Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pushing through

The temperature had dipped to around 30 degrees by the time I got to Ron's house. As we set up for rehearsal, Ron informed me that I should turn on my outdoor faucet when I got home. A constant drip would keep my poorly insulated Tucson pipes from freezing, or at least give them a fighting chance.

I hemmed and hawed. The idea of performing this responsible homeowner task made me nervous.

I don't like stumbling around in the dark, even with a flashlight.

What if I couldn't find the faucet? How lame would that be?

The neighbors dogs would bark at me really loudly from the other side of the fence while I stumbled around in the dark. Did I mention that I don't like stumbling around in the dark?

Ron was perplexed at my reaction. I stood to lose thousands of dollars if my pipes froze. What possible discomfort could be worse than that?

I couldn't explain it to him. I can't explain it to you. All I know is that certain mundane tasks inspire irrational fear in me. Others include ...
  • Paying bills
  • Tidying clutter
  • Pumping up my bicycle tires

After sucking it up and dealing with the faucet (which turned out to be easy even though it was dark and the dogs barked), something occurred to me. As a musician, I get up in front of live audiences and perform songs that I've written. I risk humiliation every time. Maybe I'll sound horrible. Maybe I'll forget the words. Maybe nobody will show up to the gig and we won't get hired back. If keeping down the clutter scares me, why doesn't that scare me?

I thought about it, and here's what I realized. It isn't that singing in public scares me less. I still get nervous sometimes. But I know that if I push through the fear—or better yet, harness its energy for a more passionate performance—I'll end up having a great time.

The fear is just another part of doing music, so I deal with it.

What fears do you overcome to do what you love?


Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who had a water pipe in the ceiling above his kitchen burst the last time it got down to 20 in Tucson (as you know), I can assure you -- you want to let your water run. Even if you have to crawl naked across a field of burning embers and broken glass, you want to do it.

cinderkeys said...

Yah. It's been running since last night.

John Wenger said...

This is a great blog. So many of your blogs are, and I have had a certain feeling about them that I just managed to articulate to myself: you would have made a great columnist.

After all, this is what columnists do -- they write about stuff that interests them, and in so doing they make it interesting to others. I never thought it was possible to make me interested in running water to keep the pipes from freezing, but I was wrong.

I have the same sort (although not the same) irrational fears you do (I suspect we all do), but I have a solution: your mother. And she has me. Neither of us are able to comprehend why the other fears things, but we help each other through them. I am afraid of washing machines, which make no sense to me (I just used it without direct supervision yesterday), and your mother hates merging into traffic.

Now that I think of it, this is the beginning of an explanation of the division of labor, which powers civilization.

By the way, the word verification that just popped up is "wines." This is the first time I have ever gotten an actual word to use.

DeppityBob said...

I have to overcome my fear of Godzilla every time I take a trip to Japan. Fortunately, I've never been there.