“There’s a writer for you… knows everything and at the same time he knows nothing.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon
I was in the middle of practising a fiendishly difficult piece for an upcoming concert when a tradesman arrived at the door to inspect the furnace. He was a pleasant man with a lively face, and his eyes lit up when he caught sight of my viola lying in its case.
“You play the violin!”
“Actually, it’s a viola,” I replied, and I drew a preparatory breath to explain the difference.
But he was off, delighted to tell me about his father’s collection of instruments, which had included a violin. Three more times he asked me about my violin; three more times I told him it was a viola. Undeterred, he went on to tell me how sorry he was that he’d never learned to play his father’s violin.
“Oh, you mean a tuning fork,” I said.
At this he fixed me with a patient smile.
“No, I mean a fork. You know, like you’d use to spear a piece of meat.”
I guess it was my turn to learn something new.