May 15th, 2004


(no subject)

Last night's rehearsal was the most grueling, physically, so far. We were on the risers for three hours, with a 20-minute break. During the break I tried to track down a chair or stool that was not being used but couldn't, so I reluctantly found my way back to the fourth row and suffered through the rest. The rehearsal was in the Pavilion, a large space that was packed to the gills with our orchestra and risers. We use it when we can't get the stage. I am sure that our numbers far exceed the fire capacity for that room.

The rehearsal time was set for 7:00 but many people came in late. Tom started with some sections involving just the orchestra and soloists, so we the chorus were able to "sit down" during that period. I sat on the riser, taking as little space as I could. As others arrived they found places next to us and the risers became fuller and fuller and my sitting became tighter and tighter, to the point where I felt it would have been less painful to stand. My left knee simply does not want to bend that much. It was funny, though, the way the risers filled, rather like a circus trick, how many choristers can fit in a Volkswagen.

After I stood up I did not sit down again. It would have been too difficult, both going down and getting up. Being in one of the back rows made it impossible, also, for me to step off the risers altogether, as those on the lower levels did some of the time. Others did sit down, all around me, during longer sections when the soloists were going it alone. Some of us remained standing, scattered throughout. When a soloist section neared its end and the chorus needed to be ready again, people would rise, making the risers look rather like an opening flower.

The music sounded wonderful. I wish I could have both been singing and watching. There were a few people on the side, watching, and I envied them that experience.
When I am singing I always envy the audience but when I am in the audience I envy those performing. I love being on the stage, being a part of this magical creation, being totally in the moment (these performances are among the times I can focus truly on the here and now). Time slows down, much as it does when one smokes pot, so there is usually plenty of time to sing every note, to watch the nuances in the way Tom directs, honestly to be "one with the music".

We have a final rehearsal at one today. Tom doesn't think it will go over an hour and a half, so I guess I can manage that. Then we will no doubt do final adjustments shortly before the concert tonight.

Mary and the car

Thursday Mary told me her car is in the shop. It started shuddering, doing things it should not be doing. Yesterday she learned that it would cost $1,000 to fix. She outlined what had to be done: brakes, major tuneup, some other things I don't remember. I mentally added up what I know of these things and decided that $1,000 was not an unreasonable cost, given it's a reputable shop, given it's the dealer. I offered to give her my savings, the money I am accumulating for a down payment on my own next car. She was thinking of other options: trading the car in on something else. I offered her my present car - I could try for my next car now, give her mine, but she would still need to deal with the payments on her present car. Or get rid of it, as is. I thought paying for the repairs was really the best option but suggested she sleep on it.

She checked on trading it in and found this solution to be untenable. Is that the right word? She would be making payments of about $540 a month. She decided it would be best to repair the car. She thought, too, that if she can arrange to have the body damage repaired later in the year she will feel better about the car, accept it more easily. It isn't an old car, it runs well, it does what she needs, but she just doesn't like to look at it because of all the damage from her various fender-benders.

She has the money - school assistance money - to pay for the repairs. So she'll do that. She wants me to keep my money for my next car.

The money thing. I listened to another episode of This American Life this morning, on the gap between theory and practice. One segment featured the life of a young woman with children who works feverishly to manage her pitiful income but fails. In her case, a lot of the reason is that she is too compassionate. She helps others if she has anything at all to give. Sometimes she quickly spends the money she gets so that she won't be able to be so tempted, to give it away. I think many programs for budgeting allow for gifts but don't acknowledge the unexpected, the need some of us have to give what we probably should not, when we perceive a desperation in others. When we see someone in worse straits than we are ourselves and we know that we can somehow get by without the money, we give it, we can hardly help ourselves. I am sure this is one of those psychological things, seeing ourselves as cold and money-grubbing when all we are doing is trying to keep our lives more in balance. Maybe we need the sense of chaos, of the wolf coming close to the door, of the association with others who are not managing at all, or association with our own past lives, our childhoods perhaps.

(no subject)

I am dressed, made up, and I've done what I could with my hair. I think I look okay, will look okay if I don't muss things. I think that's why I don't do this, the hair and so on, every day; I would be too aware of keeping it all in order and that would restrain my actions.