As the great violinist Dean Gelato aged, his technique and performance on the violin improved. However, his ability to find the correct venue for his performance grew steadily worse. He tried to cope by leaving earlier and earlier. This meant that the assistants who came to drive him straight to the doors kept missing him.
It didn’t help that no one would tell him if he arrived at the wrong place. When he arrived at what looked like a suitably busy venue, they would welcome him in and show him into a nice room so that he could tune his violin and mentally prepare.
He’d come out onstage to perform an opening solo, only to discover he was guest performing for a rock band or a baseball game or a track meet or a political debate or the academy awards.
His assistants would somehow manage to track him down at this point and drag him away to the waiting audience that had bought tickets to hear him perform. As he usually was only a little late, the audience would laugh and applaud and no real harm was done. It even became a running joke. It was just very embarrassing.
Dean swallowed his pride and admitted he had a problem. He started waiting for his assistants. However, by this point part of his fame was tied to wondering where he’d turn up next. People liked when he got lost. It had become an international joke at a time when the world needed something harmless to laugh at.
So, the assistants would take him to the wrong place on purpose. Occasionally this was prearranged, but mostly they’d drive around looking for somewhere that looked rather busy. Dean would come out onstage, ready to perform and realize he was in the wrong place again.
And he’d play anyway. It’s what he loved best, after all. He played like an angel. The world may laugh at his sense of direction, but they were moved to tears when he performed. His popularity soared.
Dean had always avoided interviews. It was difficult to know just what to say. However, sometimes it was impossible to avoid an interview. One of these times was when his youngest nephew became a journalist and was hired by a major newspaper.
Dean’s sister called to tell him the news. “And Dean,” she added, “he wants an interview for Christmas. He’ll call you next week.”
“It’s September,” Dean said.
“So you’ll get some of your Christmas shopping done early. Tell him a deep dark secret so he can get a bonus or something.” She said.
“I don’t have any deep dark secrets, not really,” he said. “But I’ll give him an interview. Isn’t that enough?”
“Well, I guess I won’t disown you anyways,” she said.
A week later, his nephew called. “Hi Uncle Dean! It’s Aiden,” he said.
“Hi Aiden, I hear you want to interview me,” Dean said.
“Yeah. So, are you ready?” Aiden asked.
“Go, ahead, Aiden,” Dean said. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.
Aiden cleared his throat. “Mr. Gelato, it’s good to talk to you. My name is Aiden Short. Would you mind if I recorded this interview?”
“No, that’s fine,” Dean said.
“Mr. Gelato, the world wants to know. Do you arrive at the wrong venue as a publicity stunt? Do you believe your playing isn’t enough to speak for itself?”
Dean sighed. This was worse than usual. Obviously Aiden takes after his mean, mean mother. “Sadly, I’m not that clever. Originally, I just kept getting lost. Now I have assistants to take me to the right place, but I still end up in the wrong place. I think they think it’s funny.”
“So you believe it is some sort of plot. Do you have any other conspiracy theories you’d like to share?” Aiden said in a low, sinister voice.
“Listen, Aiden. I’m going to pause this interview,” Dean said.
“You can’t do that, Mr. Gelato,” Aiden said.
“I can. I want you to take this to your editor and see if this is really the kind of interview they want to run. Then you can call me back,” Dean said.
Aiden called back an hour later. “Uncle Dean,” he said. “What’s your favorite color? Do you have a cat?” The interview went better after that.
Fortunately, Aiden wrote an article that was popular with both readers and his employers. He received a lecture for the first interview and a bonus for the second. “Uncle Dean, guess what I want for my birthday,” he said.
Dean laughed. His life had become some sort of farce. At least he still could play his violin. In fact, it was time to practice and find that oasis of calm again.
“Sorry, Aiden, I can’t talk right now,” he said. “I have a concert to prepare for.”