A couple of years ago a friend of mine was buying a bass from eBay. The location although still a decent drive was closer to me than for him so I offered to go get it for him.
When I arrived there was a tall gangly guy there in his mid forties, a small apartment full of parrots which were free to roam. Despite the obvious OCD of this feminine character there was a distinct aroma of parrot poop and an ash tray which could only be described as a steaming investment to a certain demise by cancer. But there, tucked under his bed – his holy grail – his American Fender Jazz Bass in its original case under the bed.
He’d intended years before to setup his own Police tribute band and tour the world impressing fans and making a notable living however the reality was that he never picked up the bass, not even once and therefore could not play a single note.
He carefully pulled it from under the bed, tenderly brushing the dust off the top. He cradled it in his arms and carried it through to the lounge as if he’d found an earth quake victim amongst the rubble. Then lovingly, he prised the catches open and revealed a pristine, as new American Fender Jazz bass still with stickers and tags swinging freely from the headstock. He looked down longingly with his hands both sides of his head at this well crafted slice of alder. His earthquake victim was essentially on life support and I was asking him to turn off the machine. With reverence for his pending loss I asked permission to remove the bass and inspect it despite the fact that the full funds had cleared in his account an hour previous. He silently nodded, I checked it over for battle scars and slid it back in to its tomb ready for its reincarnation.
At this point I made my farewell and started for the door. I looked back and with his left hip jolted forward, his hair swished to the side and his eyes embodying everything that is Disney, his voice softened and very unexpectedly he declared that he’d taken a shine to me and invited me to stay the afternoon – I shit thee not.
I guess in times of emotional trauma we can behave in unusual ways but thankfully this wasn’t my time and my car beckoned on double yellows out front.
Ultimately I believe it wasn’t about the inanimate object that is a Fender Jazz bass – this represented the dream of being a musician and following his dream and that dream had lived under his bed unrealised for many moons. Then it died in front of his eyes.
Sentimentality can harbour joy and sadness in equal measure. It lives in all of us and yet if we don’t take the time to understand it, it can have us holding on to inanimate objects to sustain the life of something that has passed.
It demands respect and there’s certainly a process to moving through it but be sure to fully let go enabling you to hold your self forward ready for the new.