My husband wore his Stormy Kromer hat to the symphony, and I didn’t even care. My own outfit involved a black turtleneck from Goodwill, a white sweater that looks like I last wore it gardening, and a giant, very wrinkled scarf that I’d unwound from its Marie Kondo jelly roll in my top dresser drawer. I hate giant scarves. They feel like blankets. But I am compelled to keep them, well, some, I did do some winnowing a few months ago, because I envision at some point looking absolutely perfect in a giant scarf. This hasn’t happened in twenty years, but it could.
Tonight’s concert featured a soloist whose saxophone was so brilliantly gold, it seems to be infused with neon lights. I don’t mean the saxophone was shiny. My dad’s saxophone was shiny when he buffed it up. This saxophone was iridescent, golden, riveting, and so was the man who played it. He was thin, twitchy, always plucking imaginary somethings from the reed, wetting his lips, looking at the conductor, and then, oh so secretly, blinking twice when it was time to start the next movement. We are in Row F so I see these things.
The symphony is a festival of the extremely old. Oh, there were some people under fifty, but not many. And the hall wasn’t full despite our symphony having restored an extraordinary old theater for its new home. And, of course, 99% of the patrons were white. There were two or three African Americans and, for the first time in my experience, there was an African American conductor who was thin, spare, and willowy in black pants and a black silk shirt. He wiped his brow with a black handkerchief and, at the end when we were all applauding, motioned with his long thin fingers for each section to stand up. For the harpist, he simulated playing a tiny harp. It was lovely. Still, as I said, we are all amazingly old and easily impressed by these nuances.
I think I have mutated into a different kind of being. The temporariness of the pandemic has evaporated. Crisis adaptations have morphed into permanent disfigurement. I am a hermit with two dogs and teleconferencing privileges. If I had to re-enter life as we knew it in January 2020, I’d need a fulltime aide to hold my hand and whisper in my ear. “This is how you act in public, my dear.” I am my own Rip Van Winkle.
For reasons too complicated to explain, a guest cat is now living in my office. This is his first night and he is hiding under the bookshelves. He seems not to have eaten but he did use the litter box which is more important. Swirl and Punchy, our two Alaskan Huskys, did not even look up when we brought this new boarder in the door. They so ‘can’t be bothered.’ I love that beyond words. Having a guest cat will give me material to write about, so that’s a benefit. I guess.