Because I am/was a lazy bum, most of my friends are more highly educated than I am (does the word "highly" belong in that sentence?). This is fine, as it serves to keep me in my place (it's also helped me hone my well-developed self-deprecating sense of humor). And it means I got to have a lot of fun retail jobs while they were off getting drunk at college.
One of my friends is a professor of Spanish at a private college in some state on the other side of the country. He's currently kicking my butt in a Scrabble game on Facebook (he figured out that he wins 4 out of every 5 games he plays with me. I really didn't want to know that, I guess, but I'm addicted. So? He's really good at Scrabble. That one game out of 5 that I win is celebrated like, I don't know, something historical and wonderful that was won which everyone thought would be lost. You fill in the blanks, smartypants), and on Monday, he was in town visiting.
I've known this guy for a long time: we went to high school at around the same time (though I'm about 3 years older than he is; if we'd gone to the same high school, I wouldn't have deigned to talk to him. This could be why I have so few friends). We met through my flute teacher, who was also his flute teacher. He got more of her - she taught at his fancy music school, so he saw her all during the week instead for one hour at a private lesson. I think she liked him and the other kids she saw in that program more than she liked me (at the time) because they were terrific musicians, and obviously well-trained, but I don't know, that could be the scared 16 year old kid I was, speaking. They were fearless musicians. These kids had musical dreams that some of them actually fulfilled. Even though I was older, he and his buddies at the fancy music school were a bit more advanced than I was. She'd pair us up into groups occasionally to sight-read, and because I was shy, and unconfident, they walked all over me for awhile. Also, when I'm in a group of people who know each other well like that, I tend to get intimidated, and these kids could play. My friend can B.S. his way through any piece of music, and it took me a lot longer to learn how to do that convincingly (I have been known to cry at difficult passages). But we all grew up, he moved away (we kept in touch sporadically until the Miracle of Facebook), and I continued to study privately with my flute teacher until well into my 30s. I learned a lot from her, including how to count, sight-read, and play in tune (my proudest skill). He went off to college and got some fancy advanced degrees in interesting subjects and became a teacher. Oh, I'm sorry: a professor. And me and our flute teacher nourished and grew a friendship out of our student-teacher relationship that I treasure to this day. There's nobody I'd rather room with at a flute convention, that's for sure.
Incredible, isn't it?
Anyway, my friend was in town on Monday. He'd been traveling, doing some research on a subject I'm not going to name here (it's interesting, a bit risque, and his own business to tell), and we all got together for lunch and quartets (we were joined by another flutist). I was surprised that I had quite a bit of information about the subject he's researching (let's just say it's not something Nice People know about; then again, when did I ever profess to be "Nice"?), and it was fun to discuss it with him and our former flute teacher, now our friend. Now, I couldn't go on and write a scholarly paper or anything on the subject (nor would I want to), or probably, any subject, but it was great to have a highbrow conversation about an indecent topic and not feel like I was uninformed and stupid.
And the quartets were a lot of fun, too.
This has come to mind because for the last couple of days I have been feeling less than brainy. At work I have been slow; I'm not dyslexic but you wouldn't know it from listening to me talk (a little while ago I was telling my boss and her secretary that the second floor bathroom is closed and being repaired. They asked how I knew, and I stated that "there's a door on the sign"). Yesterday I managed to date something November 19, 2010; I filled in an Excel spreadsheet with the wrong data and didn't understand how, exactly, I had managed to do that; I couldn't figure out how multiplying something by 0.9 results in being 10% less than the original number even though I tested it and can see that it works... My brain was fried, and I don't even know why. I have done nothing to cause this (i.e., there has been no alcohol in my recent past). Today I feel a bit more logical, but I wonder if I just need more flute playing. I was smarter when I knew it was in my future. Luckily flute choir starts tomorrow night, and I'm counting on those 2.5 hours to smarten me up.