I just moved to Cincinnati from Tallahassee, because in a little over a month I will be embarking on my DMA at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). I’m stoked, overwhelmed, a little frightened and a little unbelieving. But that’s a story for another time.

As I was planning this move, I wanted to look into two investments: a piano and an Xbox. The piano seems self-explanatory; I’m a pianist. But thinking about it, why would I want to buy one when a whole bunch of new Steinways – that I can use whenever I want – come with being a student at CCM? (It’s okay, be jealous.) Welp, because sometimes I don’t want to fight for parking. Sometimes I don’t want to commit to the 2 or 3 consecutive hours of practice that would make it worthwhile to fight for parking. Sometimes I know I only want to do 45 minutes off and on. Or maybe I want to do one more hour before I go to bed at 11. Or those times (many, many times) that I’ve lost an afternoon or evening because I was cooking something that took longer than an hour. So, I decided it was a good idea; I wanted something small in relatively decent shape. Just something that could get work done.

The Xbox, well. My roommate had his hooked up to his TV as a composite DVD player/game console/Netflix streamer, and I really liked the setup. And since I was upgrading my TV to a reasonable size (from my old 14″), I needed something like that. And, in my continuous effort to be the coolest person I know, I wanted a gaming console. I always have, but growing up I knew not even to ask. So now that I’m an adult (or something) and I’m effectively the only person who can tell me no, I decided it was a reasonable investment. And besides, I already own Mass Effect (all of them, yes) from when I played it on Brooks’s console and I wouldn’t mind playing it again.

So over the course of three days I bought a TV, a couch, a piano, renters insurance, read the Ohio drivers manual and opened a checking account. At the end of the third day, feeling waaay too adult-like, I made the executive decision. On the morning of the fourth day I bought an Xbox and a pile of games.

And you know what, they were both great ideas. I have the piano and Xbox in separate rooms, about 20 feet apart, and they both call to me. I’ll be woodshedding at something and I’ll hear the Xbox call me, “But don’t you want to blast some mercs and geth and Collectors and flirt with the turian?” (I have a serious thing for Garrus, shut up.) And I’ll think, Why yes! Of course I do! and I’ll go do that for a while. And soon enough the piano will call, “But Beethoven! and Rachmaninoff!” And I’ll think, Of course! Naturally! How could I? and go back to practicing. It’s a pretty nice safeguard against burnout on either of them.

The only problem is that neither ever stops its siren call. Back and forth, back and forth, all day. It’s great – until I have to go to bed. It’s difficult dragging myself away. But, I guess that’s what coffee is for.


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