I confess. Being a musician and only a musician my entire life, I have not plunged into the world of politics. That doesn’t mean all musicians aren’t knowledgeable about the subject, but I’m not talking about those smarty pants. I’m talking about me. Yes, of course I know who the President of the United States is, don’t be silly!
Here’s the thing, when I do pay attention to what’s going on, I don’t see politics happening. What I see…ah never mind. Here are a few examples: Jim McGreevey’s resignation following his declaration of homosexuality, Anthony Weiner sending lewd pictures through twitter, Joey DiFatta and the infamous toilet sting, and why are people going through Sarah Palin’s emails?
You’re probably wondering why I am even attempting to write about politics? Well, here goes. This past May, the Pan-American Symphony Orchestra (the tango orchestra of which I am concertmaster and soloist) was invited to play at the Peruvian Presidential Palace. President Alan Garcia and his 400 other politician guests listened to two hours of very entertaining tango music (if I may say so). His guests included other presidents, ambassadors of many countries, ambassadors of culture (didn’t know they existed) of many other countries, politicians, politicians, and more politicians. I think you get my point. What in the world was I going to talk about come mingling time?
Apparently nothing! At the end of the concert, President Garcia walked up to the orchestra, shook the hands of the conductor, the bandoneon player, and the pianist. He turned to me and in front of all his guests, extended his hand. Of course I extended mine back. Instead of the expected shake, he took my hand to his mouth and kissed it. I heard the the clicking of the cameras and felt the stare of the guests and the amusement of my fellow musicians. And there I was, all that worry for nothing.
The presidents, his guests, and the orchestra then proceeded to go into a separate room where we enjoyed the famous Peruvian pisco sour drink and some finger food. I was minding my own business (hiding from any political conversation someone might want to engage in) enjoying the success of the evening when a young person came up to me and asked me for my autograph. I was flattered but not for long. The people didn’t stop coming. Little old me got mobbed by people who wanted to get my picture and my autograph. I signed so many I got a cramp in my bow arm thumb!
And there we have it. The moral of this story, if you are looking for one, is if you are ever worried about mingling with a particular group of people, this is what you do: wear a pretty sparkly dress and play your violin really well. Cheers!