Today is a holiday I think we can all relate to; September 5th National Be Late for Something Day. I’m yet to find a person who hasn’t been late for something at some time in their lives, and most people can relate to being late for something extremely important to them.
I recently had the opportunity to play with the Alla Breve Flute Choir at the National Flute Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was something we rehearsed for eagerly and I was looking forward to it immensely. When exciting day came I was up early getting ready and full of excitement. Since the convention hotel was booked when I registered, I was staying across the street at another hotel and had a bit of a walk through the muggy Las Vegas heat to get to our performance site. What I thought would take me twenty minutes got me lost and later than expected, and to compound the problem, our group was not in the spot we were to perform in.
I tried to calm myself down as I made my way up two flights of stairs to the convention information booth. They explained that the performance had been moved due to an issue with the fire marshal and sent me back down to find my group. I trotted back down the stairs to the new location with my arms full of instruments and music stand and came up empty again. By this time it was five minutes past our performance time and my emotions kicked in. Crying, I ran up the stairs yet again to get help. The lady at the information booth took pity on me and offered to guide me to my performance location and I dutifully followed her as she led me right back down to the very empty spot I had just been.
Together we wandered the halls of the hotel searching for my group and found them tucked away at the very end of a dead-end hallway that apparently did not vex the fire marshal. As I came running up the conductor of my group was addressing the audience and saw me frantically pulling out my instrument. She made some small talk and I was able to get seated, but the entire first song was spent sweating and trying to stop crying. Eventually I calmed down and we played a beautiful performance, but it was an extremely stressful experience for me.
After the performance, members of our group cheered me up with tales of their own tardiness for performances. I should count myself lucky that I even had my instrument in hand after hearing of the woman who made it all the way to her gig to find that she had an empty case since the flute was sitting on her stand in her home practice area. It turns out that tardiness happens to the best of us.
Have you ever been late for something truly important to you? Leave a comment and let me know that I’m not alone!