For the last few days, my parents have been in India. My dad had a business trip there, and my mother's mission was to prove how much she loved me by buying me multiple pairs of sparkly bejeweled shoes. I drew around my foot on a piece of paper before she left and then cut around it, so that she'd be able to place my stand-in "foot" inside each pair of shoes to see if they were going to fit properly. This would have been a great plan if the guy who was trying to sell them to her didn't keep folding my paper foot into thirds and shoving it into the shoes for 9-year-olds, saying "see! look! it's fine! it fits!"
(Aside Number One: My parents were staying at the same hotel in Mumbai as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and they missed them by 15 minutes when they went out for a walk. Their friend, however, actually SAW BRAD PITT GETTING OUT OF THE ELEVATOR. Obviously, I am going to spin this story the best I can until the version I tell is that I saw Brad Pitt getting out of the elevator in the hotel in Mumbai. And then we totally made out.)
But because my parents were out of town last week, they weren't able to go and see my brother Luke performing in his school concert a few days ago. Sean and I don't get out much, so we were overjoyed to take their place. And while I know it might seem like all I do out here is go and support my siblings in their extra-curricular activities, I'd like you to know that I am devoting a large portion of my time to other things too. Like Oprah. Oh, and work; I've managed to get some of that, although I'm realizing that now I'll probably never be able to go back to working in a place where I can't wear my sweatpants to the office, and also where the office isn't actually an office but a sofa on the deck by the pool. To think of all those years I wasted at a desk, wearing pointy shoes and sharp shirts, when apparently my creativity is at its peak when I'm sitting cross-legged outside, sporting half my lunch down the front of my ratty old tank top.
(Aside Number Two: I was talking on the phone with my other brother, Tom, this morning, and I happened to mention that Sean and I had spent yesterday afternoon working at the Coffee Bean. What I meant was that we'd walked to the Coffee Bean, plugged in our laptops, and tapped away like dorks for three hours. Tom, however, thought I meant that we'd worked at the Coffee Bean in a "caramel nonfat latte? Coming right up!" kind of way. Like suddenly Sean and I had decided to be baristas. Together. For one afternoon.)
Anyway, I don't know about you, but when we had school concerts back in the day, they invariably took place in the cafeteria. Luke's music department is apparently too high-falutin' for this, though, and so we went to see him play at the Esplanade, which, on this tiny island, is the equivalent of Carnegie Hall.
And the one thing I learned is that if you're going to be conducting an orchestra, you can't have jiggly upper arms. Seriously, you just can't, because you're standing up there with your back to three hundred people, and you're conducing your little heart out, and when you conduct, you move your arms vigorously, and we all know that when you move your arms vigorously, guess what? They jiggle. And then people are so mesmerized by the jiggling that they can't concentrate on the music, because come on, let's face it, IT COULD BE ANY OF US UP THERE. So if you're a conductor and you haven't thought about this before, let me suggest long sleeves. Also maybe bowing a little less ostentatiously after the performance but, you know, whatever, I guess that's by the by.
So do you weep when orchestras play music? I weep when orchestras play music. I wept through this ENTIRE concert in fact, from beginning to end, from the tiny kids in the choir singing La Bamba to the finale, where a hundred people sang Verdi's Chorus Of The Hebrew Slave. I cried when my brother was playing. I cried when he wasn't. Sean kept turning to me and saying "seriously? are you still weeping? seriously? you don't even know most of these kids!" but honestly, I just couldn't help it.
That's my problem, you see. I weep when people do things in unison. It's a strange habit, I know, but when thirty people pick up their violin bows at once, I well up like someone's just told me my cat got run over. I start to think things like "I wonder if it's too late for me to take up the timpani!" and "hmm, how many laws would I be breaking if I admitted to a small crush on that 16-year-old trumpet soloist?" (Seriously, how many do you think? Like, enough to get arrested?)
The best part however---apart from the seventh-grade choir singing "her name was Lola! She was a showgirl!" (you'll have that in your head all day now, you're welcome)---was the unabashed glee I got from watching other people play the clarinet. Do you have any idea how dorky you look when you play the clarinet? Do you? No, come on, do you?
(Seriously, how did I get a boyfriend? Moreover, how am I keeping him?)
By the way, in case you were wondering, my brother Luke played the trombone in the concert, and also the euphonium. Yup, the euphonium, which might just be the second geekiest instrument in the world. He, however, got to play his geeky instrument while looking tall and handsome and wearing a tuxedo. Which, unfortunately, was a luxury never afforded to me.