Those who have read my blog since my youngest son was 15 know how I brag about “Seth.” But occasionally a charming incompetence shines through and humbles me. Like when he was subbing for his teacher at the University of Miami and got flown to Los Angeles for a gig that cost $1000 for the cheap seats: He forgot his shoes and texted mom in a panic before taking an Uber to Macy’s on his dinner break …
This morning’s story has a bit of that humbling blush to it but his problem-solving skills have improved.
Now he’s 22 and in his first year of a masters program at the Frost School of Music. As the teaching assistant for the jazz program’s saxophone studio, he was headed to New Orleans for a conference known as JEN, the Jazz Education Network. He’d be performing with the Concert Jazz Band and possibly others — wasn’t sure if he had clarinet or flute parts but knew he needed those instruments.
But the University of Miami is still on winter break so the buildings have different hours. It was 8:30 p.m. and instead of being open until midnight the music building housing practice rooms and instrument lockers had clicked close at 8 p.m. His flight was first thing in the morning.
His housemate with the car had other obligations so Seth was left at the locked door on the phone with campus security.
Nope, not unless he had some paperwork from someone very important –specifically a professor who everyone knew got up early and would probably be asleep by now (and likely heading for that same morning flight), Seth was SOL.
Remaining calm, Seth contacted the leader of the band, a horn player, did he even have any clarinet or flute parts?
The response was neither clear nor affirmative.
Standing outside the glass door (at this point mom is feeling grateful he chose Miami over Eastman school of music in Rochester New York where he would be frostbitten by now) he noticed a movement inside.
A cleaning woman who spoke no English cracked the door at his knock and spoke to him in Spanish.
Seth used Google translate to persuade her to let him in.
He felt bad, did not want to morally compromise her, but in the five minutes she allowed him, he grabbed his instruments and music. Had he done the wrong thing, putting her in that position?
I assured him he had not; that she was thrilled, knowing that some mom somewhere was loving her that moment.