When a cello is sliding all over the place because the person playing it is sweating profusely, it is very difficult to play, but I persevered, because even though it was 100 degrees in my house, there was no way I was opening the windows. I did not want anyone to hear me playing, and even now, I worry that if I install an air conditioner, it will just give someone another way to break in.
So, I bought an endpin strap for my cello, which kept it from slipping so much, and I only practiced for short periods of time. When it got too hot, or my hands started to hurt, I would go for a walk, go to a movie, or drive somewhere. And little by little, my hands relaxed, and the songs I played became almost recognizable.
And then one day, one of my new and more accomplished cellist friends said, "One of the things I enjoy most about playing the cello is opening the windows wide and letting the sound soar through the neighborhood." I laughed, incapable of imagining my version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star soaring anywhere, and I went home to practice. I did not open the windows.
Several weeks later, shortly after I noticed that someone down the street had started learning how to play the trumpet, a construction crew appeared on my front steps, and began ripping them out and rebuilding them. I waited until after they'd left to practice the cello. They came again the next weekend, and again I waited until they left before I attempted to practice.
Last weekend, they showed up again, and I decided that I was brave enough to play for them, whether they wanted me to or not. So, I opened the windows, and I played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Jingle Bells, and the bass line of Pachelbel's Canon.* I'd play a few notes, and they'd drill: Twinkle, Twinkle, Drill, Little, Drill, Star, and so on. When I finished playing, they didn't clap, but they didn't hiss at me either. I have no idea whether they realized that I was playing for them, but they are here again today, so it's time for me to open the windows and play my cello.
* You are supposed to play the bass line of Pachelbel 54 times, but I figured that 10 was good enough.