The truth shall set you free.
That's what I was thinking to myself with reference to my coworkers, with maybe just a hint of spite, as we drove away from the memorial service at which I was required to (envision me using finger quotes here:) "play" the "piano". Now, lots of people over-use the finger quotes, but not me. I only use them when the word they surround should be interpretted as absolutely dripping with irony. And, unfortunately, that's true here, too.
Now, use your vivid imagination skills to envision the following, and I'll try to be descriptive:
I was at the office, merely hours before the aforementioned event, when my boss wandered in with a toy keyboard slung haphazardly under her arm.
"It's pouring out there," she said. "Too wet for my electric piano. I bought this for my granddaugher for fifty bucks. You couldn't ruin it if you tried."
And that's when I knew this "performance" was going to be "awesome".
"Don't worry," she added. "I brought a coupla double D batteries, so we're all set."
I took it home to practice. When I switched it on, it made a sort of hissing static sound, like someone breathing hard into the other end of a cell phone. What it lost in quality it made up for with the fact that I could choose to imitate nearly any instrument in the orchestra with a simple touch of a button. I briefly considered using the oboe setting with a background cymbal rhythm, but ultimately abandoned that idea in favor of the simple piano option, which sounded curiously like the music on an icecream truck.
My sister double dared me to turn it onto 'harpsichord' and play on only the black keys for an Asian-inspired vibe, calling it "Cherry Blossoms over Nagano".
Hind sight is 20/20; I should have done it.
Fast forward a couple of hours, and there I was, shivering in a park in front of a bunch of strangers. My hair was drenched, and my dress slacks were wet nearly to my knees. I put the plastic keyboard on the peeling picnic table, and dropped my bottom onto the wooden bench. When I put my fingers on the keys, they were nearly level with my chin. Puurrrrrfect.
My coworker was kind enough to stand in front of the table holding my three ring binder with sheet music in it so I could see. By nodding furiously, I was able to cue her to turn the page about 4 measures late.
I can't blame her, though. Anyone who reads music would have been completely lost by that point anyway.
It was absolutely unrecognizable.
I am telling you what-- I kept pushing keys down, but I don't know which ones or why. It sounded exactly like someone let an entire bag of cats loose in a piano show room and hid chunks of tuna around the keys. It was mind-blowingly, amazingly, shockingly bad. I'm not being modest here, and you can ask my husband. He was the one three tables over, burying his face into Bug's neck to muffle his giggling.
I vaguely remember saying "sorry, guys" at some point in the middle. And then, when I couldn't take it another minute, I just landed on a couple of Cs, let them twang out for as long as the electronic keyboard would allow, exhaled, and lifted both hands with a finished flare.
The upside is that I'm reasonably sure I won't be asked to participate next year.