i went back to take this picture. i’m not quite sure why, but the word “loop” on the steps struck me as funny. truth be told, it was a piece of information; on the metra steps in chicago it was directing us to the train that would take us toward the loop.
there was this time we visited My Boy in chicago. we took the train down, got off at the ravenswood stop, and walked what seemed-like-miles dragging a rollie-bag behind us with all the ingredients for pasta and homemade sauce. after a fun day together, we dragged our now-empty suitcase back to the train and waited on the platform for the train home, unwittingly sitting on the wrong side of the platform. it was a mere two minutes before the train came that we realized our error and ran down the stairs, down the sidewalk, across the street against the traffic light and back up the other set of stairs to the right platform. it was comical, i’m sure. we couldn’t even pretend to be cool-calm-collected-experienced-aloofly-confident passengers. we were total geeks, running for the train, laughing. i’m sure there were signs (we saw them our next trip down) but we hadn’t noticed. and so, the word “loop” on the steps made me laugh. “northbound” on the steps would have helped.
music-in-its-written-form is kind of like this. there are directions all over the place: repeat signs, time signatures, words like coda, DC al fine, DS. it’s a confusing mess for the newbie. our ukulele band navigates this all the time now; we use lead sheets in lieu of just chord-and-lyric sheets. we cheer each time we end the song at the same place and at the same time. for the seasoned musician, these directions are run-of-the-mill; for the music editor, these directions save a lot of space and paper. for the ukulele band, which now pays attention to these bits of directive material, it’s like writing “loop” on the steps.
it’s all just one big lesson in following directions, isn’t it? i guess the key is laughter.