Monday, April 21, 2008

Memories of one of the me's I barely knew.

What a lovely Picnic Day weekend that was! I found myself in so much awe of what a great time I was having... but I think it really just comes down to the weather actually behaving.

Last week was rough, CF and I were both working a lot, I was trying to keep up with my workout schedule, and I had my plate more than full of design projects. Friday morning I went off to the gym for one last pre-Picnic Day workout and run. I was finishing week 7 of the running program SW sent me. I had set a goal to be able to run the 25 minutes at 5mph by then, but it didn't quite happen. I ran the first mile at that speed, but the second mile I had to slow down to 4.5mph and I just barely dragged myself through it. I came home absolutely beat, it took me a while to get showered and packed for the weekend. We hit the road around 1pm and decided to head straight to the pub when we arrived in Davis.

Walking onto that patio is like walking into my past. Who can really complain about a large group of people all happy to see you and at least a dozen or so people who are thrilled to see you and want a hug? I often joke that my ego needs that fix at least once or twice a year. Considering we missed Homecoming while adventuring in Europe it had been a while. Add on top of that the ego boost of jaws dropping and "Oh, you look so good!" and I'm flying high.

Picnic Day itself was wonderful as I said. We woke up much earlier than the last couple years and actually made it to campus in time to play at the Alumni Association's pancake breakfast. I found myself a bit nervous but it was a good way to get back into the swing of things... I later figured out that the last time I actually played was probably two Picnic Days ago. The time between the breakfast gig and the parade is always another round of greetings and hugs. LL, my old boss and mentor from my days working on UC Davis Magazine came over from setting up her booth on the quad basically just because she knew it was the one time all day she knew exactly where to find me.

I had loaded myself up with my camera case (which I discovered held my music folder perfectly!) and my sax, I gave people a good laugh as I complained about "neck strap build up," especially when I had the camera out of the case and also around my neck. The parade began and I had to put the camera away... no extra altos showed up to play my horn so I didn't get to photograph it at all, but it was actually quite thrilling. A little tour through good old Downtown Davis! It's fun to see the changes and what remains the same. At one point I somehow made eye contact with a friend from the Bay Area. We screamed! What were the chances of our eyes meeting like that? I stopped to chat with her for a second as the band continued down the street. I went to try to catch up but heard my name again. It was someone I knew from elementary school and hadn't seen in ages. So funny. Such a small world. Well, small Davis anyway. So I missed a chunk of the parade but I caught up eventually. When we settled into playing on the grass on A Street I finally got to take some pictures. Afterwards CF and I went and had some lunch with Ms. D and the W's. We stopped by (a rather trashed) Soga's for a margarita, which really hit the spot. Then it was back to campus for some Battle of the Bands watching. We left when the hour-long rendition of Stanford's Beginnings, well, began, and headed over for some dinner with another group of friends. So many people to see, such little time! We swung by one last hang out stop before hitting the road. I had to work on Sunday, and while we were tempted to stay and make a long, late night of it, good sense got the best of us and I was asleep in my own bed well before midnight.

It's amazing to me that I am stronger and in better shape than ever before and I am still sore in so many different ways than I ever get from working out. High stepping is apparently the best thing to fatigue hamstrings. And holding my horn at my right hip found arm muscles that seem to be slacking off most of the time.

Also amazing to me is that I actually still sort of know how to play. I got out the music for every song I attempted and followed along carefully. There were times when my fingers started to move without me even thinking about it, muscle memory is a very funny thing. I had to stop and smile at times, it was like someone else was controlling my body. It was a little shocking. The fact that I ever joined a marching band when I didn't know the first thing about playing an instrument is the biggest shock to me though, it sometimes seems like it was all just a funny joke. It didn't really happen, did it?

And yet, my joining the band is a key moment in what has brought me to this point in my life. Who can really say if CF and I would have made it through college together if I hadn't jumped into the band with him? I think we're a strong enough team now, but back then? I don't think so! And a good number of the other key players in my life are sort of from being in band, though actually most of them are really from the time that followed. I don't know. Part of me thinks that joining the band was a big act of self-concealment... I went through band insecure and defensive as I struggled to figure out how the hell to play that horn. It's just interesting what I found at the other end.


Leslie said...

It was a great day...I'm glad you had fun too! I love getting a band-uh fix.

Alison said...

YEAH!! Soooo good to run into you!! Wish we would have been able to stay for the Battle! You look SMOKIN' Melissa!!!