Monday, January 15, 2007

In My Place

How we see people is an interesting thing isn't it?

I was ruminating on the subject and started to think about how different people in my life see me, and how that may compare to my own image of myself.

In my life there are several groups of people that I interact with on a regular basis. There's my family, both nuclear and extended, there's my work colleagues, there's the people I play music with and then there's my friends. There's also people who know me from reading my blog.

Only life isn't that straightforward, because, within the groups, there are many overlaps and areas of pleasant confusion. There are colleagues who are friends, there are musicians who are friends and friends who are musicians but I don't play music with and there are some who read this blog and would count as friends.

For many years I have been keenly interested in the different types of intelligence and, since I started blogging, I have been meaning to jot a word or two about the various forms. I'll do it sometime, but it's interesting that one of the forms is "Intrapersonal" intelligence, or the ability to have an understanding of oneself, to know who and what you are. This is the whole thing that I am getting at. The fact that our self image can be very different to other people's image of us.

When I look at the groups of people in my life and forget about the many areas of overlap, I find it interesting to think on how these groups perceive me.

My close friends and family are the ones that have the most accurate view. Obviously they know me best so that helps, but they can still view me through a certain type of glasses at times. Take my parents as an example. To them I am their child first, that means that they continually feel the need to give me advice and pass on their wisdom. The other day I was taking my Dad somewhere and we pulled up at some traffic lights behind a fully marked up Police car. There were blue lights, orange stripes and uniforms all over this car and we stopped about half a millimetre behind it.

"Rhythmic" said the old man

"There's a Police car there"

"Yeah I know Dad"

We carried on.

Then there's my children. They see me as "Dad". That's it to them. In years to come I'll be the one pointing out the bleeding obvious to them and they'll be moaning about me. At the ages of ten and twelve they don't really see me in a work capacity. To them my work is a slightly mysterious place that they visit occasionally, full of fun nooks and crannies. They probably think of me more as a drummer than a business person, as they have more contact with that side of me.

At work most people see me as a colleague or manager or childish partner. They 're all correct. Some of them have worked for me for fifteen years and we have an almost Father / Son type of relationship, albeit one which doesn't involve me pointing out Police cars at traffic lights. I suppose I get some respect at work because of my position and the biggest element of my job is managing people, which I think I do good pretty well.

Part owning the Company that one works for is a situation that can be challenging and very rewarding at times as there are many different hats to be worn. "Helicopter vision" is one of my favourite business jargon wordy phrasey things; the canny ability to float at different levels above the ground, seeing a different amount of detail at each.

But, that work and Director stuff is all well and good but does it matter when I'm trying to tell a ten year old girl to stop playing her Nintendo thing and go to bed? Like fuck does it. To the girls I'm the bloke who locks doors, fixes things (badly) and makes toilets smell. Almost like a Father figure.

Then, in the various bands that I do and have played with, the situation is similar. Not the Father figure bit, but the way that I am seen as the drummer, not a business person, not a Father. One of the aspects I love about music is the way in which it levels people. If you're in a band you're usually judged primarily by your musical abilities, unless you're a bassist of course.

There are a few people who know me only by reading my blog. We have never met and maybe never will meet. They, or you, see me entirely as I have written about and presented myself. I have always tried to put across an honest portrayal of myself but, what if it was all a big fraud?
What if I was a fifty eight year old middle class white woman who had never played drums or been to Sri Lanka in her life. It's unlikely but it's remotely feasible. Although the lunch with Lady Luck would be a hard one to explain.

Ultimately the one persona the I feel is the real me is that of "drummer". I don't mean to boast, I'm not even that good a player. It's just where I feel the most relaxed. All my other roles; parent, business person, son, blogger, they are all the real me, but wearing a variety of hats. I spend a fair bit of time thinking and that's where the intrapersonal bit comes into play. Kids, colleagues, employees, parents and readers all see and think of me however their mind chooses to. My reality is my mind and how I see me.

Sitting at a drum kit, with band or without band, that's me without a hat on, unless I've got a hat on. It's the one place that makes me feel wholly and supremely confortable, as if that's my vocation. When the woman said "groove is in the heart" she knew what the score was. There's something primeval and deeply satisfying about playing the drums, you really do feel it rather than hear it.

A short while ago I was doing a bit of practice and, just for a blast, I thought I'd play along to some old songs that MLC, the best covers band I was ever in, used to do. It came to "Moving" by Supergrass, I don't know if you know it. There's a little fill in the chorus, it's a one bar fill played very simply with a splashed open high hat and a couple of tom hits. It's technically incredibly easy, but, every time I play it I feel a "whoop" of joy. That's the only accurate description of how I feel and I get that "whoop" so often when I'm sitting behind a drum kit.

That's me. In my place.

EDIT - Just saw this post, by Manshark. Very interesting and very relevant.

Let's make this interesting. I'm going to turn this post into a "tag". Electra has already told us about her place.

Java Jones, Mr E Ruminations. You're it. What's your place?

Tell us please.


Rhythmic Diaspora said...

It looks to me as if someone has tried to leave a comment but has been defeated by the word verification thing. Please try again as it didn't come through.


Darwin said...

VERY cool post. The way I see myself changes depending on the circumstances so I'd be hard pressed to actually pinpoint in accurately. However it's easier to guess how others would see me.

Java Jones said...

Dat was me maan - see what ah mean bout dese mind-fuck comment thingys?!!

My place ? Dat be Flower Book maaan, aint yo tired of hearin me go on bout dat nachural beauty, ma dogs an da tranquility dat keep me sooo very turned on? What mo to say?

An bout dat tag sheet - get dat Loony JL cat to tell yo bout HIS place. Ah bet he hav som interestin sheet to go on bout.

Will dat do or yo want a whole number bout dis?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Darwin - The next step ( I think) is to wonder which is reality, or whether it's all reality, just different versions of it.

Java - You know the rules. The comment is good, as a hors d'oeuvre, but a whole post is required. You then should tag someone else. And it goes on into blogging infinity.