One of the simplest things in the world is to walk to a certain spot, and then stand there. Slightly less easy is to be told to do that in a certain amount of time. Slightly less, but, still... ridiculously easy. Ever since I lifted my baby self up by the corner of the coffee table all those years ago, I have been walking. And standing.
Sure, as a baby, I was unsteady. I got better. Then, in my 20's, (for reasons that shall not be discussed here), walking began to get difficult again. Only this time, it was usually between the hours of midnight and four a.m. Seeing was also not always good. Punching was okay. Getting punched was do-able, too. But, walking... not so much.
Broken furniture and bruises aside, walking is something us humans can do relatively well. Yes, I know that some people can't, either because of sickness or wounds or born-that-way-ness, but the typical human walks rather effortlessly.
Then why, I ask myself with frightening regularity, can I not hit that mark, on time to say my line? I can get there early. So early, in fact that I get to stand there rather stupidly, waiting for the music to catch up. I can get there late. That is really not a problem. I sail through the air, landing close to my mark in just enough time to functionally attempt the choreography. But, hitting it perfect? Hmmm. Nope.
I'm told that I'm too hard on myself. After learning the whole six minute routine over the course of two hours, I expect my brain to have it memorized. I expect to do this perfectly. I practice in my head. I wake up in the middle of the night, obsessing over the timing. I want this to be effortless. But, it isn't. It is rather demanding of effort. Demanding that I put forward more and more until I get this right.
If I was in the audience watching someone like me, I would surely scoff at their lack of ability. I would mutter contemptuously, "He has no business being up there." And, then I would sniff and chuckle and feel mildly superior. Did I mention that it feels like everyone else is thinking that about me, too?
As with anything, perfection comes with practice. And, I am determined to not be the guy who doesn't do this stuff well. So, I practice. I count beats. I listen, and watch, and hopefully learn.
So, when people tell me what a great job I did on stage, I'll believe them.
Ok, I won't ever, but, you get the idea.