Last night a bad thing happened. I am going to tell you about it in the sincere hopes that you will find it in your hearts - in your collective, blog-readership heart - not to judge me.
I came last night home to find a note waiting for me. It said, "Please call Kev about a breathing technique." Stop sniggering! It is legit - Kev is principal cornet player of my old Chch brass band, that I left a little over 2 years ago, and he and I had a few conversations about the best way to analogise (is that a real word?) breathing techniques when teaching younger players.
Anyway, I got home and found this note, and I thought, "Well, that's a little out of the blue, but I shall call him." Because up until a week ago, no-one from my old band even knew I was back in town. As I dialled his number, a thought stole into my mind: 'What if Todd, our old drum major who txt me last week, told Kev I was in town, and this is just a pretext to draw me, to lure me, back into the brass banding community?' And then I thought no, Ally, you are just being paranoid, that is ridiculous, Kev would never pull that kind of underhand stunt.
So I called Kev, and we did the mildly awkward chat of people who were never close, and who are catching up on a few years' downtime. After we had both briefly summed up our lives there was a conversational lull, and I thought: Aha! Now he will ask me about breathing.
He did not. He said, "To cut to the chase: I want you to come back and play front row."
As he said this - and please forgive my rather over-dramatic retelling - brass banding scenes flashed through my mind. Horrific brass banding scenes. Flashbacks to 9am marching practice in the rain, when your cornet (which is made of METAL) sticks to your face; interminable ANZAC day services during which you cannot laugh or fart or cough; the terror of going to practice completely aware that you can not play your part; any number of Wednesday evenings at Andrea's, desperately trying to find a reasonable-sounding excuse to not go to rehearsal; ten-hour bus trips, ridiculous bandcest* dramas, cliques and carolling and power struggles and section practices and three-hour shoe polishing marathons! The complete and utter wankery of my 12+ years in brass banding struck me like a well-thrown tuba.
And as I thought this, the Bad Thing happened - I was all geared up to say, "No, I'm sorry but I really just don't have the time at the moment," but somehow everything went wrong and my synapses misfired and instead I said, "Give me a cornet and I'll be there!" And a large smile spread across my face. And I'm still not quite sure why.
*bandcest is when you hook up with someone in your band. It is like incest but worse.