Procrastination was mocking me again.
For months, maybe a year, I’ve had a blocked left ear. Didn’t know what was causing the blockage — yolk, wax, a fingernail, a puzzle piece — but I wasn’t prepare to do anything about it. Panic mode is usually what brings me to a doctor office — the snap of a bone, a small spittle of blood, the numbing of an limb.
But not a clogged ear drum. This stuff works itself out, doesn’t it? That’s why I waited. Then waited some more. Then even more. Until finally, the waiting was over and I forced myself to visit a Convenient MD in Merrimack.
This wasn’t planned. There was no intent behind my reason to concede. The medical office was right there, fifty feet from my car, almost chastising me for my weakness. The lot was empty, which played well into my horrendous lack of patience. The condition of my ear still echoed and sloshed with each footstep. I carry insurance.
Now, all I needed was some guts.
I got out of the car, walked past my rear bumper, then turned back to the sanctuary which is my Toyota, filled with heat and music and the warm bosom of denial.
But the falling snow was ridiculing me, snickering even, saying, “You fat baby, you fool, you legless hack. Straighten your back and face the music. Be a man!”
So I did.
Soon I was being asked every question in the book about my private life by a nurse named Rusty. What do you take in? What do you put out? How often do you do that? Really?
I was regretting this moment of growth already.
Then the doctor came in with a scope and she checked the ear. She had wonderful red hair. I asked her if she was related to nurse Rusty. Her unamused face seemed to say, “It’s Monday, slick. Talk less.”
Yup, something is definitely in there, she said. Cotton, burrowed deep in the canal. No more using Q-tips to clean out the inside of your ears, I was told. Look at that, my mother had been lying to me all these years. There was no potato factory growing in there after all.
After a good flushing, the doctor grabbed an ear pick and started digging. Mercy, this was heaven on an orgasmic level. It felt like she was pulling a cat’s tail out from the bottom of my neck. My hips began to cry with pleasure. I may have even moaned.
“There it is,” she said, pointing to a small ball of cotton floating in a plastic catch basin. “That was the problem.”
“Whoa,” I said, feeling warm and woozy and relieved. “I could use a cigarette.”
It’s still Monday, buddy.
So, one might ask, what does this have to do with music?
Everything, because waiting is for suckers. I proved that.
And last week I had a band in the WKXL studio doing my show called “The Opined Few.” They were just phenomenal. A four piece folk band with a fiddle, a stand up bass, washboard, mandolin and guitar. A slaughtering mix of beauty and precision.
They played old school country/folk and layered their stuff so sweet that I didn’t once jam my finger in my ear, trying to work the wax loose. I was downright focused. They had me with the weeping fiddle, their earnest spirit, their chops and togetherness.
It’s only when I learn that a band so thick with rhythm rarely, if ever, play out this side of the state, that my back beads with sweat. We are built for your sound! Bring on the jugs, the jawbones, the heavy strings and hollow body guitars.
What are you waiting for?
Likely, the same thing I was waiting for. That moment when fate taps you on the shoulder and says, “Now’s the time. Grab it.” Then, once you dip a toe into this beltway of sound from the mountains to Manchester, well, if you’re a band as fine as The Opine Few, you will always have an audience.
It’s freeing, acting on these moments of truth which have weighed on you so heavily. And they come with a cost and the build up takes time. But once you’re all in and the ear pick has been planted, there are no more questions to be answered.
Just action. Then bliss.
Rob Azevedo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org