Any musician will tell you that the worst thing you can do for your reputation is be a no-show. The second worst thing you can do is show up unprepared.
The only time ever I spaced on a rehearsal and just didn't show up without telling anyone was when I had just learned I was going to have a miscarriage. I wasn't about to tell the conductor what was wrong, so I'm sure he just assumed I was a flake.
I haven't been unprepared very many times, but believe you me, it's not something I ever care to repeat.
The problem, though, with being a freelance musician with a family, at least a young family, is that everything goes to hell when your schedule, which is precarious to begin with, falls apart because school is canceled or someone gets sick. This has been one of those weeks that I have spent most of my time taking care of people instead of preparing music for various auditions and performances that are coming up alarmingly soon. A particularly tenacious virus is making the rounds in my house, so the past week I've been doing what needs to be done around here instead of what I need to do and my patience is wearing very, very thin.
I caught the bug, too, though not as bad as my husband and son (still waiting for Anya to succumb…) but did I get to lie in bed and on the couch and watch TV for hours on end? Did anyone fetch me water and snacks and Tylenol? Did I get paid sick time for the hours and hours of work I missed? No indeed, I did not. Not for one minute.
The other problem with my particular line of work is that it's so time-sensitive. If I have to take a few days off to care for my family, it's not like I can push back an editing deadline or delay updating an Etsy shop for a few days. No, I have been hired to play for specific events, including graduate auditions, and there are real people's potential futures on the line here. I can not afford to be unprepared, I just simply can not. Not only that, but practicing piano is not exactly work I can do after everyone has gone to bed, not in my small house.
So I'm feeling a little put-upon at the moment, and it's not really anyone's fault except maybe mine for trying to work in the first place.
Some things are just unfair.