17 September 2011

Going through motions

This is known as 'air guitar.' For those who don't know this is a practice of appearing like one is playing a guitar, even with commensurate sound tracks in the background, but without a real musical instrument.

Today I'm thinking about going through the motions without real connection. The story is told of a new cocky hot-shot trying to make his way in New York City. He takes an office, barely bigger than a broom closet, on the 48th floor of the Empire State Building. He brings in his boxes of important papers and his university degree freshly mounted and framed. He's ready to go. He puts his phone on the desk. He mounts the degree. He affixes his name on the outside of his office door. Then it happens. A knock at his door.

He grabs the phone, and quickly sits behind the shiny desk. He yells, "Come on in." The door knocker enters. The executive 'continues' his conversation on the phone..."Yes, please, like I told you. $200,000 into the shares in off-shore drilling. Look, I've got to go. Someone's here to see me. Ciao."

"Yes, may I help you," the young executive quickly says in welcome.

"I'm here to hook up your phone," says the knocker.

All too true. We often are more interested in being noticed or being important or being something we are not, than attending to reality. We often go through the motions of life, without engaging life at all!

Last night my wife and I had a nice dinner and came home early. She was tired and retired. I wanted to watch the Sydney Swans in their footy elimination contest against the Hawthorn Hawks I had recorded earlier. It was a disappointing result, but there were flashes of glory. As the game ended, I hit the wrong button on the wrong remote control. I turned off the television.

But I still wanted to watch the news. I changed the channel. But nothing happened. Of course not. I was changing the remote that was not engaged. It was the remote for the Foxtel and not for the TV itself. I was clicking and wondering what was going wrong, but the tv wasn't working. I thought..."Oh no, the tv is out. And I wanted to see the news." But it wasn't the television's problem at all. It was mine.

Going through the motions is a waste of time and effort. But we often resort to this and then blame the motion instead of ourselves for its failure.

Back in the 70s I used to paint houses to put myself through university. And one day I had failed to reload my paintbrush and wondered why the few boards on the house were a different color than the others. Why? I had gone through the motions, but had not really painted the section later observed.

Today, on this Shabbat, please, do what you need to do and/ or want to do, and do things well and fully. Don't be an air guitarist. Play a real guitar. Make beautiful sounds. Paint well. With brush full of real paint. Love your wife. Do real things. Really.

And you will be glad for your commitments. At least I hope so.



________________ from Wikipedia: other references:
Going Through the Motions, a 1982 novel by Katherine Govier
Going Through the Motions, a 1979 album by Hot Chocolate
"Goin' Through the Motions", a song by Blue Öyster Cult from their 1977 album Spectres
"Going Through the Motions", a song by Kansas from their 1983 album Drastic Measures
"Goin' Through the Motions", a song by Diana Ross from her 1989 album Workin' Overtime
"Goin' Through the Motions", a song by Robbie Nevil from his 1991 album Day 1
"Going Through the Motions", a song by Aimee Mann from her 2005 album The Forgotten Arm
"Going Through the Motions", a song sung by Buffy in the Buffy episode Once More, with Feeling
"I Sweat (Going Through the Motions)," a song by Nona Hendryx from the soundtrack to the 1985 film Perfect

1 comment:

Bob said...

This is David. Found on flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/daviddmuir/2041245221/

And his comments:
302/365: Air Guitar Hero

As we wait for the chance to build the guitar with Bailey Guitars (part of the prize I won from Rock Radio) those nice people at Elixir Strings sent me a set of air guitar strings ("...with ultra thin AIROWEB coating in super light .000 - .000 gauge") and a free air guitar. This is me trying it out.

Trust me, I have never sounded better on guitar! These Elixir Strings people are clearly very good at what they do. :-)