The Bass Clef

First Posted 13-Apr-2015

Sex lasts, what, an hour? Yeah, yeah, I’m not young anymore. If I last 5 minutes I’m happy. We sleep 8 hours a day? Between work and whatever, there are about 4 hours a day during the work week that are not occupied. The Olympics happen every four years? Hundreds of athletes attend. Only a few will win medals. For about a minute of ecstasy, if things work as intended, we get a lifetime of mixed joys and miseries as parents. There is melody to life that does get sung in B-major. That’s life. I’ve not lived in b-major much. My life has been much more hexatonic.

It’s been a lot of years of e-flat. I’ve come to appreciate the steady rhythms of the bass clef. I’ve learned how blue I can get.

I tend to sing flat. I also tend to forget that the bass clef is harmony. I should sing the lower third of the chord. What makes me so hard to listen to is that I try to sing the melody along with the tenors and sopranos. It’s not good.

The right foot of a trap-drummer stomps out the beat. It’s not sexy. thump-thump-thump-thump. Same pace, same motion, same dynamics, same rhythm across songs and careers. The walking bass line of the blues repeats endlessly. The left hand plays the same notes for years. It’s not sexy, not always fun. The music sounds better, though, for that beat and walking two measures.

Whatever our life, where ever we are, no matter how accomplished, there are dirty dishes in the sink. There are chores. My sensei quoted his teacher in saying that the day after he was declared to be enlightened he still woke to find that the meditation hall of the temple needed to be swept. Us malcontents are the syncopated melody. We keep things interesting because we have the social mobility to contemplate change and the desire to set about accomplishing it. We can and do subvert the dominant paradigm. For all of our syncopation, of changing the tempo, messing with the key, jumping octaves, and general bad behavior we are not immune to chores. There are certain tasks in life that are nearly universal. They live on the bass clef, thumping away their mind-numbingly boring and repetitive beat. No matter what else is going on in our life, these things remain. We still have dishes to wash.

I do love my misfit friends. In my 30 some years since I cussed out my Dad I seem to attract hot messes as friends a lot easier than I attract nominally “normal” folk. The only real change is that I’ve come to love them as hot messes and stop trying to have them behave as I would have them behave. I’ve also learned to leave be those whom I meet who are too chaotic for me. I’ve found a nice rhythm to my life, living with the music in the bass clef while appreciating the melody. I’ve come to understand the gift of doing chores.

It’s the relationship between the treble & bass clefs, finding the right mix of chords and melody, that makes a good song. I and my malcontented friends may not sing in major chords. We may like minor chords and diatonic tunings. But we too end up giving due effort to the bass clef so we can keep our hexatonic ways.