Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Work It Until You Get It Right

One of my dear friends will soon be asking me what I learned during the week and a half that I was in France – what was the overall theme was of my experience.  I would have to say that this time around, the word “perseverance” kept coming to me, as a message, a reminder, as something I needed to work on and work out.  When the lock is jammed and you are stuck in a bathroom in a Paris restaurant, perseverance is your only option.  I’m alone, so I have no one to rescue me, or even know that I am in there.  I have to work it until I get it right.   

My first mission, after the plane landed in Paris, was to catch my train to Toulouse.  I succeeded, made it to the interim train station, changed trains and arrived just as planned.  My friends Cathy and Maxime were scheduled to meet me there.  We ran into a problem when my phone calls to Cathy didn’t go through.  And I was not able to retrieve her messages.  Perseverance was my only option.  I called my phone service provider and asked why things weren’t working correctly.  They informed that they had misinformed me previously on how to call or text while in France.  I fixed everything up, but still couldn’t get through.  Panic set in.  I don’t want to be left at the train station.  My friends might think I didn’t make it.  A thought occurred:  what did people do before cell phones existed??  Landlines!  I looked for an info desk for help.  A uniformed man said to go around the corner to door #20.  I did and saw a phone.  But no one came out when I called for help.  Finally another uniformed man came forward, but spoke no English.  I waited again, and another person dialed the code for making an outside call, then let me dial Cathy’s number.  But I received an error message! As I was thinking of my next move, I saw that Cathy tried to call me again on my cell, and this time, I was able to answer it.  Thankfully, she persevered, and we were able to find each other.

A few days later, I am at the Dordogne Jazz Summer School in Monteton.  One of my compositions is about to be played – a world premiere.  My camera card had just filled up, so I ran back to my room to get a new memory card.  I tried putting it in, but kept getting error messages.  Dorian, the school director, showed me the little plastic lever on the side of the card that can slide back and forth.  It must have been in a locked position, and when he moved it, the camera worked again.  I thanked him profusely and prepared to hand the camera to a friend to film the performance.  I double checked the camera, and received another “memory card locked!” error.  So I ran to my friend Dave, who is quite savvy about all things electronic (and about life in general.)  He slid the lever up, then down and then finally to the middle.  He said, “You have to work it until you get it right!”  For the rest of the week, I had to fiddle with that lever every time I tried to take a picture or make a video.  I didn’t always get it right, so lost a few opportunities, but kept at it by asking friends to make videos for me with their cameras.  Giving up was not an option.

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