The launguage of the world and pianos.

Posted by on Aug 19, 2010 in Blog, Editorial, Music | 4 Comments

I’m not sure how some of my mental connections are made, but it seems as though our world likes to place things in our lap for the taking or leaving. Some of these instances are said to be omens, or signs from the universe to follow by our own instinct. I like to make my decisions based on a firm well-rounded understanding, but there are times where it’s as though the decisions are made out of our own control.

After growing impatient from a relentlessly failing cell phone I decided to pull into a parking lot to make a quick phone call. I parked and after I dialed my phone said to me, “So… I’m going to go ahead and power down now. I’m tired and you’re frustrated with me, so why don’t you browse around in this thrift store that you just parked at? Do some good old window shopping and then later after I’m rested and charged up you can return to your day filled with errands and tasks that are making you forget about the stars.”

I accepted the phone’s demands and let it rest in my pocket-bed. “The Stars” is a phrase I use to un-ground my thoughts. It seems our lives are so individually important it can overwhelm our thoughts, drowning the beautiful experience of experiencing, letting the race take over our focus and drive.

On my way into the store a cute wrinkly old lady was making her way into the store just ahead of me. She talked to the people out front as though she had come to this place day after day for weeks, or maybe months. I entered before her almost in a hurry, still having trouble remembering “the stars”. As soon as I entered the second hand store I immediately noticed the first item on the floor. It was a solid black upright piano. It was just as tall as I am and it looked to weigh about 500lbs. There was no detailing at all, I had never seen such a simple design before, it stood almost as an icon only representing a piano. Being a former piano player who dreams of piano possession, naturally I inspected the old instrument as though it could make the distance up the stairs into my apartment.

Then appeared the cute old lady. She started at me with some banter that consisted of a bit of piano jargon; she was testing to see whether or not I was just kicking tires or if I knew my stuff. I proved well with the old lady who seemed to appear like magic despite her slow walk and sever tremors of the hands. She explained in a convincing manner about the difference between furniture and instrument. She insisted so many forget the piano as an instrument. She went on to tell me about how she loved being a piano teacher for beginners and of her love of the sound from the instrument. I imagined the frustration she must experience with her tremors and it made me appreciate the simple gift of a steady hand that could still work the magical machine with crescendos so powerful between light trickling notes. I can’t help but hope our universe is so kind that the piano be her only cure to the tremors, and when playing she is at peace and her body functions as it should. She mentioned how this place has many more pianos and how she loves to come see the old pianos here. After a few more words exchanged about the instrument, I wished her well and returned to the race of my day, but the piano-seed was already planted and my hurry felt like it had a new motivation, different from my earlier agenda.

As I thought about the old lady, my walk slowed in pace and my eyes were lifted to clearly seeing my surroundings. I began to stroll around the store inspecting ornate mirrors and beat up coffee tables as if it were my duty to fully experience the place. I neared the last corner of the store and there they were: the group of old abandon pianos. There were tall pianos like the icon at the entrance and a couple shorter half-uprights. There were also a couple of organs there; most all had stand-in-benches missmatchly placed with the instruments. There was a square shape layout made out of these old things, with a place to walk in the center where more of these magical machines were placed. It was a farmers market of keys and you can’t not buy something at a farmers market, you just have to decide what you’re going to buy.

Almost on cue the old lady passed by right before I sat down. She acknowledged how she was glad I found the piano section and commented on how beautiful they were. She wished me well and left me to the keys. I sat down at a half upright with a crooked key cover halfway open. I fumbled with the broken cover and got the keys exposed for inspection. An initial shy push of a few keys proved the beautiful sound of the piano. As I played on I found a small group of dull sounding keys and realized the dampening pedal out of service too. An intact logo decal revealed it to be the trusted manufacturer Wurlitzer and once I saw that I knew a piano had been placed in my lap.

A hesitation came over me debating the necessity of the purchase and I couldn’t help feel I’d let that cute old lady down if I were to let this opportunity get passed up by trying to reason the minor purchase. With a price tag of almost $300 I knew I had to make an offer that even I couldn’t refuse if the store didn’t. I debated on how much to offer, I didn’t want it to be insultingly low but it had to be low enough that I couldn’t back out of it once accepted by the sales associate. $175 seemed a proper offer; it wasn’t quite half, which I felt would be rude to offer half of the asking price. Not long after the sales associate returned to where I continued to inspect the instrument with some tunes from my child hood, his manager had agreed and he was ready to write a receipt.

It was then I had realized the universe had just sold me a piano in a most intricate manner. Sometimes it feels our lives are lived in a way that’s almost out of our control, but these opportunities need to be taken when given. I can’t help but wonder if that cute old wrinkly lady was an angel in disguise there to help me find the harp in disguise. The magic of the people around us seems to be the thing we all live for. Without those to share talents and our experiences with, our individual worlds really would be the most important thing to worry about. It isn’t the Stars that keep me going; it’s their reminder of knowing how small I am as an individual. The powerful universe spans further than any of us can ever imagine and it’s exciting to try to contemplate the mysteries of the world beyond us when even a trip to a second hand thrift store can be so magical.



  1. Leeda...
    August 19, 2010

    A little glimpse into the beautiful mind of Jonathan Pauline, Simplicity with deeper understanding and appreciation.
    I’m so glad this extraordinary gift found you. I can’t wait to hear what your golden hands come up with…

    Oh and your piano is ochen ochen klasno

  2. Jonah
    August 19, 2010

    Speciba! Ya dumiu toshe.

  3. Nada
    September 17, 2014

    What a beautiful post!! and amazing images! I just found it as I was searching for images of Wurlitzer pianos. I’ve been a piano tuner for 20 years. I love them & I’m glad one found it’s way to you…and in such a lovely way. I’m just setting up my business selling some piano care products. Is it possible to purchase a small digital image from you for my website? I’m happy to link through to this post from the image. Warmest Regards,

  4. Jonah
    April 20, 2015

    Hello Nada! I’m sorry for the delay in response. Thank you for your kind comments on the story and images. Please feel free to use any images on my blog post, love to see someone appreciate the work.

Leave a Reply