June 29th, 2010; The Urban Race

Have you ever wanted a do over? To just say “take two” and start again? I know I have…more than once in my life and in more than one kind of circumstance! Tonight at my first piano of the night (piano 20 in my marathon to play all 29 Manhattan pianos) I had my friend TJ Rosenthal of the band The Bowery Riots meet me there to sing a duet! We sang one of my favorite Bowery Riots tunes “You’re Not Like the Other Ones” Now normally we do this song with me on piano, TJ on guitar, and the two of us singing. We hadn’t done the song in quite a while but decided to just give it a whirl anyway! Unfortunately, the piano was about a half step out of tune so sounded TERRIBLE with the guitar! Obstacle number one…so decided after the first few chords we should just scrap the guitar! Obstacle number 2…about halfway through the song I completely forgot the chords of the breakdown section! And I mean completely blanked and just started playing random chord progressions until I figured out what came next and could continue playing! DO OVER!!! “Lord, its me Jennifer, yeah you know, your sweet little Jennifer….well Lord, I’ve been a really nice girl lately and eat all my vegetables and say nice things to people all the time…so could you please just push rewind and let me do that again? Please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” Uhh if only life worked that way! But instead we face obstacles in life (and in music) and we just have to deal with it as it comes and do the best we can! Yes, sometimes we trip and fall flat on our face, but since we can’t get a do over….we have to do our best to just get back up with as much grace as possible and keep on truckin!

A friend tonight told me about an awesome race they do here in NYC called the Urban Race! Its an 8 mile race on the outskirts of Manhattan and along the way are 3 obstacles but they don’t tell you what they are! You are forced to meet them head on, running at full speed, and to do the best you can! But I was reminded of something beautiful tonight that we often forget. People don’t really care that we fall and are actually quite quick to forgive as long as the “trip and fall” is acknowledged and dealt with gracefully…and sometimes they even love you more for it! And I think it’s because we’ve all been there! We’ve all failed and wanted to cry out “DO OVER” or “take 2” but if we stop taking ourselves so seriously and have a little laugh, it gives everyone else permission to enjoy our experience and help us get back up! I once saw Ingrid Michaelson play and she started a song with a terrible first note and started cracking up and then said, “I’m sorry,” we’re just going to try that again! The crowd went crazy with applause and cheers, as if to say, “we’ve been there too, and we’re so glad to see your human just like all of us.”

Piano number two for the night was on the steps of Julliard in Lincoln Center… so talk about pressure to perform! And on top of that, all the keys were painted white…which let me tell you, is trickier to play than it might seem. Luckily, having already “fallen” once in Central Park, I realized that its not as scary as our mind makes it out to be and that it’s not as hard to get back up as we think!

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