January 13, 2012

The Doodle

Today a friend and I went to the Ihop in "Da Bronx." It wasn't crowded but we quickly made the observation that we were the only white people in the place, including all customers and staff. Not that we cared, it was just an observation. We waited an unusually long time for service and finally a waiter helped us with our order. As we sat there in comfortable silence I began to doodle on the upside down placemat. As I did, I remembered how much I loved to draw one summer as a kid and how I never took it past the most basic, amateurish point. Most everything I've tried to master, such as wire bending, playing piano, painting, playing tablas (Indian drums), whittling wood, some European flute thing I bought once, the yo-yo, playing harmonica and even golf (twice, maybe), all faded away quickly due to frustration. I thought all of these things would be somewhat easy and I fully expected to master each of them very quickly. I obviously didn't. With some, such as guitar playing, I got to the point where I could play a tune to a friend without them wincing... or perhaps they did but were good at hiding it.

Doodling on the place mat made me extremely aware of my past lack of commitment. My inability to put forth the effort it takes to overcome the frustrations and diligence of practice and the perseverance it takes to be good at anything. I gave up soon enough on these interests for my ego to be saved thinking I would be lousy at them soon after the first stroke of the pencil or toot of that flute. Not giving it long enough to be considered a failure.

In my defense, I did pursue photography and stuck with it with the zeal and passion like nothing else I've ever even come close to sticking with. I guess that's something. I can't imagine life without taking photographs.

Maybe you only get one thing you can do well. Another thing would take away from that singular talent and would ultimately compromise it. So, maybe it is best that I sucked at all those other things. Perhaps that's it, you only get to do one thing well.

As we were getting ready to leave the waiter looked down and said, "I'm gonna keep that when you leave." I was embarrassed and put it in my bag.

1 comment:

  1. ... and very often, people do not even master one only thing