The One That Got Away

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome days, you would never imagine the things that actually happen. Like Tuesday. It started out like a “normal” day. I wanted to go to one of our neighborhood restaurants for a coffee while I worked on the textbook project. This particular restaurant is half way around the corner of the block from our apartment, so Dave and I headed over there to get me set up for a couple hours.

Along the shops on that side of the block is a lot of parking, mostly for motorcycles. (Motorcycles in Taiwan is a blog post or three all its own, but not now.) As we turned the corner, and walked toward the shop, we noticed something unusual in one of the “parking spots.”

  • instead of motorcycle, motorcycle, motorcycle,
  • we saw motorcycle motorcycle, PIANO

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYeah, I wouldn’t believe it without a picture either. And I know you can only see one motorcycle in this picture, but there was another one parked right next to that one. You can see a traffic cone in the street in front of the next shop, as well as other things you often see on streets outside of shops.

Now, back to the story. As a former piano teacher who has been in Taiwan for five years with no piano, I was slightly intrigued. Dave was less so, but it was fun to dream for a few seconds.

Dave went home, and I got settled into my work, but thoughts of that piano out there kept popping up. So I thought, “Why not just ask the restaurant owners if they knew anything about it.” (As an aside, these are the people who rescued the dog that we adopted from them.)*

Well, they didn’t. They were as surprised as I was to find a piano out there. The wife started talking to people and quickly located the owner in the midst of supervising the loading a truck. Apparently, they were moving. After a couple minutes of Chinese conversation, my friend turned to me and asked me if I wanted the piano. I was dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t seriously thought about this possibility; suddenly, there were many issues to consider.

  1. Our apartment is on the 4th floor.
  2. We would have to make room for it in the apartment.
  3. The piano wasn’t in really good shape (due to large fluctuations in humidity and temperature), although the key action was decent. And it was not terribly out of tune. (Yeah, I checked.)
  4. We’d need to have someone come to service it at some point.
  5. I hadn’t had time to quilt or do much of anything “fun,” so how would this be any different?
  6. Dave would think I was nuts. Oh wait, it’s probably too late for that.

The two of them talked some more, and I think I was asked four or five times if I wanted it, not impatiently, but with excitement, and I kept saying, “I don’t know.” The owner was willing to GIVE it to me. So I finally said, “OK, I’ll call Dave and see if we can figure out how to do this.”

They put a note on the piano that it was taken, and I called Dave. He’s so awesome. HeΒ  just gets his tape measure, measures the elevator roughly, and then heads back over to take a closer look at the piano. In the meantime, the husband of the restaurant team, Karch, started doing some measurements as well, and writing dimensions on a chalkboard that was on the wall of the porch to their shop (the same porch our dog had spent her days on).

When Dave arrived, he took more measurements and said it would be tight if it was possible at all. He looked at ways that some parts could be removed to gain an inch here or there. He went back home with the measurements to check the elevator one more time. While he did, I had visions of ten minutes here and there, moments when I could sit down and lose myself in music like I used to do. In spite of the fact, more can be done in longer periods, having the opportunity to sit down at a moment’s notice was quite appealing.

He returned with the verdict. In his words, it was “frustratingly close,” but no way without putting the piano on its end, which wasn’t a particularly good idea. Besides, that was if we figured out a way to get it that far.

In the end, we had to say no to the piano. But the good news is that I realized if I even dreamed about it for a few minutes, it opened up other possibilities. For example, I’ve been putting off quilting because I don’t have a “block” of time for it, but maybe I can set things up that even ten or fifteen minutes can provide a restorative interlude in the busy days.

It was also a reminder of all the people who have been so thoughtful to me and my husband. This is just one example of the many kindnesses the people of Taiwan have given us. Even though I’m returning home next summer, Taiwan will always hold special memories of generous and kind people.


*And here she is.Β  πŸ™‚


Β 191 days to 60!


14 comments on “The One That Got Away

  1. OH, what a shame. It’s great that it gave you inspirational room to possibly work other things in though!
    And besides, you’d have never kept up with the motorcycles on the road. πŸ˜‰

    • HAHA! Oh, Linda! That made me laugh! The wheels were definitely too small to compete.

      And the inspirational room was great, and so was the magical moments of feeling like I was suddenly going to have a piano, even though it didn’t ultimately work out. To have it given to me was pretty awesome. πŸ™‚

    • We’ve grown quite attached to her. When we adopted her, the people said that they would take her back when we went back to the US. Now all that has changed. We plan to take her with us; we can’t imagine leaving her behind. πŸ™‚

      I couldn’t really play the piano, considering where it was “parked” (haha), but I got to check out the key action and hear a few keys. But just being able to dream and imagine was great! πŸ™‚

  2. That’s too bad! It’s funny, when we moved into this house, the previous owners were willing to throw their worn out piano into the deal (I think they didn’t want to move it.) We also declined because (1) we don’t know how to play and (2) we didn’t want to have to move it eventually, either!

    Adorable dog! Reminds me of a chihuahua my aunt and uncle had years ago.

    • In retrospect, it was probably for the best. I really need to focus on the things I need to finish before I leave. And blogging and quilting provide enough of a distraction. πŸ˜‰

      As does cuddling the dog. πŸ™‚

  3. Deborah,
    Stranger things have happened. The kids go to a performing arts school and they have begged me to take piano lessons. There is no way I could ever afford a piano, but when we moved into our new house, there it was just sitting there because the previous owners didn’t want to move it. I couldn’t believe it. Keep the hope!

    • That’s a great name for it — “piano moment”! I’ve had “piano moments” from time to time with other items as well. Now I can name the phenomenon. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  4. I love your “piano moment.” Your predicament reminded me of my musical decision-making criteria. When I wanted to improve my mind by learning music, I considered the piano but chose the harmonica for its portability. Little did I know the harmonica requires a certain level of inherent musical understanding I would never possess. Yes, I could take it everywhere with me. No, I really couldn’t play much beyond “You Are My Sunshine.” Still, I enjoyed it while it lasted.

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