Homeless Monologue 2

February 19, 2011
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ELLEN. You know, sometimes I wish I played an instrument that was actually portable.
Don’t get me wrong, piano’s fine, but it always gets awkward when I’m at a concert or orchestra rehearsal or convention and the people are all standing around with their black, vaguely-violin-shaped instrument cases making small talk, and one of them comes up to me and says, “Hi. You play?” And while they ask this, they’re looking me over, like maybe I have a viola hidden in my bra and they can’t see it or something, and then I have to wait until they’re looking at my face again to say, “Yes.” “So … what?” “Piano.” And then they look embarrassed for a while. There’s an awkward silence during which I feel slightly and exhilaratingly superior. And then they finally say, “Ohhh, pi-ano.” Which is fine, you know, it’s not like I’m offended that piano doesn’t even qualify as an instrument in your portable little string-bow world or anything.

Have you seen a cello? Or how about a double bass? Have you seen them, in cases, at an airport? I went to the airport last month for some Bach-and-Jazz convention in Florida of all places and I counted five people on my flight alone with cellos, and three with double basses. Everyone gave them about eleven and a half feet of space in every direction, like they were actually carrying something breakable. I mean, have you felt one of those cello cases? They’re, like, freaking bulletproof! It’s like upstanding string instruments have force fields built in around them. And they were the allowed to cut people in line and crap, plus people kept giving them these awestruck looks, like, “Oh. My-God. That person. Has. A Huge. A**. Instrument. DING! PROFESSIONAL.” What the hell?! And those cellists and bassists were eating it all up, like they actually deserved it or something.

I’ll have you know, I’ve written a book about the decline of classical music in today’s culture, and I have a degree in music history from Julliard. I’ve performed AND lectured at Carnegie Hall twice. I bet those string-playing yuks haven’t won a state-level competition playing the first two dances of a Bach suite when they were young enough to be cute! YEAH! I’ll bet you one of my authentic Steinways! And when I start laying Steinways on the line, you know I’m being serious, girlfriend.
And, oh my GOD, they showed Tom and Jerry on the flight. Three hours of Tom and Jerry. Have you ever seen Tom and Jerry? Since when is dropping pianos from skyscrapers funny? Do you want your children to grow up thinking that piano abuse is funny?! And I personally think it would be much more hilarious if a cello were to fly out a window. More effective, too. Think about it. If the pin-thing on the bottom were extended, it would probably impale the cat or whatever animal straight through their damn skull. So why do they always use pianos? Discrimination, that’s why. String-affiliated executives. Bitter adults who preferred the cello as young children after years of being forced to play the piano by their parents, and now they’re preaching the untrue dogma that all pianos are evil.

I wish people would take me seriously. Better yet, I wish pianos were portable. Then I could walk through the damn airport and probably get the freaking gate to myself. Either that or I could just squish anyone in my way, especially cocky cellists and their stinking bullet-proof force-field cases. Then I’ll fly my indestructible piano to Hollywood and drop it on those biased cartoon executives as they leave their offices, see how they like their own medicine. I’ll be Professor Ellen, Piano Woman, owner of the world’s only portable nine-foot Steinway grand piano, and protector of underrepresented, score-clutching, awkward pianists across the nation!

And my costume would feature one of those cute piano-key patterned belts I always see teenagers wearing. Also, a bra that would actually be big enough to entrap my violin prisoners. That’d be cool. My indestructible piano would be, um, pink.

I want a piece of the action. I want people to look at me in the airport and KNOW, right away, that I have a job that I love, that I would die for, that requires just ONE tool, but it’s so damn huge that I can’t even take it with me.

No … I don’t really wish I played a portable instrument.

Because that’d just be stupid.

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WintersRevenge said...
Apr. 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm
Awesome!!! Love the last two lines... I also read your other monologue, but I like this one better. You have quite interesting stories to tell, and you seem very intellectual. Congrats on your article being in the magazine! Keep writing!
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