It is time for the University Interscholastic League (UIL) competitions. For those outside Texas, UIL is an organization that provides opportunities for schools to compete. Competitions range from music to sports, theater to literary criticism. So here I am, getting up at 5:30 in the morning and learning the ins and outs of recording the music competitions.

Learning the front side (which buttons to push when) seems pretty easy. My problem, I expect, will come from the back side (which wires and cables go where). It all looks the same to me…even with tape marking things. On the whole, though, it doesn’t seem difficult, though figuring out where to place the microphones may take me a while to understand.

On the non-technical side, I’m here all day, listening to the same pieces over and over (since each school selects their three pieces from the same list of “approved” pieces). Boredom sets in quickly, and in some cases painfully since I have to listen to the music…even when it is being played badly enough to send me into convulsions.

I’d hoped this job would distract me, at least a little, from my other worries and concerns. Nope. For the middle school bands, the longest piece so far is less than 3 minutes. Each band is on stage for about 15 minutes, then they leave and the stage is set up for the next band. There is a TON of time when nothing at all is going on, yet there is not enough consecutive time for me to do anything else constructive…like finding ways to ameliorate the loneliness that’s developed recently. In other words, it’s the ideal setup for enforced brooding…just at a time in my life when brooding is possibly the worst thing I can do. It’s making me nauseous.

I shouldn’t complain, though. It is a job, if extremely seasonal. I can write blogs or other similar short things, but I dare not let myself get caught up in my fiction writing; I might accidentally miss a few bands. I just hope my emotional fortitude stays strong under fire.