Saturday, October 3, 2009

Leap of faith

Well, this evening they're having a Big Talent Show at the high school where I teach, and somehow I got roped into performing.

They need the faculty jazz band (they call it "band," but it's "quartet") to play while the judges deliberate on the winner of the show, and they want me to do some magic (prestidigitation magic, not metaphoric magic) while they're setting up the band, both to cover the band setup and so that the faculty have some sort of solo-performer representation.

Well, I'm nervous. When I last rehearsed with the jazzers, I was having issues with my foot slipping off the bass-drum pedal--and let's be honest, I haven't played set more than once or twice since The Diagnosis, and let me tell you: out-of-practice and neurological damage is a bad combination. Oh, I have no doubt that I'll make it through just fine, but I would rather be spending my energy on performing than fighting the drum pedal.

And oh yeah. Magic. Now, I like magic, and the tricks I know, I can do. But I don't perform as much as I'd like (I like performing, but I'm not extroverted enough to just walk up to people and do magic for them), and even a tiny bit out-of-practice (even minus the confounding neurological damage) is not a feeling I like. At all.

Standing up in front of a room full of mixed-gender 15-year-olds and talking about online adult content, and how you really don't want to formulate your ideas about sex from watching ScrewTube home movies, doesn't bother me a bit. Doing card tricks, even the ones that I do--which are very, very carefully selected to have as close to zero failure modes as possible--make me nervous. And oh yeah, I get to walk onto the stage and into the audience without my cane, because I need both hands for the cards. Which means I'm doing it with my shoes off--shoes off, I get more data from my feet and the floor and I don't need the cane (as much), it's how I do all my classes.

But y'know, just talking about it right now... I'm going to stand up in front of four hundred people with my shoes off. You gotta admit, that's pretty funny. Too funny, really, to let myself get that worked up over.

I'll go rehearse the trick a few times, write some handbell music, take it easy. Enjoy what passes for "autumn air" here in LA. Have my favorite pre-performance meal, Thai "tom ka gai" soup. Rehearse with the quartet, then kick back for something like three hours before I go on.

And if I'm nervous and wigging out even a little before I go on, I'm going to look at my stocking feet... and laugh.

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