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Mystery and Crime

September 28, 2010

Yesterday, when I arrived at School of Rock, to warm up for my 4:00 lesson, the boom box was blaring Sheryl Crow’s “Lucky Kid.” One of the guitar teachers was sitting behind the drums playing along. The drum teacher was moving amps around. A red vacuum cleaner was sitting in front of my room door. A tangle of used bass strings lay on the floor.

“Sorry about the mess. You can move that,” said the drum teacher, nodding at the vacuum. And then she proceeded to explain what had happened. On Saturday afternoon, the store had run a charity event for the local food bank. People could come and drop off canned food. And for a $5 donation, they could hear the store band play. They’ve been doing events like this for years. They set up in the parking lot behind the store, which is wedged between a busy four-lane highway and a street with a mix of residences and auto body repair shops. But for the first time in their history they were, as the drum teacher put it, “shut down by the cops.” Apparently, one of the neighbors called the cops about the noise. A 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon in a neighborhood zoned for business. For a charity event to feed the hungry. Now I hate listening to other people’s noise as much as the next person, but in a situation like that, I’d leave the house before I’d call the cops. But everything turned out okay. They invited everyone inside, which was why the drum teacher was putting everything back together on Monday afternoon.

The other news, though, was even bigger. When I went to the desk at the end of the day to get my paycheck, the store manager told me another story. There’s another music studio in the town where I live. It used to be right down the street from me until it moved to a brand new building a couple of years ago. I never bothered trying to teach there because they were all about band instruments. They offered violin but it was, as far as I could tell, a complete afterthought. True, I’m the only classical teacher at School of Rock, but they have a big folk and bluegrass program, so teaching violin and fiddle there makes sense. And the two studios were too close together for it to make sense to teach at both.

Apparently, sometime over the weekend, the store packed up everything and left in the dead of night, running out on a large amount of back rent on the building that was specially soundproofed for them and leaving all the people who paid for lessons in advance in the lurch. No one knows where they went. The landlords of the other place showed up at School of Rock on Monday morning to see if anyone knew anything (no one did). Of course I have to wonder is if School of Rock may ultimately benefit by picking up some of the abandoned students. But my guess is that so far, not a lot of people know what happened. There has been nothing reported in the news. I have a feeling students are showing up on the doorstep daily wondering what happened.

The economy has hit this business hard. The owner of School of Rock told me lessons were down by nearly half of what they were at the peak 4-5 years ago. But they are weathering the storm. But it would seem the other place was not. School of Rock, though, has been run with integrity. Music really does come first there. The teachers all play together (except me, although yesterday one of the guitar teachers was trying to get me to join his blues band) and most work in the store as well as teach. They’re invested in the business and the project. Apparently the owner of this other place, when he was starting out a few years ago (maybe 5-6?) asked the School of Rock staff for help, which they gave him in spades. He promised he wouldn’t teach guitar, which is School of Rock’s bread and butter. But within a month of opening, the other place was not only teaching guitar, but the owner had called up School of Rock and tried to hire away all their guitar teachers. No one would leave. No one trusted this guy. Apparently with good reason.

Also intriguing, to me at least, is the obituary for the owner of the Segway company, who died after sailing over a cliff on his Segway. Oh, the irony.

What about you. Are there any intriguing mysteries in your life at the moment?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    September 28, 2010 2:00 pm

    I am wondering why I’m coming down with a cold. I have too much to do to be sick right now but maybe that’s why. Maybe I need a day off.

    It’s a good thing you never taught at the other place, huh? You’d have gotten stiffed.

  2. September 28, 2010 2:34 pm

    That story about the Segway guy is the Ironic Headline of the Week, so far.

  3. September 28, 2010 3:39 pm

    What goes around, comes around. Hopefully, thanks to this electronic age, someone will call shenanigans on him wherever he hangs his shingle out next.

    BTW, way late for this party, but have you seen Nickel Creek play “Toxic” by Britney Spears?

  4. September 29, 2010 6:50 am

    Wow – all I have to say about The Other Music Store Owner is, “What a dirtbag. Good riddance.” I would also say hopefully he doesn’t try to start another music store in another town since clearly he’s no good at it on top of being dishonest, but such people rarely have that much self-knowledge.

  5. September 29, 2010 1:53 pm

    There are a lot of mysteries in my life. My teenage children, and which college the oldest will choose. How I’m going to survive a whole year being underemployed, both financially and in terms of the ego-bashing that’s evidently necessary to the process of convincing the folks where I work that they need me full-time.

  6. September 30, 2010 9:47 am

    I am wondering why every time I look up at the departures board here in the BA lounge at LHR my flight back home to EDI is delayed another two to four minutes.

    (I’m reasonably sure it’s not me. It’s the early morning fog’s fault).

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