I’m usually not one to wear a silly sequined fedora and oversized t-shirt while standing in the rain for an hour on a chilly, windy Saturday morning. But on St. Patrick’s Day, I did just that, along with dozen or so other adults and a handful of kids playing music on a parade float gliding down Devine Street toward the rabble in Five Points.
It was fun. Period. Just plain fun.
The idea of fun is something that’s often lost on us grown-ups. We spend so much time “adulting” - taking care of business, taking care of family, taking care of work, taking care of everything but ourselves – that fun never even registers as a priority.
But I’ve been working on finding fun, and on St. Pat’s it came in the form of those silly clothes.
Actually the silly clothes didn’t make the morning fun – they just made me feel more a part of the fun. The real fun was getting caught up in something bigger than just me - something that made people smile, laugh, sing, dance and just have a good time.
I am learning to play the ukulele by taking an adult rock band class at Freeway Music, and we scored a spot on the school’s parade float to play several songs the mile or so down Devine Street into Five Points. Our band, Serious FM, consists of three guitar players (one sometimes playing mandolin), a drummer and my uke. My other Freeway class – the Sip ‘n Strum Ukeladies – marched and played alongside the float.
We had carefully watched the weather all week trading texts about who was in charge of chasing away the rain. On Saturday morning, we arrived at the appointed spot to meet the float. We were garbed in wacky green glasses, silly hats, green beads, Freeway Music t-shirts and rain ponchos.
Organizers had said the parade would happen rain or shine, so at 10 a.m., we launched – in the rain.
Once the wheels on the flatbed started turning, however, we were the rock band and the ukulele band … not the professionals, parents, caregivers, spouses, coaches and bosses we “adult” as every day. For that hour, we rocked, we skipped, we sang, we strummed, we danced.
As we rode toward Five Points, I had a flash of that saying “dance like no one is looking.” In glancing around at my friends on and around that float, I think each one of us was living that for an hour.
If the elderly piano teacher of my youth had taught me to play the way we are learning music as adults, I might have ended up at Carnegie Hall (or at least in a honky-tonk music hall). Back then, performing meant playing a scary one-person recital of uninteresting classical music on an empty stage. That wasn’t fun.
This is fun.
Of course, it’s fun to discover I can actually learn to play an instrument through sheer practice, patience and perseverance. But it’s also fun to discover the fellowship and friendship from people I never would have met otherwise.
And we all deserve a little fun, right?