Last night, it was my family’s turn to celebrate and harass me for my birthday. In our family, it’s tradition to open gifts together, and so my husband and children gave me their cards and gifts to open in front of my mom while we had cake (the best part, in my opinion!). In the small gift my husband handed me was a box to a lightbulb, which really confused me. I opened the box, and inside was the barrel to a clarinet (once upon a time, I was a clarinet player). At this point, I realized that my husband and children had bought me a new clarinet for my birthday. I was thrilled because my son started playing in the band at school this year, and his instrument of choice was the clarinet. I had given him my old one to play, leaving me without a clarinet to pick up from time to time. At this point, my husband got up to get me the case for the rest of the instrument – and when I saw the case, I realized that not only did my husband buy me a new clarinet, he had bought me a Buffet R-13 clarinet. This is a very, very special clarinet – most professionals ASPIRE to play on one. It’s the clarinet equivalent of playing on a Stradivarius violin. I had to hold back tears as I opened the case, because at one point in my life, it was my dream to own one and play in an orchestra. I’m still very shocked that my husband went to the trouble to find one for me, and I have to say that out of all of the gifts he’s given me in our 16 years of marriage, this one took the most thought. The reality is, I will almost assuredly never play in a professional orchestra, for that was the dream of a teenager from long ago, but this clarinet will definitely be played here at home, for my own enjoyment. It’s one thing that is truly just for me.
In listening to “Being Followed” and considering where the band might be in their own careers, I have to wonder if the band isn’t at the same place. Maybe they are playing for themselves at this point, for their own enjoyment. Perhaps chart success isn’t the carrot they are chasing after – and maybe now is where the real fun is going to start for them. There is something to be said for being able to stand up and say that you’re doing whatever it is that you do for the simple enjoyment of doing it. In my mind at this moment, that will bring FAR more success than any chart-topper ever will.