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You may not recognise it in the photo, but a household in my street threw out a piano today. Evidently they’re having a big clean-up, and have even hired a skip for the job. About half a dozen of them wheeled the piano out of the driveway and next to the skip. We had heard the big noise, the banter and laughter from all involved, straining under the effort, while we were waving a visitor goodbye. Then DH, standing in the driveway, called me over. Suddenly I realised what all the effort had been for. And now they were trying to work out how to heave it onto the top of the heap already filling the container.
DH was having a bit of a chuckle watching them, and wanted me to share in his amusement. I was horrified, and begged him to go over and ask them why they were throwing it away. We don’t talk to these neighbours often, and I wasn’t bold enough to do it myself. He refused, with “Where would we put another piano?” Keep in mind that our “other” piano is an old one my choir let me retrieve when it needed to be moved from its position in a neglected room to make way for renovations. While it functions and has sentimental value, it needs work, and may still be beyond repairing well enough to play for more than a family singalong. Last night my choir had their 50th anniversary concert, and to ready myself I had travelled across town for extra rehearsals rather than stay home to play my own piano. I don’t know why the neighbours were ditching theirs, but I can’t imagine it was in worse condition than what I already have. I’ve heard piano sounds from that direction many times before, and they sounded all right to me. They had probably invested in a newer one. Maybe they tried to sell it or give it away, and nobody was interested. Maybe it had been damaged beyond repair. If it was better than my current piano, I would have found the room.
The window of opportunity passed quickly, and the instrument was lying on top of the heap. Next we heard words like “hammer” and “hit” and, apparently in an effort to make it fit better, somebody started bashing the supports and pulling pieces off it. I couldn’t watch any more. I went into the house, I slammed doors, I yelled, I even came close to crying.
I’m the kind of person who cringes when a piano is destroyed in a comedy skit, even if I can tell myself it’s just a prop, and was probably never a real one. There’s probably something wrong with me if I can feel so angry and upset about a piano, but I just can’t understand. Even another neighbour nearby called out “Not the piano!” during the process. I know I wouldn’t react in the same way over a coffee table or even an antique chair. But to me, a piano isn’t just another piece of furniture. Being painfully aware that my once a week choir rehearsals aren’t enough to do justice to some of the pieces I play is obviously part of that.
I will probably find it difficult to look at those neighbours for a while. We rarely talk to them, so that’s not such a big deal. If we did talk to them, we might have known they needed a home for a piano. I’m most annoyed at myself for not running over to stop them, or at least to ask about it. It seems to reflect my usual inaction, even with things that I feel strongly about changing. I know there are much more worthy causes to be indignant and distressed about, and I am, but today was simply painful. Imagine that, a piano showing me how apathetic I really am.