Monday, April 11, 2005

The Ring Cycle: more like a semi-circle

So we blew off the last two operas. We started off so strong and brave: two nights in a row, totalling almost 9 hours of opera. But then Thursday, and Seigfried, rolled around and girlfriend had seen it twice (this production, no less) and I had seen it once, less than a year ago, and we both had to teach on Friday, and she was sick (has been for two long weeks) and so not going felt pretty justifiable. (Other justifications included: Me: I don't like Seigfried because he is a boy, and a stupid boy at that and that's not my favorite genre of human being; Her: My seat has no springs in it and I want to crawl out of my body by the end of the first act.)

But we had no intention of missing Saturday's Gotterdammerung. That's the only one of the four operas we hadn't seen and we knew it would be long (started at 5:30!) but it would be worth it, if only to hear the brass section soar during Seigfried's Funeral March. But then it was Saturday afternoon and GF was still really, really, really sick, as in propped on the couch trying to catch her breath between sneezes, and me, I was having a really hard time not being hostile/anxious at the thought of how sick I was sure I would become as soon as she got over the cold, and I was obsessing over my frightened realization that, having been a really terrible, non-sympathetic nurse, I had all sorts of revenge non-care coming to me.

But we got dressed to go and I put in new contacts, so my eyes would be fresh for all 5+ hours of spectacle and we started driving down Lake Shore Drive, but we were kind of late, and we knew we'd be lucky to get parked and into the theater on time, let alone grab food for the intermissions. Then my eyes started to itch from the fresh spring in the air, and someone cut me off driving and someone else honked meanly and I started down a familiar and easy spiral of talk-yourself-out-of-anything panic, complete with tears. I still had so much reading for class; I was still so tired from Paris two weeks ago; I never really liked Brunhilde anyway, because she's such a daddy's girl and I HATE daddy's girls; our seats are really awful and the man who sold them to me didn't tell me they were at the very top of the upper balcony; and even if we did have better seats, the Lyric has terrible acoustics and we wouldn't be ravaged by the power of the music (which is what I wanted). And on and on and on. I'm really good at this mode--can snap into it in a heartbeat, can stay in it forever.

So finally GF said, okay look, we have permission not to go; let's just drop it and get on with our lives. So we called our always-fun friends, who were on their way out for the night, met them at a dark and greasy burger joint/beer garden on the northside, and had a fried shrimp, french fries, and beer blowout, for only about eleven bucks each. By 9 o'clock we were back at home, playing with our new TiVo, drinking bourbons and sodas that didn't cost $10 each, and by 11 we were in bed.

Ah, culture.

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