I have recently become obsessed with the mandolin. Some of you may know this if you follow my tweets and status updates. Some of you may already be alarmed.
It's true, some folks take obsession lightly, but as with most things in my life, I take it to Defcon level. It has to be addressed immediately. My mind fixates on it and not only do I have to have it/do it/be it/buy it/see it, I have to be the best at it and/or it has to be the best. It may have something to do with my unofficial OCD-lite diagnosis. Whatever the case, I choose to embrace it rather than medicate it.
So I began researching mandolins. I listened to mandolin music. I dreamt of mandolin music. I heard mandolins sweetly playing in my head when I awoke each morning. I talked about mandolins. My husband would come up behind me on the computer and catch me looking at mandolins online.
"Be honest with me," he finally said. "How many hours today have you spent looking at mandolins?"
I felt trapped.
"Do you mean looking at mandolins to purchase or do you mean listening to mandolin music?Or are you referring to watching mandolin players on YouTube or researching mandolins in general? Because they are all totally different activities."
He stared at me.
I stared back.
"I mean total time spent involved with mandolins in any manner whatsoever," he said.
I pursed my lips. I looked up towards the ceiling and counted on my fingers. I hemmed and hawed. I looked away for a while and then looked back at him, hoping he'd lost interest and had wandered off. But he had not.
"Four hours?" I said.
We stared at each other for a while more and then he finally laughed.
"How did this happen?" he said, as though it were preposterous.
"How can it not happen," I intoned and nodded my head sagaciously at him. In times of trouble, I like to get all zen on people to confuse them.
He just shook his head and went to find his iPad.
That's love, people.
I will remind the jury, however, that I was there for him during his great shoe obsession of '07 so he owes me. I think it's a little more disturbing to catch your man surfing the Alden website late at night, okay?
The point is, we both married well.
Back to the mandolin. It's not as though this obsession with mandolins is sudden, per se. I played both violin and guitar so it's not like I'm switching from winds or anything crazy like that. Add to that the historical significance of my very birth name. As soon as my mother named me "Amanda Lynn" my father started teasing her about naming me after an instrument. I've been "Mandalyn" or "Mando" ever since. In fact, I never realized they called mandolins "mando" until my recent internet obsession, er, research. See, it's almost kismet.
I've also been listening to more bluegrassy type of music lately. I've always loved the blues but anything remotely country was a turnoff. But with bands like The Avett Brothers, even city slickers like me can get down with a fiddle and a banjo. Or even better, a banjolin!
Other performers like Sarah Jarosz and Mandolin Orange are also making the mandolin a more popular bluegrass/folk/pop instrument. And our very own Jack White of Detroit's hometown band, The White Stripes, plays mando too.
So see? It's totally cool, I swear.
I finally went on a 90-minute trek to buy my first mandolin yesterday. I'd had my first lesson this past Saturday and knew my love was real as soon as I held the instrument and strummed it. My instructor sent me off to Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan to find the right instrument.
I brought it home and proceeded to spend an hour on it. I spent another half hour on it after the kids went to bed. I'm not going to lie, today my fingers hurt as I type this.
I think I'll name her Lucy.
I can't quite explain why I love the mandolin like I do. I was never so excited to buy or play an instrument in my life. I liked the guitar. I tolerated the violin. But I never loved them the way I love this.
But then again, love was never rational, was it?