mind, how far you have fallen
This is a story that is either a result of…
(1) my complete and utter lack of faith in humanity,
(2) proof that I have been hit on by one too many creepers, or…
(3) the fact that I possibly have a dirty mind.
I think it’s the first two, but what do I know, right?
Not too long ago, I started volunteering at a local nursing home as a music entertainer, which really just means that I play piano on Sunday evenings at their supper social, when they’re all eating dinner together. While we’re still on the subject of music, I’d like to mention that I grew up in predominantly-Asian suburbia. Asian supermarkets, bubble tea, fobby Asian mom sun visors, SAT classes by junior high, A- Asian fail, Hondas and Toyotas galore. Davis was very much the same way, and to be honest, where I lived in New Jersey was pretty similar. (I suppose the college town atmosphere helped.) That said, I’ve never really lived in a place where I was actually part of a minority. For the record, I was a terrible Asian and was more often than not at the bottom of the smart barrel, but I managed to make it into medical school, so mayhaps I managed to do something right! (I think I can safely attribute most, if not all of my accomplishments to hard work/dedication as opposed to pure genius/intelligence.)
I make up 25% of the Asian population in the town I live in. (It’s a little less skewed if you throw me into the percentage in the town my school is in, but still.) The closest Asian supermarket is in the next state. As a result, I’ve actually started to learn to make Chinese dishes with one of my friends here (go figure, I’m friends with almost all the Asian females here; I swear it’s not because I’m racist. My mentor introduced me to Kosina, so she was the first friend I made here. There are 5 including me, so it’s not really as bad as it sounds.). Most days, I don’t notice the difference. It’s just when I’m really craving Thai/Vietnamese/Indian food. Or some other variety of sushi.
But there are definite differences here that I never actually thought about. Musical preferences, for instance. I was classically trained as a pianist (I don’t like saying this because it gives off this impression that I should be really talented, and while that may once have been the case, it no longer holds true). Here, the musical taste amongst the locals tends to be gospel, country, or bluegrass, none of which I’ve ever learned (unless you count playing church hymns). I couldn’t even tell you for certain what bluegrass was. :/
This long diatribe was really just to explain why I was encouraged to not play classical music while I was volunteering. (Much to my dismay, I was told that most people here probably wouldn’t appreciate it. :[ ) My plan of action was to just play a billion church hymns and then throw in a classical one here and there and hopefully, people would start to like it.
But on day 1, about an hour in, after hearing that I was most used to playing classical, someone in the audience said, “Hey, play some classical!”
They loved it! :D (There is hope for me yet!)
Here’s the story I meant to write about. (Finally.)
While I was playing, one gentleman who’d been visiting stopped by before leaving and said that he was going to check himself in on Monday just so he could hear me play; he said my playing was beautiful, and that he looked forward to hearing me play again. (I was pretty flattered, not gonna lie. :O I was plunking along on an electric keyboard and had been making a pretty healthy amount of mistakes.)
Later on, I went to talk to my volunteer coordinator and here’s the conversation that ensued:
I: Did a silver-haired gentleman stop to talk to you?
F: I’m not sure…unless he’s the one who said he was going to check himself in on Monday?
I: Did he say anything else to you? Did he ask you if you wanted to make some extra money on the side? At the hotel?
F: . . .
My silence was due to the fact that I was completely shocked and insulted. My initial thoughts = that he was propositioning me as a prostitute. In my defense, when you’ve been stopped on the streets of Hong Kong whilst wearing jeans and a modest t-shirt to be asked, “How much per night?” and have also been the unfortunate witness to someone masturbating in public while staring at you, I think my initial thoughts were not altogether unreasonable.
After I recovered with a very incredulous, “…what?” (mind you, I tried to keep all the insulted-ness and disgust I was feeling to an absolute minimum), she told me that the man who’d stopped to talk to me was the head hunter for Jim Justice (the guy who owns the Greenbrier, aka the place where we had our med school prom. If you want to rent a room there, the cheapest rooms appear to go for >$400/night). He was apparently extremely impressed with my playing and wanted to know if I’d be interested in playing for the Greenbrier.
Um. Hell yes!? That would be beyond the realms of awesome, and I could offset some of this crazy med school debt that’s been accumulating. *-* I hope it really does come to fruition. *-* My audition is tentatively set for March 2nd (ironically the same day as our school’s talent show fundraiser), so I hope I get it! As long as I’ve compiled enough music that would be considered “easy listening,” I should be fine. I feel like most of the music I like to play tends to be rather depressing-sounding. Or “contemplative,” as my personal spin doctor, Elspeth, puts it.
[On a sidenote, I may also get to practice piano in Carnegie every week. *-*]
Just so this post isn’t completely without pictures, here’s a lunch I had at church the other day:
Posted on February 27, 2013, in Day by Day and tagged culture shock, hobbies, med school life, volunteering. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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