Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Enter: Grudzel



I realize where I am as I walk out of the Metro Station--Hollywood and Highland on a holiday. Great...I pull my purse close to me, put my sunglasses on and attempt to maneuver as fast as I can through the crowd of tourists and street-worn characters. This is not an excursion I particularly want to go on.

I have to, though. It must be done. Once past the swarm in front of Grauman's, my concern is no longer of being trampled by the mob. I readjust my sunglasses, put my street face on and speed up. I don't care if you whistle, holler or tell me I walk like a model--flattery will not make me stop. Onward.

Down the busy streets periodically checking behind me and always keeping an eye on the cars and the other pedestrians until I stumble upon my destination. A sense of relief swells from within as I walk into the store--there is more civility in such institutions than there is on the street.

Such places used to feel like heaven--rooms lined with beautiful instruments waiting like puppies to be played with and loved--but today it's a little overwhelming. I feel like a child in a grown-up's world, not allowed to touch such valuable items with my grimy, sticky fingers. I wander around the rooms slowly building the courage to pull an instrument off the wall. Who am I to feel like I belong there?

But...Who am I? I am a musician. Perhaps not as advanced or well-studied as others, but I am a musician with a gig coming up and I need a new guitar. More, I am a girl who just braved the strange streets of Hollywood and their abuses to get here. To go home empty-handed because of fear is NOT acceptable. Now resolute on getting what I came for, I pull down a guitar and play it.

I play a lot of them, taking stock of how they sound and how they feel in my arms and under my fingers. The combination of steel strings and hollow bodies is somewhat new to me and it takes some time to get accustomed to. Everything sounds slightly off until...

Its body is distinctly marked, exotic wood gleaming under a fine coat of polish. I am not sure that "love at first sight" exists, but surely "love at first sound" does. Less harsh than the others and a touch smaller, it seems to ring into my soul and it feels like it belongs in my arms. It's as though I wasn't sure what I was looking for until I hear it play.

I put it back to see if there are others that play like it--a test of love--but none feel so correct. The decision is made.

Back to the streets, but now with a box almost as tall as me under my arm. I take a different route back. My new friend requires a seat for itself and I can feel my fellow bus riders' slight irritation, but there are plenty of other seating options and I am not in the mood to let my new friend get abused by careless passengers.

Off the bus and almost home, a stranger offers to help me carry the large box, but it's not particularly heavy and I can manage. Into my building and to my apartment, finally inside. The excitement builds as I cut the tape and carefully pull out the reward for my anxiety and travel. He's beautiful. A quick tuning and a long moment of appreciation. And now, we play.

Welcome to the team, Grudzel!

Be bold.

R

NOTE: I know his name is ridiculous. Deal with it.

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