Natural to Preternatural Through Rock Band
By: Gillian Frederick Date: February 3,2009.
December 31st, 2008 was the first time I played the game Rock Band. For most people, this would seem like an uneventful, dull experience, but for me it was not only memorable but life altering experience. For about two months prior to December 27th, I had been very sick, so much so that I barely had a voice. It was especially tough given that speech had always been my main source of communication, yet I was suddenly forced to find other means; I all at once felt pushed into a corner. It was harder still because I also express my emotions through singing quite often, but this outlet disappeared with my voice. My friends, in frustration, seemed to vanish as well. I felt as though I had been isolated from society, as if I was a balloon that a child had let go of for one minute and forgotten about the next.
The 27th of December was the day that much of my voice returned, thanks to a minor day-surgery.
By the time that New Year’s had rolled around, I didn’t have time to re-find my friends who had all seemed to react to my prolonged laryngitis as if I had been in some terrible, disfiguring accident and they were scared to see and be seen with me. So I decided to spend it with my family; my family being comprised of my mum, my future step-father Gerry, my stepsister Erin and my younger step-brother Fraser. Gerry, my favourite family member, by far, in a parental sense picked me up around 7pm.
It has long been a Stephenson tradition to eat bad M&M's food on new years so we sat down to a pre-heated oven feast. Things quickly slowed down as neither Erin nor Fraser are the most talkative brother and sister, so we all sat down to watch Revenge of the Nerds. Not long after, Fraser had suggested we all play Rock Band. This initially struck everyone in the room as odd, coming out of Fraser’s mouth, almost like an out-of-order escalator that suddenly springs back to life, but a welcome one nonetheless. So we all took our positions as the new band, “FEG” (Fraser, Erin, Gillian). Admittedly, it was not the most creative name, but then again none of us thought we would work well together at the game.
I was the first to take the mike. Fraser was on drums, Erin played the guitar. With the stage set, the game started. Singing that first song by Nirvana was an instant release. It was as if I had forgotten all about the two voiceless months, the friends that had left me behind, all of stresses that had compounded, all of the pressures of family, school, and health. Most importantly, and unexpectedly, we all worked as a team.
Most people describe bonding experiences as a heart-to-heart talk, or persevering through a father-son climbing expedition, but I have never connected so quickly or warmly with anyone as I did with my siblings that night. Sure, I had always cared for them. And in some form I believe that I had loved them, but things changed significantly for the better that night. We played into the wee hours of the morning, hoping to finish the entire game in a single night, a Herculean task which we did not accomplish. Now instead of mindlessly watching TV or silently seeing a movie, neither involving any social interaction, every other weekend when Fraser and Erin come down for a visit, we become the staggeringly talented rock band, FEG. And a true family unit.