Tuesday, July 06, 2004


I just realized what I was doing: sitting in a pitch dark room (other than the light coming off the laptop screen) with a box fan blowing at my legs, listening to the night noises outside (where it's also fantastically dark) and shoving Oreos in my mouth...at 5 a.m. And not even real Oreos--these are the new Golden Oreos that the boyfriend picked up. Vanilla cookie with chocolate cream. Have you tried these? They don't even taste good, but that's not gonna stop me from eating them. I'm typically not eating cookies in the pre-dawn hours, but I was hungry and didn't feel like turning on the kitchen light to actually make something to eat. I went to bed way too early last night, as I probably will again tonight, because my sleep cycle is out of whack. It's not unusual for me to go through weeks (or even months) where I sleep in shifts--a few hours here or there. Going to bed and sleeping for eight hours straight through? A dream, my friends, I can only dream. (Once in a great while it actually happens.) But I digress, which is not easy to do when you haven't even started...

I mentioned in the previous post that I'm a procrastinator, and I'm not the only one in the house. Although the boyfriend and I may look like very different people on the outside, we're really cut from the same cloth in terms of what makes us tick. We both have this wonderful ability (and facility) to fake our way through things and come out smellin' like a coupl'a roses. Case in point:

He was scheduled to play a 90-minute set on the 4th with a guitarist he'd never played with and, in fact, had never met. The guitarist had called him for other gigs, but this was the first time boyfriend was available to play with him. The guitarist dropped off two of his CD's at the guard gate at our little enclave the week before, along with a list of tunes (off the CD's) that would likely comprise the set list. A day or so later the boyfriend did a quick listen to all of the tunes and then set the CD's aside. Fast forward to the 4th. He still hadn't learned the tunes and he was scheduled to hit the stage in about, oh, four hours. He suggested we head to the beach early so he could kick back in his sand chair and learn the tunes there. So that's what we did. We got to the beach early (and were glad we did since we got a prime parking spot, it later grew very crowded), found a spot under a tree to park our chairs just feet from the car and settled in for the remainder of the morning. And boyfriend sat there with his headphones one and wrote out (drum) charts for each song on the set list. He stopped at one point to walk to the stage across the street for a sound check and to tune the (stage) drums. He returned, finished writing his charts and hit the stage about 10 minutes after completing the last one. Musicians at his level amaze me. I'd be a nervous fucking wreck. But he does that kind of shit all the time--breezes right in (and often he's playing having never heard the tunes) and kicks ass. Although the rock station sponsored the concert, the guitarist he was performing with plays mostly jazz. Not straight-ahead, but the more accessible adult contemporary kind that's become so popular--at least most of his originals are in that vein. When the boyfriend came off stage, he looked at me and giggled and said, "Well, I guess I pulled it off." I'll say! There were several of his fellow musicians in the audience and every one of them stopped him as we tried to make our way to the food to tell him how great he'd played.

I tell this story not to brag about his talent (if you heard him play, it would speak for itself), but because it got me thinking how many times I've done the same thing. I totally fake my way through something--convinced that at any moment I'm going to be called out for the fraud that I am--and end up getting raves instead. So then I wonder: Are some of us just wired that way? Would no amount of studying beforehand make us feel adequately prepared or trained? And what is it about the payoff from that particular brand of adrenaline that comes only when one is able to pull off one of those "Can't they see I'm a fraud?!" kind of experiences that keeps us doing that? Because it is a frigging rush--even though it doesn't seem like a good kind of rush while it's happening. And the confidence part is sneaky. It's one thing to have confidence in ourselves, quite another to believe that others have the same confidence in us. Boyfriend's a good example of that. He doesn't have an arrogant bone in his body; you'll never meet a more humble musician. (I credit his parents for that one.) But he knows who he is as a performer, and I would venture to say he's quite comfortable living in that quietly confident space. So when I translate that to my own experience, I can see that I, too, am secretly confident about my ability to do certain things, but I'm always astounded that anyone else would have the same confidence in me.

Maybe that makes me sound like some kind of pathetic low self-esteem loser. But the older I get, the more I tend to believe that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way. Are you one, too? Are you a member of the "Good Faker Club"? Because if you are, I say, "Welcome!"


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