A Different Drummer


Copyright 2002 by Jon Bondy, All Rights Reserved.

You may send copies of this to individual friends, but you may not publish this work without permission

Jon Bondy, jon@jonbondy.com

There was a period in my life when I was flying all over the country, consulting for a nationally known computer company.  I was often away 4 days a week, every week; sometimes more.  It went on for months and months.

All of this travel became old after a while, so we tried to mix it up.  One time, when visiting Palo Alto, in California, we decided to stay in a small local hotel, rather than in a large chain.  The lodgings were unusual, rooms along a twisting hallway in the middle of a building in the middle of a block of businesses.  I guess someone bought a building and turned some of the rooms into hotel rooms, leaving the businesses intact on the ground floors.

We arrived late, as usual, after working all day, and just crashed.  Shower, tooth brushing, and then sleep.  There was nothing special about the room or the bed.

I awoke early, and was annoyed by that.  As I turned over to try to sleep some more, I heard a sound. Bada-bang bada-bing bada-bang bada-bing.  Then bing-budda-budda-bang, bing-budda-budda-bang.  Then budda-budda-bing budda-budda-bing budda-budda-bing.  Then bing-bing-bing-bing-budda-bing.  It sounded like a drummer was practicing in the room underneath me.  Not quite that close, a bit muffled.  But, still, noticeable.

I tried to sleep, but it was no use.  That crazy drummer keept me awake.  His precision was astonishing, as was his conditioning.  The boring but endless drumming evolved slowly, the patterns changing just enough to be noticed, but not enough to either climb to a climax or descend to a resolution.  Budda-budda-budda-bing, budda-bing, budda-bing.  Bing-budda-budda, bing-budda-bing.  The guy was insane.  On and on, in never ending minor variations.

I listened for about half an hour, and then just got up.  How could anyone want to practice drums at 5:00 in the morning?  How could anyone have the patience to practice such precise, but boring, patterns for so long?  What dedication.  And how could a hotel rent a room over a drum studio?  I was exhausted and annoyed.

When we checked out, the hotel folks asked if everything was all right, and I commented on being awakened by the drummer.  They were surprised: no one else had mentioned that to them, and they knew of no drummers or musicians in the building.

What was below my room? A bakery.  A bakery?!?

And then it slowly dawned on me.  I had been listening to a commercial bread machine, mixing the dough for the morning’s bread.  Budda-bang, budda-bing, it all clicked into place.

Amazing the stories you can fabricate in the absence of actual information…