Standard party conversation, or perhaps late night talks under the stars, or stoned moments of clarity: if you could download any skill like they do in the Matrix, what would it be?
Some people need time to think. They either haven’t thought of their answer before or perhaps they’re searching for the answer that will make them seem the most… intellectual? Or the most virtuous? Or just the most. These people eventually come up with answers like “infinite patience” or “the answer to ending world hunger.” Which makes them sound much more like a contestant in a Beauty Pageant than having their desired effect.
Other people have quick answers. And I would be of the that category: Guitar.
“But Rebecca, guitar is something you could pick up and learn at any time.” And to that I would say, you are right. But then I would present to you my 15 year-old acoustic guitar that I have had re-strung 3 times by three different men, all of whom I had a crush on. I would follow it up by saying when I was 16 I took a few lessons, and then again when I was 25. And every year it appears on my list of new years resolutions and vision boards acting as a regular reminder that I have been failing at this goal for fifteen years.
Like I said, you’re right, I could learn guitar. But then I’d have to learn guitar. And I don’t want to learn guitar. I want to be able to play guitar. I want to go over to a girl’s apartment for the first time, see a guitar that happens to belong to her roommate, pick it up and play a few chords. She’d melt. I’d shrug and put the guitar down. Fire would ensue. And I don’t mean to say I’d like to be able to play guitar so I can get some, although yes. What I mean is that I want to be able to play guitar for the social benefits. Music is universal. Tell me you’ve never been envious of the person with the guitar around the campfire? If you haven’t then it’s because you were THAT person. Heeding requests and controlling the vibe of the evening, all eyes on you waiting to fulfill their individual musical desires. I wonder how that feels? Is it a partnership? Are you every bit as focused on the people listening as they are on you?
To the people concerned about what their answer says about their character, I feel you. Not being consumed by what others think of me is a day to day struggle. Let it be known that I don’t judge you. So when you say, “I’d want to download the ability to perform any surgery so that I could heal the world” the most you’ll get from me is a knowing smile.
Then I’d follow that up with, “I’ve been thinking about learning the guitar, any chance you know how to play?”