My son, a fourteen-year-old high school freshman (with a hyperactive amygdala and a sleepy frontal lobe) plays the viola. My daughter, a thirteen-year-old seventh grader (whose frontal lobe is only slightly less sleepy) plays the violin. The important information in those sentences is not that my children’s brains are akin to those of prehistoric reptiles, but that they play string instruments.
That said, may I tell you what the reptiles’ bedrooms look like? They are icky. Swamp-like. My son’s is choked with stinky laundry. Old math tests and candy wrappers from candy I did not give him. My daughter’s is a bog of art supplies, Tupperwares of slime and sequins, knickknacks up the wazoo. I keep their bedroom doors closed.
The important information in the previous paragraph is that I keep my reptiles’ bedroom doors closed. And, yes, that my reptiles play string instruments.
In Seattle, there are several amazing makers of violins and violas, and when my son and daughter need a bigger instrument, a tune up, a bow re-hair, we go to James Martin Violins*. But as many times as I have been there, I can never recall where on the block his shop is located. There’s no big sign advertising his name and his craft, no storefront with a display of string instruments. There’s only a nearly-invisible recessed door and a small brass plaque that reads James Martin Violins. I always walk right past the door. Always. And I always worry I am on the wrong block.