‘I never met a musician before’

Volume 118, No. 5May, 2018

Rosanne Soifer

I recently remembered this long-ago encounter, a blind date whose memorable line to me was, “I never met a musician before!” I thought Allegro readers would enjoy it.

Picture the scenario. The car ride to the restaurant resembles a cutesy scene straight out of any soon-to-be-canceled sitcom you’ve ever watched. I show him how to negotiate a tricky turn-around on my busy street by going through a nearby parking lot.

He:       Are you a Women’s Libber or something?

Me:      WHAT? (I’m in shock. I haven’t heard that term since the early 1970s when most women were burning their bras, although I didn’t.)

He:       Well, you sounded kind of bossy.

(I attempt to open the car door and leave immediately, even in traffic, but can’t because it’s locked from the driver’s side.)

He:       You told me you were in music or something? You like that rock and roll stuff?

Me:      Sure – most of it! (He reaches over to the tape deck, goes through a red light – at a four-way intersection, no less – pops in a Barry Manilow tape and starts to hum along. I idly wonder what would happen if I suddenly began to make strange noises and foam at the mouth. We arrive at the restaurant.)

He:       How’s your food? My vegetables seem overcooked.

Me:      Mine’s O.K., but the fish sauce has nothing in common with the fish. I think it was borrowed from somebody else’s dinner! (My attempt at dry humor fails.)

He:       So, you told me you were involved with music or something. Do you teach?

Me:      No, I freelance by playing piano professionally, writing articles, and consulting.

He:       Oh. (He drops his spoon.)

Me:      You dropped your spoon.

He:       I know. I’ve never met a musician before. It’s my first time.

Me:      Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle! (My second attempt at dry humor also goes over like a lead balloon.)

He:       You mean you don’t work at one job steadily? (He appears perturbed, as if I’d just confessed to either harboring an escaped criminal or having a transmittable disease.)

Me:      It works out fine, really. I like the freedom and flexibility.

He:       But suppose you were married and had a family?

Me:      Well, then, being flexible works in my favor, doesn’t it? I can arrange my own schedule.

He. Oh. So you’re really involved with your career, huh? (I’ve always been confused by semi-accusatory statements masquerading as questions. Remembering the earlier women’s lib outburst, I decide that anything I say would be taken wrongly. Besides, the evening has deteriorated to the point of requiring the social equivalent of a respirator. I decide to ignore the underlying hostility by giving a cheerful non-answer.)

Me:      Wow, this dessert is yummy!

(Cut to the drive home, mercifully short. EPILOGUE: I never heard from him again. Thank you, Lord!)

Pianist Rosanne Soifer has been a member of Local 802 since 1973. Local 802 members can e-mail anecdotes and stories for possible publication to Allegro editor Mikael Elsila.