There’s an old Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown is playing in the sandbox with other children. Fine. Snoopy is portraying a World War I flying ace. Fine. All normal. Everything is as it should be.

 But . . .

“Curse you, Red Baron!” shouts the dog in his cartoon panel, and he flies over Charlie Brown in the next one, knocking him completely over.

Charlie Brown says from the middle of his daze, “I never know what’s going on.”

Me, too. My whole life seems to be reacting to something coming in from left field. True, it’s never been the Red Baron or Snoopy, but it’s only a matter of time.

What do you do if you are Charlie Brown the way I so often am? Well, first you have to realize that Charlie Brown is a loveable character. So are you, whichever version of humanity you take on, and so am I.

In my loveable, flute-player persona, who is only a little younger than my writer identity, I’m getting out that flute and working on hard music, finding different approaches to things like Rodrigo’s Concierto Pastoral. The score appears to represent the randomness of paint being flung on manuscript paper, but, no, there is logic. Knowing the logic makes the notes more playable, and these days, finding that logic is a good use of brain power. All-encompassing. Nothing outside those notes exists during that time. A form of meditation, you might say. Also, I like playing the flute and conquering musical dares.  I’ve never played the Rodrigo so well.

After talking with a fellow flute-player, whose husband, I noticed, took their cat for a walk the last time we played flute duets, we decided we should figure out how to play duets across the airways. Our systems are not exactly compatible, but we’ve figured out that if I can install a WhatsApp on my iPad, we might be in business.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure that out yesterday. No go so far. As always, with computer stuff, I reached a point of no return. So I left that monster and returned to my novel in progress, attempting not to growl too loud or too long. That might upset my fictional girl.

And she bites.


Afterwards, I attempted to procure certain flute duets online with the idea that I will at some point slay the WhatsApp dragon and play these pieces with my friend. Same thing. Grr! Everybody else knows how to do these things, but it makes me feel like I’m back in junior high after a missed week of classes. Or daydreaming. Algebra? Oh, well. I did not distinguish myself in that classroom, not with that window to stare through. All that freedom outside.


Not a great student.

Me, though, who always scored so high in the California Achievement Tests. Remember them? Do they even have them anymore? I used to score so high, way up in the clouds, which is where I figured everybody scored, but which no doubt dumbfounded my teachers who must have thought my intelligence was at least somewhat marginal. At least I could dress myself.

Dreamers can have that affect.

But I read. I read everything that wasn’t nailed down, and some things that were. Somehow, I picked up whatever the California folks thought was important. Not that it gave me straight A’s. And I played the flute. And the piano. And dodgeball. Got through junior high. Even college. Had kids. Man! Think of that!

I still dreamed, though. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer, I guess. Probably, some dreamers can figure out the installation of WhatsApp and the procurement of online sheet music.

John helped me with the sheet music. Now I have some Telemann duets—for some reason we printed out the same ones in two different formats. Anybody need some Telemann flute duets?  I told one of our sons about my issue with the app.

“Can you help me with that?” I asked.

He’s an engineer and knows everything.

“That’s easy,” he said, so I’m questioning where he got those genes.

It’s easy? Good. I’m glad. We’ll get to it sometime.

The app is still not installed, and my friend and I have not yet played our flute duets. The cats and husbands in both houses are safe for now. But I think that’s only temporary.

By authorsusanshaw

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