So the air conditioning wasn't working in church yesterday, resulting in a very moist experience for everyone. For some inexplicable reason I offered to play the organ in church a long time ago and was finally asked to do so yesterday. Apparently I had forgotten how much torture and personal distress is involved in such a commitment, much like how I forget why I don't swill Tabasco sauce more often. Anyway, not only was the experience uncomfortable per my usual experiences with it, but the heat in the building made my fingers so slippery that they kept sliding across the keyboard and hitting several wrong notes. Fortunately, I wisely chose every wrong stop setting I could manage, making it impossible for me to hear my own playing and to know exactly when I was making these mistakes. So it all worked out in the end.
From there I ran to Primary, dragging Peawhistle behind me. Fred and Ethel (you remember Fred and Ethel) had lovingly agreed to watch Peawhistle while I played the organ and they would get their chance once again since they were forced at gunpoint to teach the four-year-olds in Sunday School (or at least I only assumed they were threatened to do it as I cannot envision any other possibility in which they would do so willingly). Surprisingly and gratefully enough, the Primary room was not nearly as hot as the chapel was. That, or running between locations either cooled me off or miraculously caused me to shed several pounds of weight. Given my unchanged girth, I'll have to go with my first assumption.
Here's the thing about playing the piano for the Primary. It's easy to focus when you're forced to pay attention to the words in the verses you're singing. Playing the accompaniment, however, presents a slightly different situation. Sure, you have to pay attention to what you're playing or you'll play the wrong notes (more on that in a bit). However, the song never changes for you, the pianist. You play the same tune repeatedly, regardless of the verse. And when I say repeatedly, I mean repeatedly, because, you know, this is Primary. So I'm usually alert and ready to roll for the first few times through the song, but eventually my mind begins to wander a bit because I start to get a little too confident, having played the same song 16 times within the last 30 minutes. This is when I always make a mistake. I forget where I am on the page, where my fingers are on the keyboard, what key I'm playing in, what song we're singing, and why I'm playing in the first place. After several wrong notes, I catch up and pretend like I totally meant to do that. And two songs later I do the exact same thing. And what am I thinking about that makes my mind wander? If yesterday was any indication of the norm, which it absolutely was, probably Batman. The next time you hear me make a mistake that I hadn't made before? Batman.
Back to Fred and Ethel. Primary was proceeding fairly smoothly when my crime-fighting reverie was disrupted by a very familiar and grating sound: whining. If there is one child-related activity that I absolutely cannot abide, it is whining. And if there is one activity that Peawhistle excels at, it is precisely that. Peawhistle's whines typically start low, as most children's do I imagine. Low and unalarming. At the first hint of resistance, the sound gradually escalates to a full-blown siren's wail, ending finally with the Screaming and the Crying. Peawhistle's sound had begun low and had gradually taken on some volume by the time I recognized her voice. This will not do. I stood up from the piano to see over it so I could confirm that in fact my progeny was the one making that dispicable noise. Fred, the silly man, was attempting to reason with the child. (Such inexperience....) I caught Peawhistle's eye and, shaking my head, gave her the most powerfully disapproving look I could muster, indicating to her that The Whining Would Cease to Commence Immediately. She came up short and sat down, hopefully terrified. I certainly know Ethel was terrified, given the look on her face at that very moment. I can only equate her expression to the reaction you would expect if I had quietly stood and announced that I was the anti-christ foretold in the Bible and that the mass slaughter of innocents would begin momentarily. I ignored Ethel's horror and sat back down, satisfied that the hole in the dam had been plugged, if only temporarily. I think I heard more minor Peawhistle-related whining some time later, but it ended abruptly, possibly with Fred offering her cash if she'd shut up.
My time at church ended on a high note in the parking lot as I was preparing to depart in my vehicle. The bishop, who had been visiting Primary that day to hear his youngest son, Peter, give his first Primary talk (which was quite possibly the best, and definitely most exuberant, Primary talk I've ever heard, ending with a very decisive "AMEN" at its conclusion) stopped me before I could leave.
"That was a great Evil Eye you gave your daughter in Primary."
"Did you like that?"
"Yeah, I did. That was awesome."
While I detected the finest hint of sarcasm in his end of the conversation, I instead decided to take him, the Grand Poobah of Scowling himself, at his word and was instantly flattered.
And people act like parenting is so hard or something.