to Julliard. With compound interest on what I would pay Mr. Pianoman, I can at least make it through their junior year.
My mantra, I will not cave to BMS (Burb’s Mommie Syndrom). I will not drink the kool-aid. Definition of BMS: the belief that a well rounded child must play like Mozart, translate Proust, solve quantum equations, be on the Olympic track in (pick whatever sport costs the most) and have their first gallery showing by eight.
I pile the kids into my gas efficient domestic, and drive to see Mr. Piano Man. We walk into the store and I bee-line to the piano primer books. It was like navigating Barnes and Noble. I look for help.
And there he was… the Piano Man. I was schlepping, I admit it. I had on my ball cap, rainbows, and cargos…. but hey, he has a comb over. Evidently, I didn’t deserve help from Maestro. I gather up some books and head to his desk. I wait, and wait…wishing now I had sprung for a manicure, so I could tap my french tips. Seeing that I am not going to leave, he peers at me.
“Which book would you recommend as a basic piano primer.”
“Who teaches them?” a slight flicker of interest.
“I am going to.”
Superior sneer. “Oh…I see. Can you play?”
I blink. Really? Why would I try to teach something I can’t do. The door bell chimes from across the room. Through the windows I see a mom dragging her kids out of a black Denali. As her Manolo heels click across the marble floor, Maestro leaps like a gazelle to help her.
Suddenly, he stops mid stride and bellows. “Who is playing the piano?” I hear nothing.
Finally, I hear a quiet tinkle coming from the corner. A tinkle mind you, not a pound, not a slap….a tinkle. As he begins striding toward it, I see a shoe… dangling from a bench. I know that shoe.
“Oh. that’s my son.” I say proudly.
“Does he know how to play?”
I guess chopsticks doesn’t count. I look at the primer books in my hand. He looks at the primer books in my hand, level 1.
“That’s a 30,000 dollar piano. You need to leave and take him out of here.”
I look at the cheap Yamaha Chinese knock off. It is not 30 grand. He sneers. I raise my chin and stare him down…then snort with as much queenly air as my ball cap can muster. “So I guess you don’t want my business then.”
“Not if it is going to ruin my piano.”
“To bad, because that is the model I was looking at buying.” I lied. I wouldn’t buy that cheap knock off.
He turned away, back to Mrs. Manolo’s.
I grab my children. Never will I darken those doors. I am calling Yamaha, I am calling the Chamber, I am calling my SMS. I hear a click on the marble and a rush of kids running past.
“But Mrs. Manolo’s, I didn’t mean YOUR children.”
“Evidently, you don’t know what kind of town you work in. We are child friendly here. You must not need the business… and it was a tinkle.”
Wow! I look at her. She blinds me her zoom whitened smile. “We moms need to stick together,” she says sliding into kid leather seats.
Evidently she must think I drank the kool-aid.
So, here is where you come in. Revenge….a dish best served cold. I am thinking of borrowing my brother-in-law’s convertible BMW, and sliding out of it in my Manolo’s and Armani. I am sure that Piano boy won’t recognize me. I am thinking of sitting at the real 30 grand piano, and playing him my first concerto. Ohhh, he will be so impressed. I will knock him over with my piano knowledge, and generally waste and hour or two of his time. Maybe I could borrow Heath for the day. I will sit in his pleather chairs, and decide to purchase it. Shocked, effusive, imaging the new car he will buy… I will start to hand over my credit card (To bad it’s not a black one…for true shock value) and then stop. I will look at him, as if trying to remember a distant memory….and as he grabs for my card…I will say. “I remember you now. Last week, you did not want my business. You wouldn’t let my son tinkle on your cheap, Chinese knock off piano and told us to leave. Then turn on heel, walk out, and slide into my borrowed kid leather seats….
…hmmm….would it be so wrong? Accepting all comments…..