I'd had enough of everyone trying to tell me their method, or their idea of how I should learn to play my bass. So I decided to take a break from everyone's "helpfulness," packed my bookbag, and left for the park. Into the bag went some spare clothes (you never know when you might need them), the current book I was reading, the How To book that I had picked up at the library, my sketchbook and materials to work out the revisions (I'm left-handed by the way), and some other odds and ends. I was already frustrated from being unable to locally find a book on left-handed bass playing, and didn't really need the added stress my family was putting on me. Seeing that all was in readiness, I left.
Once I was there, I looked for a quiet, secluded spot to take temporary residence in. Spying a shaded copse of trees near the pond, I headed over, thinking this is perfect! Peace and quiet at last! I took out an old blanket I had brought with me, sat down, and got everything situated. Deciding to first try revising the instructions in the book first, I took it out of my bag, along with my sketchbook, pencil, and eraser. Try as I might, I couldn't make much progress with it, and took my bass out of its case to see what I could do. Because I already knew how to play one instrument, the alto saxophone, and had read some stuff about basic tuning, I thought I might be able to tune my bass by ear. Eventually, I had it as well-tuned as I could manage, which really wasn't all that great, and decided to just sort of let my fingers wander where they would.
I don't know how long I sat there, but eventually I felt someone's eyes on me, and saw their shadow. Suddenly, that someone knelt down in back of me, and put their hands over mine, as if to guide them. Curious, I turned around to see who the owner of these hands was. Did I ever get a surprise! It was none other than the famous Paul McCartney! But he didn't look right, he looked as he had in Help!, which was one of my favourite movies. Utterly speechless, I stuttered out, "You...you're...Paul McCartney! Wha'...what are you doing here?"
He just smiled and nodded, saying, "Well, I just 'appened to be in the area, when I 'eard somebody playin', an' followed the sound of it."
Confused, I asked, "But why would you even bother with a nobody like me? I can't even play!"
"Ah, but you can luv, with a lit'le help. I noticed that you're a lefty, like me, an' I know how difficult it is to learn to play backwards from the way most people do."
Again, he smiled as I realized what he was saying, and also probably because I looked like a beached fish, with my mouth gaping and all.
"You've got to be kiddin'. I mean, you're Paul McCartney for God's sake! I'm nobody particularly special. My family can't even agree on what to do with me! That certainly doesn't speak very well for me."
"On the contrary, John's aunt wanted 'im to 'ave absolutely nothin' to do with music. But he stuck with it, an' look where he ended up! Yeah, yer playin' may be kinda crude right now, but ya've got the gift luv. That's why I wanted to 'elp ya. Plus, I think me mates will be quite impressed by ya, even John! So what do ya say? Ya gonna let me 'ave the pleasure o' bein' yer teacher?"
Amazed, I just sat there for a few seconds, while it all sunk in. I thought to myself, my God! Is this really happening? Is PAUL McCARTNEY actually asking me, ME! if I'll let him teach me?! I must be dreaming! But if this is a dream, I don't ever want to wake up! Wait...just a sec...why does he look this young? I know he's older than my dad...this is really strange...Oh well, who am I to question the actions of fate? All this ran thru my head in a matter of seconds.
"Of course! Why would I say no?! I'm not that crazy!"
"Gear! Let me see yer bass, I'd like to see 'ow you've tuned it."
He fiddles with it a bit. "Hmm, ya tuned this yerself?"
I nodded. "uh huh."
"Do ya 'appen to play any other instruments?"
"Yeah, I play alto sax in my school band. Been playing 'bout eight years."
"Really? That would explain why ya 'ave yer bass tuned the way ya do. Ya tuned it to the scale that yer most familiar with. I'm guessin' that ya know 'ow to read music, right?"
"Yeah, somewhat like that."
We both laugh at this comment. "Good. Yer finally relaxin'. Jus' don' think of who I am, just think of me as 'Paul.' Nuthin' more, nuthin' less. By the way, what's yer name? Ya didn't mention it."
"Oh! I'm sorry! I'm Skylar." I answer with a blush.
"Right. Yer Skylar, I'm Paul, and that's that!"
He smiles, he seems to do that a lot I notice, and I can't help but smile back.
"Well luv, let's get to it. There's lots to learn, an' not enough hours in the day!"
"Definitely. So where do we start?"
"Why, at the beginning of course!"
"Oh ho! And what's this?" he says as he picks up my sketch book.
"Yer an artist too? Yer a bird after me own 'eart!" he laughs, as I nod yes.
"So were ya tryin' to teach yerself by reversin' the pictures in this book?"
"Yeah but it wasn't goin' so great. Technical drawings aren't exactly my stront suit."
"These are still quite good. Well, I can't seem to keep me mind on the task at hand, so let's commence with the teachin' an' the learnin'."
"Right. So let's."
Several hours later, my hands were rather sore, but I was quite pleased. I probably looked like I was radioactive or something, that's how much I was smiling. After I had gotten past my awe and nervousness, I realized that Paul was just a regular guy, not some kind of superhuman. He seemed to be very relaxed, and rather proud of himself, as well he should be for the progress we had made. I noticed that the sky was slowly starting to darken, heralding the onset of night. I didn't want this day to end, knowing that nobody would ever believe me when I told them my story of what had happened today. Perhaps reading my thoughts, Paul looked at me and asked, "Would ya like to come meet the lads? An' maybe have dinner with us?"
"Yes! I mean, so long's you don't think the guys will mind."
"Are you kiddin'? Once they meet ya, methinks they'll be jus' as entranced as me!"
"You're kidding. I'm really not that interesting, or exciting."
"Ya underestimate yerself Skylar. P'raps me mates will be able to help me convince ya to think better of yerself."
"Oh Paul, you think too highly of me. But I'd love to go back with you and meet the guys. Besides, I don't really wanna go home an' face my family just yet. So this makes the perfect excuse not to!"
"Gear! Let's go!"
And so we began the walk back to where Paul and the rest of the Beatles were staying. I was still surprised by the events of this day that had started out to be so miserable, but instead, was the best day of my life thus far.