Failure to Adapt

It’s really been frustrating me that I can’t get these simple piano pieces together.  It should be an easy gig; I should be able to plan ahead and find somebody to help me.  I should be able to afford to replace my smartphone; or, save up dutifully until I can afford one.  But I keep showing myself that I can do none of these things.  I try, and it all falls apart.  Then I become discouraged, and I lose confidence, and I start thinking I’ll never get it together.  

Today, for example, I made a point of tracking down someone who wouldn’t mind going over to the church with me with their smartphone so I could do the two-person job of making this piano recording.  One of the volunteers at the Center gladly agreed.   But he does have a mental health condition, as do all of us who frequent the Center.

See the source imageHis, however, is different than mine.  When I asked him what his diagnosis was once, he told me that they had boiled it down to “Failure to Adapt.”  (I’ve never personally heard of such a diagnosis, but I can believe it.  I haven’t succeeded at “adapting” too well myself.)

So I was relieved and thrilled to be able to make a piano recording.  We did it, and I think it took, and I think it sounded good, except for a few mistakes.   But before I began to play the piece, following setup, he asked if he could “take a break.”

“Sure!” I said.

I then proceeded to wait for him for over two hours in the church.  I became increasingly anxious.  Believe me, with my absent-mindedness, I am the last person to be trusted with somebody’s device.   I even misplaced the phone during the two hours when I was at the church, and had to scramble from room to room trying to find it.

When I called the Center to ask if he was there, they said he was not.  They also reminded me that it’s company policy not to give out phone numbers of the people who have given their numbers to the Center.  So I couldn’t call him.

When the two hour wait was over, I emailed him that I would go to the Center and leave his phone there in a safe place.

I went to the Center, and to my surprise, he was there!   He never even came back to the church to get his phone.  Now I begin to make sense of the “Failure to Adapt” diagnosis.  When I spoke with him, there was clearly no idea in his head that he had even inconvenienced me, let alone did it register with him that I might not want to be responsible for his phone.

Neither he nor I could figure out how to find the iPhone equivalent of what is called the “gallery” on an Android.  He then suggested that somebody named Matt would know what to do.   I had to be at the clinic in about ten minutes, so I took off.

The good news is that there probably is a song or two on that phone somewhere.  Then, I will have to upload it to my youtube channel, or maybe get some kind of drive I can get it on, so as to relieve him of further obligations.  Probably, I can get it together by Wednesday, if I focus.

I don’t know.  I’m just spent.  Maybe I’ve made too big a deal out of the whole thing, but it just seems that some of you were getting into these piano offerings, and it sucks that I’m not getting it together.   Like the quote says, “all failure is failure to adapt.”   I guess I better start adapting.

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I believe that we who write lyrics and music tend to remember the music we write better than we remember the lyrics.   At least, that is true of me, and especially if the song was written long ago, and then more-or-less abandoned.

The song that is featured today is something I wrote in April of 1976 in an effort to come out of a long period of isolation and creative famine.  I remember it took me a month to write the song.   This was also the first month of my now 42 years as a long-distance runner.  Writing this song was part of a complete lifestyle change.

Since it took me so long to squeeze it all out of me, I remembered the music very clearly, and continued to remember it over the years, even though I hardly ever played it.  But I forgot a lot of the lyrics, which I never sang.

At some point in the 42 years since I wrote the song “Hermit,” I forgot all about it.  But this past week, the song for some reason resurfaced in my consciousness.  This time, it had been so long, I didn’t even remember some of the music.   But as the week progressed, I remembered more and more of it; and I practiced it several times on the piano.

As for the lyrics?  Here are the ones I remember:

Shifting back and forth
Between one reckless thought and the next,
Trapped inside a rented room
Behind a world that’s too complex.

And later:

Your life is just a rented room!

Still later:

We all need our time to think –
But how much?  That’s all I ask!
You could spend a lifetime claiming you’re close to the cure,
But when life itself is such a task,
You’re never sure . . .
Never sure . .  .

Interesting.  I was 23 at the time.  I wonder why the song came back to me this week?  I hadn’t thought about it in years.  Here’s what it sounds like.

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Another more-or-less jazzy version of a song that figures in my new musical Eden in Babylon.  For the more profound and eerie version, complete with singing and fancy instrumentation, say a prayer for me, keep your fingers crossed, get your mojo rising, and come see me next week.

Please donate to Eden in Babylon.
Anything Helps – God Bless!