4.30 While My Guitar Gently Weeps


When I get into a longterm funk, I know I'm lonely, restless or bored when I do these two things: one, pick up my guitar again with the intention of really getting down and learning how to play, and two, start online dating. I've talked before about when my guitar attacked me. There was no violence this time, just an instrument immensely out of tune and a 'musician' who had no idea what an in tune guitar sounded like. Found some instructional videos on YouTube where they started off simple. This is the arm of the guitar! These are the strings! This is how you hold it! I can read music as I played the piano for many years, but I just can't seem to get my head around guitar notes. And strumming chords? Forget it. The instructor goes over the notes and we venture into our first song: Amazing Grace. Every learn-to-play guitar instructions seems to start with religious songs. Next up, Michael Row the Boat Ashore. Who is this Michael and where is he going and why should I care? And then he jumps to The Beatles with the song While My Guitar Gently Weeps. My guitar was weeping alright, but not for the reasons George Harrison's guitar was weeping.

I've secretly held a desire to become a musician. Not for any real lofty ambitions, mainly because they could wear whatever they wanted. Rock stars could be fifty and still be wearing tight leather pants and get away with it. Not that I want to strut around in tight leather pants, but you get my point.

Plus, women love musicians.

The only time I sang in public was during a night of karaoke where I sung the Pearl Jam song Last Kiss. There are three types of people who sing karaoke: those that do it in a fun tongue-and-cheek way, those that can actually sing and those who can't sing but try to do an earnest performance. I'm in the third category and it was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life simply because I had no awareness about just how bad it was. When the song finished, the bar was silent, the bartender was pouring from a tap and was in such a shock that the beer was overflowing over the edge of the glass. My friends didn't really want to let on they were my friends. Instead of a moment I'd be recounting on a retrospective documentary about my illustrious music career, it put the final nail in the coffin of any dream I might've had about being the frontman in a band.

Still, who jumps to a Beatles song the third one in? Frustrated, I put down the guitar and checked my new matches on an online dating site, which only added to the frustration. I don't know why I do this to myself. Online dating only makes me kind of sad, but more so, it just makes me kind of mad. My streak of no one returning my messages has already been broken, but I just can't do it. Someone wrote to me and I replied back that I'm somewhat new to this so don't know what to say. She replied, Think of it as an adventure, it can go anywhere really. Nobody talks like that, not in real life anyway.

Another part of this particular site is that you can send questions for the other person to answer. Do you enjoy being alone? Which of the following marriage issues do you fear most? How many books did you read last year? If you were to marry, how many children would be ideal? What kind of exercise do you prefer? How do you feel about premarital sex? How would you assess your verbal intimacy skills? Realizing that labels are imperfect, do you consider yourself a dominant person in your personal life? How do you feel about food? I'm not really sure what this is supposed to accomplish, but there you go. And you know what, I don't really know how I feel about food.

If you make it this far, the next step is to send your 'Must Haves' and 'Can't Stands', meaning, obviously, what you must have and can't stand in a relationship. Okay, but you only get to choose ten from each list. I say 'only' because it's a weird list. Fine, I understand it's important to make lists, I love lists, but these ain't my kinds of lists. Some examples from the 'Can't Stand' list. I can't stand someone who lies to anyone - especially to me. I can't stand someone who takes advantage of people. I can't stand someone whose main topic of conversation is himself or herself. I can't stand someone who is belittling, impatient or hateful to people in any situation. I can't stand someone who is unable to accept blame or see fault in their own actions. I can't stand someone who has a devious nature and is mean to others. I can't stand someone who believes that any particular ethnic group to which they belong is superior to the rest of humanity. I can't stand someone who is obnoxiously cocky. You get the point. As stated, you're only allowed to choose ten, but once you rule out obvious things like not wanting your partner to be a lying, racist, bigoted, obnoxious and hateful person, you're filling up your ten choices pretty quickly. And who, under their 'Must Haves', is wanting someone who is devious in nature and mean to others?

What makes me mad is that these sites operate on a certain construct of what a relationship is. I believe that a relationship is not something you can quantify, there is no programmable algorithm that can distinguish the parameters of why someone would be a good match for you. For me, any qualities that I may possess that might be of interest to another person have no room on my profile. On my profile, I'm just another schmuck who is making up complete bull shit in the hope that it sounds impressive. Maybe my worry is that perhaps I am just a schmuck? There is no room for honesty because if you are honest, people think you're full of shit or so sensitive that it can't be true. I can't really make stuff up either because how long can you really keep up the charade?

When profile-building, I find it difficult to distinguish what character traits define me as a person. The algorithm tells me I can take care of myself, I'm realistic and demanding, pragmatic yet skeptical, down-to-earth and judgmental, flexible and accepting, self-aware and private, passionate and engaged, introverted and restrained, thoughtful and modest, orderly and self-disciplined and controlling. Jesus, what the hell does this all mean? This is the personality profile the computer has outlined and it sounds a bit like reading a horoscope - you feel it's specific to you, but really, they're shots in the dark of generalizations. Exhausting.

Judgement. I shouldn't really get into this because I am completely guilty of being judgmental. I actually get a kick out of it. Let's be honest, this entire thing is based on physical judgement that is immediate and harsh. At the same time, this is how it happens in real life, so perhaps I should give online dating more credit. Society dictates that a relationship means you get married, buy a house and start having kids. This works for some people. For others, a relationship can be anything, there are no rules, there are no categories to tick off. When I've thought about the people I love or have loved, I can't explain it, and one shouldn't have to.

Switched from the online dating and did a search on the song While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Listened and found this passage of George Harrison describing how the song came about:

I wrote While My Guitar Gently Weeps at my mother's house in Warrington. I was thinking about the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Changes. The Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be, and that there's no such thing as coincidence - every little item that's going down has a purpose. While My Guitar Gently Weeps was a simple study based on that theory. I decided to write a song based on the first thing I saw upon opening any book - as it would be relative to that moment, at that time. I picked up a book at random, opened it, saw 'gently weeps', then laid the book down again and started the song.

I went to the I Ching. Book of Changes, liked the sound of it. Googled and found an online version where you could type in a question and a different algorithm, another computer, yes, but one that is based on a book that predates recorded history. So, I typed in, Will I find a girlfriend? The answer: The Superior Person carefully weaves order out of confusion. Supreme Success if you keep to your course. Carefully consider the first move. Seek help. New ventures always pack along their inherent chaos. Though this is an annoyance at best, and can even imperil or downright doom an endeavour, it is also the friction needed to polish your project to jewel brilliance. Learn from these early obstacles. For the moment, I like this answer more than anything I've gotten on the online dating site. Except, I'm not sure exactly what was meant by 'Seek help'. Talking about something more serious?

Randomness. Sure, I understand that if you're in a bar and you see someone you're attracted to, it's similar to viewing someone on an online dating site. Actually, you get more information on the site, valuable information like: I enjoy watching movies. Who doesn't enjoy watching movies? But there are other factors at work: the energy between two people, the physical chemistry, how someone moves, how they talk, etc., that you just can't access through a computer. I would argue that these elements are more important than finding out the five things they can't live without, which is another step along with the five questions and 'Must Haves' and 'Can't Stands'.

Chance. A friend of mine recently gave me some great advice: it's better to be alone than be with the wrong person. Nuff said. I think I'll stick to meeting a real person in real life. Yes, it's harder and the chances of meeting someone the older I get are reduced everyday, but I'd rather go by my instinct than a computer telling me who I'm attracted to.