I checked my watch. I've already missed two buses because of someone's wrong instructions. I might be late. I better call the director of food and beverages.
The bus dropped me right outside the hotel. It's probably one of the largest hotels at the airport.
The director took me to the grand piano which stood almost hidden behind the thick pillar. It was locked, obviously from lack of use. He got someone to open it up.
It was a Yamaha. I remarked that I had grown up with Yamaha pianos.
Then I started to play. I began with a simple piece from the movie "On Golden Pond." Then I moved onto "Cavatina" from the movie "Deerhunter." With my hands all warmed up, I proceeded to Einaudi's "Le Onde."
Where was the director? Only after my fourth piece did he re-emerge. He introduced me to the manager of food and beverages and mentioned that he was sure I could play. Now it was up to the manager to discuss where to put the piano and when they'd like me to play.
The manager and I decided to put the piano in the centre of the hotel lobby so that its sounds could reach far and wide. Meanwhile, he asked me to play some more music, different kinds of music.
I pulled out some oldies like "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "Over the Rainbow." While I played, he walked around the entire hotel asking the guests if they liked my music.
After an hour, he came back and asked if I wanted to talk about my rates. He said, "What I like about your music is the variety. Our previous pianist played the same stuff every day. We could tell what time it was by the piece he played."
I told him that I love sight reading. So variety was not a problem.
"So how much do you want?"
I replied, "I have to confess. I don't know. I've been playing on grand pianos of hotels I stayed in -- as a hotel guest and often as a conference delegate. I just love playing piano."
Anyway, it doesn't matter. I got hired ---- my dream job of part-time and temporary commitment, doing what I love most ---- playing piano to an anonymous, public audience for hours on end.
"By the way, drinks and food are on the house," he added. "I'll let you know what our budget is next week. And you can start the following week."
29 November 2002 Friday
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