So we are in yet another Hell house. I am now on a first-name basis with the people at all of the local plumbing, hardware, and lumber stores, which also means that I have had to do the self-checkout tango, the 3 trips to Anawalt in one day foxtrot, and most dreaded, the clamshell packaging fandango.

I mean really. That stuff is custom designed to freak uptight people like me out. (I’m all groovy and cool when I teach and play, but pretty squirly the rest of the time) You pull it, and it slips. You cut it, and it cuts you back! You jump on it, and you ricochet to the other side of the room. You come back to inspect the goods, and the product is destroyed, but the packaging is pristine. I chose the picture for this post because of the additional irony that it contains “The easiest bottle opener ever”. Inside the most impenetrable piece of plastic conceived by man. Just have someone else open your bottles, if you ask me.

Today I went to BBaB to procure a new showerhead. The one in the master (ha!) bath looks all fancy, but when turned on, sprays thin, angry streams of water in a perfect 360 degree spread…laterally. You have to stand in the living room to catch one of the streams, which are so tightly focused because of limescale deposits that you have to make sure not to take a direct hit to anything other than your back.

Ok, so not really. But I was in a world of hurt with the old showerhead, so I went and got another and scurried home, feeling optimistic about the positive impact on my bathing ritual. As I took it out of the bag, it was clear that I was up against a worthy opponent. Oddly shaped, expensive, and crimped with the force of nuclear explosion. I went at it with scissors, and it looked at first like an easy win: it opened wide for a moment before snapping shut on my hand. Now covered with scratches and starting to feel flushed, I began to pull my hand out of the lion’s mouth when a wave of cello came over me, and I stopped. I left my hand inside and cut around it, using the stress of my hand on the plastic to make it easier to work with. 2/3 of the way through, it gave way and sort of fainted onto the ground. Victory!

This little story can be evaluated on two levels. Clamshell VS Woman, or “how to get what you want by just taking a little extra time don’t you know this blog is mostly cello”. For those of you who are annoyed by my constant re-paraphrasing of my approach (either because you know already or because you need it so badly it makes you angry), I am sorry. Skip to the next post. What I have found in my experience is that it takes years for my students to understand, internalize, and finally adopt this style of thinking as it applies to their instrument, and that there is usually one watershed moment where, even though I have been saying it since day 1, something crystallizes and they say, “You know? I really should just play slower and try to breathe. These problems are just the cello telling me that I need to be patient. If I could just do that, it would be good.”

Yes it would. And if they sold that kind of goodness, I bet it would come in a clamshell package, to make sure you really want it.