Peter the seventy something year old bassist, explained when he was younger he was often frustrated trying to convince people. Sometimes they wanted him to play the bass differently, almost always he could not get them to think differently. That’s when he noticed people mostly aren’t interested in other voices, just their own. You can see it in conversation he said, like that song, “all through the day, all through the night, I, Me, Mine, I, Me, Mine, I, Me, Mine.” This was his technique, as soon as he noticed himself wanting to defend his ideas, he would try to switch sides, try being accommodating, try acknowledging the other’s point of view. That was it, simple as that. If he came up with a 16th note pattern for the song and even if he believed it was awesome, if they asked him to play quarter notes instead, he would go, quarter notes are a great idea, and everyone was happy. But doesn’t that leave you frustrated and disappointed I asked. Imagine I forced them to do it my way, then later they’re disappointed still because they didn’t get what they wanted, that also makes me feel frustrated. You know what it’s like when you are upset about something on Monday but by Tuesday or Wednesday you can’t believe you ever cared about it? That’s everything. That’s the whole trick right there. If I can give up my frustration, especially when I know I won’t win, then I can move more quickly into not being negatively effected by all that shit.
I thought about Peter while the dental hygienist cleaned my teeth. She started telling me about her new boyfriend and how it isn’t working. Why not, I sign languaged with my mouth wide open. Because, she said, he shows up late and he’s on the phone all the time with clients. I started explaining my take on that, that there are always things one might not like about someone and all you can change is yourself, then I sensed her disinterest and picking a little too hard at my molars. I thought of Peter and said actually that’s horrible if he’s late all the time and on the phone, who does he think you are? Boom, she returned about a hundred miles an hour and before I left insisted I take three toothbrushes (hard, medium and soft) on the house. Thanks to Pete they probably broke up by now.