When I was in my twenties, a couple of friends and I would sometimes go to what we called an “Old Man’s bar” not far from where we lived. We called it an old man’s bar, because that’s mostly who went there. We were usually the only young people there even on a Friday night.
It was a quiet place where we could drink cheap beer and play pool.
One night one of the old men, who had been drinking at the bar, got off his stool and said he was going to play the piano. I knew there wasn’t a piano in the bar so just figured he was really drunk.
He walked over to a pile of cardboard boxes that were piled in the corner of the room and started moving them. I couldn’t imagine what he was doing until he moved enough boxes to reveal a piano.
Then he sat down and started playing. I don’t remember what he played, but I do remember he it was beautiful.
I was amazed, it was magical as if he’d conjured up the piano.
I had the same feeling yesterday when I was in the Apple store in Albany and Glen, who worked there, told me that the screen on my iPhone wasn’t broken. It was the screen protector that was cracked.
Glen peeled off the screen protector and under it was my iPhone screen in perfect condition.
This was something I’d never even considered. Once again it felt magical. I’d been looking at that cracked screen every day for over a month and never imagined it wasn’t really broken. To me, it was broken.
I’d delayed getting it fixed because it was going to be expensive. But when my charging port stopped working and I had to bring my iPhone to the Apple store to get it fixed, I took it as the right moment to fix the screen too.
The truth is that I was beginning to worry about my iPhone.
Because like my sewing machines, it is an important and necessary part of my creative work and my business. I was beginning to feel like I was watching it slowly deteriorate. Like I was too hard on it, taking it into the barnyard every day in all kinds of weather and not being as careful with it as I should be.
And although I know it’s an electronic, a machine I still feel an almost human connection to it because of how dependent I am on it, how much it does for me.
When Jon bought me my first iPhone years ago, I was angry at him. I didn’t think I needed one or that I deserved one.
But when I took my first video of the carousel in Central Park, I felt like I was the first person ever to do such a thing even though, of course, I knew I wasn’t. Even if I didn’t know how I would use this new very simple technology, I was aware on some level that it opened up a whole new creative avenue in my life.
It’s because of the iPhone that I began taking pictures and videos other than to just document and sell my art. And this is what makes my blog what it is today.
After Glen worked his magic with the screen, he looked inside the charging port and said there was a tiny piece of wood stuck in it. With a small pointy tool and a soft brush he cleaned it out and plugged in my phone.
I could tell it was working just by the way the power cord clicked into place.
Instead of having to spend over $300 on a new screen plus whatever other repairs I might need, I bought another glass screen protector for $43 and I left the Apple store feeling as if a miracle had taken place.
That’s when I thought of the Old Man’s Bar and the piano player.
I was sure there wasn’t a piano in that bar just as I knew my iPhone screen was broken and would cost hundreds of dollars to repair. It was my conviction and the proof that I was wrong, that made both seem a miracle to me.
Otherwise, it would have just been a man playing the piano and a broken screen protector.
But if it worked the other way. If I was certain of something positive and it turned out to be worse than I thought, I wouldn’t call it a miracle. Maybe I’d wonder what I had done to deserve such a thing. As if the gods were angry. Or maybe I’d try to blame someone else.
It makes me wonder about how I create my own reality. I do like the miracles though. They help me to gently question my convictions and give me hope about the things that are beyond my control.
Although angering the gods can do the same without the hope. Which is why, I guess, I choose not to believe in them.