Saturday, February 11, 2012

Live from the Met

Saturday. Noon. Trying to concentrate on chores. I turn on the classical music station to listen to the opera.

I first went to the opera when I was in high school. I remember being there in the magnificent building, which I was really impressed by, but the opera itself, not so much. I think that I cozied down into my seat, and, uncharacteristically, took a nap. Years later, again with students, I had the opportunity, and I was thrilled to go, but it had the same effect on me.

What are they singing? Why doesn't anything seem to be happening? Why is it so warm in here? Sleepy, sleepy, sleepy.

But then I discovered Live at the Met on Saturday afternoons. It is the perfect background for mundane tasks. It's theatrical and can move from soft to hard, low to high, in a moment. It matches my breathing as I move from scrubbing to folding to bending over.

On a trip to Titgnano, Italy, my mother and stayed in a wonderful old ... castle. It was in a remote region, near to Orvieto in Umbria. Since it was out in the middle of nowhere, dinner was served every evening and was a part of the price of the room- very Room with a View like. Every evening we were seated with people that the host thought would be companionable dinner mates ... in other words, other English speakers. One gentleman that we ate with for several evenings was David, a school master from England; I believe near to Oxford, though I may be wrong on that one. A regular to the region and Titgnano,  he was looking forward to his nephew coming to Italy and putting him up for a holiday as he did for him when he was growing up. In our conversation, which was always lively, he mentioned that he listened to the Met every Saturday evening at 6 o'clock. I was amazed and told him that I too listen to the Met at the same time!

I am not sure what it is, but I love the idea that he sits thousands of miles away in his home and does exactly what it is that I'm doing. It's wonderful. And though I knew David for only the hours of a few dinners, I will always have that connection to him. I am tethered to him. It is so much more satisfying than what has become the standard for connection- technology. I much rather my heart feel a pull of the feeling that comes from knowing that I know what he is doing right now even though I can't see him, and will never talk to him again.

How many can say the same for? Many. And in the quiet of an afternoon as I fold towels and listen to the bassoons and tenor play out the scene, my heart is lit up from the strings that hold it around the world.

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