Dealing with expectations

It can be hard handling the expectations of people you’ve just met


Day two. I had originally planned on airing my opinions on important topics – climate change, terrorism, and anything else that hit the headlines. Kind of a chance for me to flesh out what I really think, which I’m sure is actually pretty hazy and undefined. But I thought, maybe I’ll find that I know more than I think, and maybe it will be therapeutic to get it all out there.

And maybe it will, when I get around to it. But today I thought I’d write about what happened this morning. See if I can make any sense out of the jangling feelings I have at the moment.

My wife and I went to church (as we usually do, one of these modern, contemporary churches with music that sounds like its straight off the radio) and I had planned to catch up with one of their musos after the meeting. We’d met on Friday night, at a men’s event which I had gone along to for that very purpose, to meet and get to know other guys. He is the main bass player at church, and nearly every week I’ve seen him up there, rocking away. He’s pretty good and looks like he enjoys himself. I had already discounted the idea of joining the team because I am actively involved enough in my other bands, and also I had played in church bands for over a decade, leaving my wife to sit in the congregation by herself almost all of that time. I had promised her and myself that it wouldn’t happen again.

But I wanted to talk to him, and I wanted them (the team) to know that I could play, even though I wasn’t intending to join. I suppose it’s a bit like flirting with someone you don’t intend to do anything with – sending out signals but leaving people potentially frustrated when you don’t follow through (I should explain that these music teams are always looking for recruits). So we spoke about bass guitars, effects pedals and bass amps, and he said come up and check out his rig and his guitar on Sunday. So I decided I would.

I must admit I had mixed feelings about it. What if I got up on stage and he had forgotten entirely about his offer, and wandered off the stage just as I was about to say hi? What if I went up and he was talking with others, and I stood around feeling awkward for 2-3 minutes before sidling off the stage in as nonchalant a manner as possible? What if I walked up there too soon? Would I look too eager, like a try hard?

Oh the inner wrestlings of our minds! I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in experiencing all these inner scenarios. If I am, you’ll probably stop reading around about now…

Anyway, so I go up on stage and he sees me and remembers his offer and slaps me on the back and starts to show me around. That goes okay, but as we talk I remember him saying that he used to play guitar and only took up bass 3 years ago, to fill a gap in the team. And it shows, because as I start talking enthusiastically about the difference between his bass and mine, and the fact that he lays his speaker cabinet on the floor to get the bass rumbling through the floor but I don’t because it’s too boomy, I see a disconnect going on in his mind – he’s just not interested.

He’s keen to show me everything and tell me everything, but doesn’t seem to want know my thoughts or feelings. And after showing me a bunch of stuff, he then throws in a comment I had been expecting all along – was I interested in joining the team?

Of course, he had every right to ask the question. I’ve already admitted that I was kind of flirting (a musos flirt, not a sexual one of course), showing a interest in everything etc. and a part of me kind of wanted to be asked, and also wanted to be involved. But I knew I couldn’t, and so I haltingly explained why, and made a lame offer that I could always step in as an emergency player if they needed me, if I was given enough notice.

Well of course, that would never happen. They had teams that met every Thursday night, you had to learn songs, show your skill and commitment etc. No way would they use someone who hadn’t played with them yet, hadn’t shown a level of commitment and hadn’t already learnt the songs (in my defence I’m very good at learning songs, but they couldn’t know that).

Anyway, after some dialogue around all of this, he suddenly cut the conversation short, said he had to get a bite to eat before the next service, and off he went. And I felt awful.

Why do I feel awful? I hadn’t made any promises. Can’t a guy show interest in another guy’s gear, talk shop, and leave it at that? I know he had a right to ask if I was interested, and probably it was fair for him to expect that I would be, but it still hurt a little at the end when he just cut it short. Was that what all this was about? Just trying to enlist another player?

I hope not, and time will tell. I can understand if he was a little disappointed, but I would have had this conversation with someone on the music team sooner or later. The opportunity would need to be have been addressed, even if just so I could say to myself I’ve ruled it out. But I hope that next time I see him we can just chat as fellow musos. Now the agenda has been removed, maybe it can just be that. I hope so.

Author: Terry Lewis

I'm a guy in his 50's who thought it might be fun to write about day to day issues - the stuff that life is made of. It's helped me think and develop some deeper perspectives. I enjoyed it so much I thought I might start posting it in a blog, and here we are! I intend to mix it up as much as I can. I am a thinking kind of guy so the majority of my posts will probably have some kernel of truth or (hopefully) wisdom nestled in there somewhere. But I also hope to have some light hearted posts as well. Too much thinking can make life pretty dull! Anyway, hope you like it.

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