Friday, September 23, 2011

Captain Norwegian's Mandolin

A few weeks ago, we went to Spousal Unit's parent's for his birthday. You remember when I told you about it: the cake, the new t-shirt, the destruction of the cake because a tipsy Spousal Unit had a knife...

Anyway. When The Great Migration happened earlier this year, we knew we wouldn't have room for our books in our cars during the move. So we mailed them to Spousal Unit's parents, who have kindly kept them in the basement, waiting for us to get a room of our own.

After things settled down after Spousal Unit's party, we went hunting for books we've missed and needed, like our cookbooks and The Hunger Games series. As we settled the boxes back into place, Spousal Unit suddenly turned toward a pile of stuff behind him. When he turned around again, he was holding a mandolin.

Playing mandolin has been on my "things to do" list for quite some time. I knew I wanted to play either that or a ukulele. I like the sound of smaller stringed instruments, and I've missed the music in my life since I stopped playing flute and no longer live next to a building full of pianos.

We stared in wonder at the stringed beauty. It was covered in a thick blanket of dust, clearly ignored for ages past. Spousal Unit, knowing I've wanted to play one (and wanting to play himself) ran up the stairs to ask his brother the musician if I could have it.

I was, to some degree, mortified. Norwegians don't ask for anything - it's far too bold, and after all, it's best to be satisfied with what you've got. They might, on occasion, let the tiniest degree of longing show, but always wait to be offered the object of their desire. (This goes for everything from the butter dish to beautiful instruments.)

Spousal Unit is clearly not Norwegian.

I bounded up the stairs behind him, and by the time I reached the kitchen, he was already asking his brother if we could confiscate the mandolin. I wanted to bury my head in my hands and hide in the corner, but I was too excited about the potential answer to run away.

"Oh, I forgot I had that," his brother mused. "Sure, she can have it."

My father-in-law, who must have had a hand in buying it, agreed readily.

It's a Carlo Robelli, teardrop-shaped. I can now play eight chords. My fingers are starting to get calloused. It's an odd feeling - like having that thin layer of glue over them, I feel like there's something in the way whenever I touch anything. My sensitivity is somewhat diminished, and I don't think I like that. (Y'know, metaphorically speaking and all.)

But it's fun to be able to play a few things. My long-term goal is to be able to play Losing My Religion by R.E.M., who sadly broke up earlier this week. (Good run, guys.) After watching this awesome tutorial, I can now play all the notes. I just need to play them in the right order, at the right tempo.

I'm excited to be a musician again.

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