In what other forum could I relate the saga of the birthday forstalling disaster I just experienced? Egotistically, I assume you are interested. My trip quickly went from a routine company trip to an epic disaster, and the Fail-O-Meter is busted. Mercury everywhere. Very bad. But really cool….
I woke up early on Friday with a bit of a crick in my neck, but no matter! It wears off if you don’t hold it tense and stretch it out a bit over a day.
When I got to work, I was unscheduled, so I had no breaks, but talked to angry people while gathering supplies from work for an epic 5 hour northbound trip. No real problem there, except that they wouldn’t give me the company credit card and had no contract for the other person (the Sergeant) going. Slight Frown.
Picking up the Sergeant was no issue. Funny, but a story for another time.
As we headed north in city traffic, all seemed to be progressing apace. Slowly, though, and my first intimation of how long the drive might be occurred when the snow came. SNOW? what? this whole winter has been barren of the substance Why today, why now??? 20 people off the road in as many miles and it took 2 hours to forge through.
We stopped for dinner, 70 miles and 3 hours later. The waitress told us the highway was closed and we’d have to find another way to go the remaining 200 miles another way. Which we found, though it was through towns, over bridges and through a swirling ocean of snow on the road. Arriving at 1 am (11 hours later…), exhausted, our hostess laughed and talked like an awake person for another hour and a half. By this point, the tension of the drive had caused my shoulder to stab me in technicolor pain if I moved. Cool! except I was there for a 9 am Orchestra Workshop in another city and I wasn’t in bed at 3 am.
I think the Sergeant and I slept 5 hours between us. Then up (fiery orange shoulder), shower (down to yellow), breakfast with Ms. Chatty the Host and off to the workshop. Let the Sergeant who can use both her arms drive…
The opening hour was fascinating but unexpected. We had thought that a lady would address the children on the topic of Orchestra. In fact, she was addressing the teachers on the topic of Violin Repairs. Apparently fish glue is better than horse glue for open seams. As I sat very very very still, I wondered what else hadn’t really been mentioned to me.
Where do we go, whom do we teach? Oh…um…..why don’t you sit in on this rehearsal…..fine with me! The conductor they got is a talented man; excellent teacher, clear musical thoughts, and so very good with the children. I enjoyed that. How did I play a violin with one arm? I don’t…it’s a triumvirate of will power, muscle memory, and set teeth.
Oh, why don’t you go warm up for your performance? Our….what? At 12:30, after you eat lunch and while the adult orchestra rehearses, that is when you’ll play your program for the kids. Oh…our…program….
When someone says “play during lunch”, I assume they mean play while people are eating, talking, laughing and paying no attention to you whatsoever. That is what is meant by that phrase. It’s something you use of violinists in Italian restaurants, wedding receptions and retirement parties.
That is not what happened yesterday. We were introduced before we had wiped the lunch off our faces and everyone sat respectfully for the concert we invented on the spot. Thank goodness I have a very loud voice that can carry through a cafeteria to introduce the “works” that we were playing.
I noticed the Sergeant was….flagging….and I stood looking at the renewed snow literally reeling and made an executive decision. We’re leaving. They do not have anything for us to do, I am not less than 6 hours from home and we are leaving.
We left at 1 pm. Dinner, traffic, Wal-Mart, drop off the Sergeant. Try to drive home safely (the technicolor pain is hovering at yellow so I can steer…well enough…) . I got in at 10:30. So much for the “easy 5 hour drive” that I was told.
So I didn’t check my email. I just went to bed and slept for many many many hours.
I don’t know if that counts as a dragon vanquished, but I will tell you this. 19 hours in a car in dreadful conditions is a bit further than I am prepared to go for a 30 minute concert. Though in a way, it was an excellent preparation for Lent. Distinct exercise in trust and very mortifying to the old flesh.
Next year, I’ll just have a birthday party instead. One where, if I’m up too late and then too early, it’s because I was drinking your very good health. Cake! Cake will be involved. I’ll plan it later; I’m going back to bed with lots of Aleve and “Whose Body?”.
PS. Today is a crystal clear blue sky day. The kind that makes your soul ache for the beauty of it. The kind that’s great for driving. Of course.