Complaining or Appreciating

I was stuck three days in an Italian hotel room quarantined with Covid. After I got over feeling guilty for not taking a test sooner and possibly infecting others, for not getting a second booster before I left, for letting down my trio because we had to cancel the concert in Udine, for having the hotel staff bring me my breakfast and food deliveries, I started to enjoy myself.

I had everything I needed: my flutes, the flute jester script to practice, material to read, to practice, to listen to, internet access, a comfortable bed and shower, a big window, and no obligations. I was freed from having to choose what to do or not do, where to go, what to be distracted by.

I had time to figure out an easy way to convert celcius to farenheit (times 2, minus 10% add 32).

I started to enjoy my forced confinement. It’s not something I would have chosen (and will not chose again) so I decided to experience it. I found a new perspective. Usually when travelling, I wake up and move about the city that I’m in. I use the public transport, enjoy window shopping, visit museums, galleries, parks, cafes and bookstores (even though I can’t read anything other than English, I love looking at the books that are carried). I move about a stationary world. I am taking my sphere of perception out into the existing space. I imagine a circle around me that is defined by my peripherals highlighting a path through the city.

Stuck in one place, I had a fixed view and saw the world move around me. It reminds me of an exercise I read when back in college. I believe it was in Aaron Copland’s book “What to Listen for in Music.” He suggested drawing an inch square on the sidewalk and focusing only on that square inch for an hour. My window was my metaphorical inch. Through it I watched the tram come and go, people walking by, opening their window to smoke a cigarette, driving their motorcycle in and out of the gate that opened with a blinking light. I noticed the outside decorative stucco on the fourth floor of the apartment building across the street, how the darkened wall from the protruding balcony showed the pattern of dirt blown by the wind, different plantings that people have outside their windows and how the water from the planter boxes dripped down and created a green moss. I enjoyed watching four young dark haired women saunter by. One played with a sexy walk and another pulled her hair to get her to stop, then they both laughed. I saw a couple walk by with the groceries, the restaurant open its shades to prepare for the dinner crowd, two young boys walk with their tennis racquets toward the local tennis club, a man with a large mustache come out of his apartment building go to his car and drive away, while another drives up, parks and rings for his friend to come down to join him. There are bicycle riders and food delivery people on electric bikes. I paid attention to scaffulting on a building and wondered what they are repairing.

It’s just another reminder that there is more in this world than I will ever be able to absorb in one life-time, and that what I noticed is based on my proclivities.

Even with my one window view, if I was a different person with different intelligence, background, family, training, patience, sensory acuity, I would notice different things.

When I listen to music, I hear different things than my bass playing friends, than conductors, than my beginning flute students, than orchestral musicians. My interpretation of what I read is different from someone else’s.

My proclivity to remember how the words affect me more than what was exactly said, is my perspective.

In my family we were taught to be self-sufficient, well rounded and to strengthen our weakness. I’ve been finding that it is much more advantageous—on a professional and emotional level—to work with my strengths and find others whose attributes complement mine. I’ve always been open-minded to others’ beliefs. Now I know that their way is not more “correct” than mine or that I need to be different. I can value what they have to offer even more as I value what I have to offer even more too!