Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Life is Difficult" (a.k.a. A Lunchbreak Spent Breaking Into Church and Removing Musical Instruments)

I got a call today asking for help in packing the church keyboard for a memorial service. Thinking that explaining which keyboard to take (Korg or Roland?), which amp (brown Peavey? black Peavey? big black Peavey? big big big black Peavey? how about this hh...h...Hartke?), which jacks (what's a jack? oh, the heads are different? what's the difference? how many?) and adapter (adapter is which one ah?) might prove too taxing on the person's memory and my patience, I said alright, pick me up during lunch.

And so we drove to church, just to find the outer gate locked. Great. After some unnecessary phone calls, which could have been avoided had proper arrangements been made, someone came down and opened the grill. He had a caller on hold, so he passed me the keys to the main sanctuary. I stared and sighed. It meant I'd be going solo.

Ding! Level 3.

For those of you who hold keys to secured/commercial properties, you'd understand the intricacies and annoyances that come with having to open up/lock up. First, the shrieking, grating shutters. Then more locks. My church has two - one in the middle, one at the bottom. I selected the slim, cylindrical key for the bottom lock, then the flat, fat one for the belly. Turning this way and that, jiggling them, both finally clicked open. Next, I pushed the shrieking, grating shutters up. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK! Metal-on-metal, the shrieking, grating shutters killed my ears all the way to the top.

Second, the glass door. Took a wild guess at the bunch of keys and selected one. Amazingly, the lock turned. So far so good.

Third. Disarmament. I punched in the security code, then rushed in to disarm the system. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEE---- it cried, then faded.

Now, it was time to pack. I walked to the stage, laid my hands on the keyboard, then...

"Err, I double-parked lah. I think I'll go down and check on my car."

Grrr. "I can't carry all the stuff down alone," I said.

A pause.

"Never mind lah, I'll come up again. How long you need?"

"Ten minutes."

And so he left.

After getting the Roland from the stand, the jacks, the adapter, the pedal, and the keyboard bag from the back, I packed them up and was almost done. Then he reappeared.

"Finish ah?"

"Yah, almost."

I walked towards the big black Peavey amp and stared at it. It was cumbersome.

"This is kinda heavy. You could get the smaller amp from the first floor or SS1 church," I suggested.

"Nevermind lah. Get it here. Convenient. Can right?"

Okay. I unplugged it.

"I'll carry the heavier one," he said, and proceeded to carry the amp. He lifted, struggled, shifted his feet, tried again, shuffled, then slowly hobbled across the stage. It was quite comical.

Since he wanted a keyboard stand, I grabbed the spare stand from the PA room. I heaved the almost five-foot keyboard bag unto my shoulder, then dragged my way out, bumping now and then into the walls, door, stairs. Of course, with the church keys in hand, it also meant I had to lock up.

Dumping the keyboard bag on the floor outside, I repeated all the earlier steps, in reverse. Alone. With the church armed once more, I considered it almost an accomplishment.

After returning the keys and loading the car, we were off. On the way back to my office, stuck in a jam and having a rather meaningless conversation...

"Quite heavy, ah, the instruments?" he said.


"I thought very easy - just take the keyboard."

I nodded. Right.

"Which one heavier ah, the keyboard or the amp?"

"Err, I think they're about the same lah, just that the keyboard is harder to carry cos of its shape."

"Oh. Hmmm. So, the musicians have to carry all this when you go for camps lah?"



A pause. Then came the afternoon activity's conclusion.

"Hmm... life is difficult," he said, shaking his head.

( |o }===:::

Rolling my eyes under my sunnies and grinning to myself, I couldn't help agreeing.

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