If there is one truly annoying thing about being Asian-American, it's wasting valuable childhood years learning to play a musical instrument. No other ethnic group is sadistic enough to force this upon their offspring. To make matters worse, it's not even a cool instrument either - like the kind that could potentially put you on a path to an illustrious career as a sex-video-making metal drummer or heroin-addicted jazz saxophonist. No, it was either the piano or violin. If you weren't one of the 95% playing one of those two, then you ended up with another unsexified orchestra instrument, like the flute, cello or oboe.
My mom actually let me pick my poison. So I tried out a few instruments. The first was the accordian.
This is a photograph of the last time I ever played the accordian. I was playing "Three Blind Mice" while Gypsies danced off to the side around a campfire. After that I tried the trumpet, because the theme song to "Rocky" had always appealed to me. But as manly as that instrument was, the vibrating metal constantly made my lips itchy. And worse, you had to drain the accumulated spit juice out of the tubes after each practice. So in the end, I got stuck with the piano.
Took lessons for nine years. Nine years of playing boring-ass sonatas while the metronome filled the living room with its hollow ticks and tocks. Nine years of pretending to practice. Nine years of pretend practices coming back to haunt me during recitals in front of hundreds of people. When those nine years were over, I pretty much never touched the keys again. Every once in a while I'd pass by a piano in an empty hotel lobby and, when I was certain nobody was around, I'd sit down and my fingers would just start playing. Not out of love or even mild nolstalgia, but out of mindless instinct, like a retired circus monkey that never forgot its last routine.
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