The bedroom door promptly opens at 9am and Phillip emerges.
DAMN! He shouldn’t be up this early! He just got home at like….2am! I thought I had more time to prepare! You know, send the neighbors a friendly note on their front doors. “If you hear something that sounds like the last moments of a cat’s life, it’s not! My husband is learning a new instrument.” I thought maybe I could blast the apartment complex with an email warning them of the absolutely proud sounds of a man learning to kill a note.
My husband has been working very hard for his money. He’s been putting aside a little money each pay day for a treat for himself: an ehru.
“A what?” Yes, that’s what I said. Apparently, it’s a traditional Chinese instrument that’s something between a cello and a violin. For WEEKS I have been taught about the ehru. Phillip became obsessed. All I can think is that he picked it up from watching one of his animes, but that is truly what I love about smart people. They see, they appreciate, they want to learn new random things all the time. Smart people are always in a constant state of trivial pursuits.
Youtube videos were all I saw about how to put this instrument together, how to play it, how to care for it. PHILLIP WANTED AN EHRU!
I saw the fire in his eyes. I saw him grieving with an unsatisfied passion! I MUST HAVE THIS IN MY LIFE!
It is a lovely sounding instrument. It truly is…..(ahem)
So, he saved $35 dollars and the next thing you now, it’s headed our way. And he’s been prepping for days on where to keep it, when on his downtime he can sit properly and immerse himself in this instrument.
The ehru arrived at about 5pm, Phillip arrived home from work about 10…he gets busy tending to assembly. He hasn’t showered. He hasn’t had anything to eat, or drink. He walked through our front door and with a big smile, ripped the box open and got to work.
He tightened the strings, he slathered the bow with resin. He went back to youtube to make sure everything was at it should be….and with ehru between his legs he artfully raises his chin and posture, raises the bow to make his first note and…..well, it was sadistic. No person should ever have to endure that sound outside of wartime.
Beautifully excited he says, “It’s a little out of tune. I’ll get some rest and I’ll take care of it tomorrow. And then….my first concert.”
So there he was the next morning. 9am. Out bed. On a normal day? He’d sleep till noon before getting ready for work. But, no. He was so excited to learn how to play this odd and unusual instrument, he was so determined to explore a new artform, that he was up at 9!
I’m a good wife. I get his coffee ready for him and just stand back and wait to see what’s gonna happen. On a normal day he would have just brushed his teeth. He was in his underwear, a bed headed cowlick as his crown, blurry eyed and searching for his glasses so that he could begin his day with his ehru.
I love my husband, I truly do. I love his enthusiasm. I love when he gets really excited about something new.
But, he sips his coffee instead, ehru in his crotch, a big smile on his face and says, “I was thinking about practicing at about noon. I know you’ll be working at your laptop, so if I’m in the bedroom, I shouldn’t disturb you. Does that work for your schedule?”
I smile and say, “Yes, it does.” (Although, I know if he were clear across the street we’d all still hear him).
Noon comes around. He has opened the blinds in the bedroom (sacrilege!), folds the laundry that is piled on the chair in the corner (ok, then!), and sets himself a tv tray for a soda and his laptop so he can begin his lessons.
And for one hour I heard what I can only describe as an array of banshee screams sung by a Chinese violin. For an hour I was audible witness to a howling death dirge of shrieks and scratches that can only be compared to water boarding. And for one hour, I was shackled to that constant low moan under tone of despair that filled the air like the smell of a rotten egg….. What the hell was that man doing in there?
I had to take a quick video so that you can understand that I do not exaggerate 🙂 You can watch the quick clip here.
Where do I go? Where do I run? How to do I escape this madness????
There was no way in the world I would have left. Had he known that I had stepped out, he would have been insulted. It would have meant that it was a bothersome noise that I simply could not and would not tolerate. No, we don’t do that to the people we love. We sit close, abide their excitement, encourage them, and applaud them for their devotion to learning something new.
He came out once his practice session was over and I showed him the video. He laughed and said, quite comically, “Sorry. I wasn’t listening to the video….I was taken aback by that hat….I’m going to have to look at that all winter, aren’t I? Great. Cute. Great. I married the Ghost and Mr. Chicken.”
Touche, baby. Touche.
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