Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Love is a Rebellious Frisbee

Carmen is not my favorite opera, it turns out.

Wallace, ID "Center O'Universe"
I didn't realize that I liked opera until recently.  We were out to dinner with another family and the dad and I got blabbing about opera.  He is a thick-spectacled man with an opera vocabulary to match.  He used some technical term and I said, "I don't know what that means.  I'm not really an opera expert. It's not really my thing."  And my friend says, "Yeah, it's not really your thing, Sarajoy.  You two have just been holding forth for half an hour on opera.  You even have favorites, which is more than I can say, even though I've been dragged to more operas than I can count."

I stand by what I said: I am not an opera expert.  But her words got me thinking: I kind of do like opera.  I've been going since I was 15 and my mom got me tickets to see The Magic Flute, and I took my boyfriend and although I've seen many since, that's still my favorite opera, so much so that I bought the CD for my kids. And yet I HATE musicals and sound tracks to musicals and operas.  A long time ago, heading out on a little road trip, my friend asked what kind of music I like: "Good," I stupidly opined.  So she grabs some CDs and the ENTIRE road trip we were listening to Rent, while she narrated the plot. It was pure hell.  Now I always specify: no Christian rock or musical/opera sound tracks.  Everything else can at least get past the gag reflex.

So for our anniversary, I suggested Huck and I go to an opera.  Huck: "Pppffft, opera? I don't think so."
Wallace, ID
Oh, that's right.  Since we've been together I have attended operas.  Alone. We don't have to be the same person.  Although some overlap in interests would help sometimes.  And far be it for him to spend an evening humoring me, and certainly not on our anniversary.

I wasn't done, though.  If I've learned anything from my kids, it's that persistent begging can pay off, or at worst, dock you the evening's dessert.  It was a gamble I was willing to take.  Tactic #1) disparage and humiliate for being different.

"I can't believe you're a musician and you don't want to see Carmen.  That surprises me.  Can you grow as a musician without exposing yourself to new sources?"  Actually, that's what I was planning to say, in a very unusual instance of me 1) planning what I was going to say before I said it and 2) manipulatively and 3) to get my own way.  But he interrupted me at "Carmen."

"Carmen!!!  Carmen!! Why didn't you say so!"  And with that he whipped out his laptop and bought us tickets.

On Saturday we trotted the kids off to the birthday party and the over-nighter (thanks J and T!! A well-baby-sittered friend (who felt sorry for our baby-sitter-less existence) and I planned this over-nighter a while ago and I told Huck who said, "September 22?  Do you know what day that is?"  Um...no... let's see... birthdays? Band Gig? oh wait... maybe... it's our anniversary?")

Well, we didn't trot to their house so much as differently gait.  I, striding forward in a timely manner and Huck carefully swinging forward on his crutches because Thursday night he leapt to catch a Frisbee ("that Coyote was throwing" the bonus phrase Huck never omits because it gives him dad brownie points and basically points out that "(grunt) yes (grunt) I was injured in the act of being an awesome father".  And who's going to begrudge the crippled man his glory?) and tore his calf muscle.  And I seem to think it's important that it was the calf muscle on the leg that is reconstructed.  And Huck does not seem to think that is important because the tear is no where near the titanium knee. But that knee does wear on his body, does it not?  And why not get extra brownie points for being a mixed martial arts moron in New Orleans when you were 18?  But I digress, the point is we spent most of Friday in the ER, listening to "Wait! Wait! Don't tell me!" podcasts.  And we got expert care and no surgery is needed, just crutches and ice and they offered pain killers, but Huck refused because he's an awesome father.

The Family that Mines together, stays together
This crutching has brought up some issues, such as his refusal to allow me to help.
"Do you WANT to eat that burrito standing up in the kitchen?"
"Well, what else am I going to do? I can't exactly use crutches and hold a plate."
"Um, I could carry the plate.  I'm standing right here.  My hands are empty."
"I want to eat here. Grrrr."

And later:
"If I was hurt and hobbling around and you kept asking to help and I kept refusing, how would you feel?"
"Surprised. It's you we're talking about, you know?"

Take 2:
"Why are you not asking for help, even though you clearly need it?"
"I don't want you to resent me."
'Cuz that's me, the resentful grudge hoarder: "Well, it's backfiring, honey."

Just so you know, we both found these exchanges to be hilarious.  Let these repartee's be like a badge of honor: we have arrived, people. We are a bickering old couple.

Dinner was incredible, at 315 Martinis and Tapas in Coeur d'Alene where the entire staff was gay.  I don't want to let out some secret or endanger any North Idaho lives, but my gaydar was screaming. Idaho has never even considered any legislation to limit discrimination of gays in housing or employment because they are so very very weary of creating 'special' groups to protect from discrimination so it's always surprising to see gays braving the neo-nazi discrimination-riddle waters of Idaho, especially when civil-union-Washington is just miles away.

And then we were off to Carmen. Actually "Carmen."  It was partial Carmen.  It was North Idaho, not New York, "Carmen."  No set.  Voice-over summaries instead of some songs.   I almost cried when the curtains initially parted and I saw on stage, not fake-Basque representations, but the orchestra and a choir on risers.  But soon, the main characters came forth and danced and libretto-ed around a few pieces of furniture. Once I accepted the situation as it was, not as I wanted it to be, I was able to find myself enjoying the singing of the classic songs.  It was hard to believe, three hours in to it, that anything was cut as I dozed off in the last act, opening my eyes just as Carmen is killed, and rightfully so.  No, that would be uncharitably unfeminist of me to think she deserved it. But I have never seen a heroine so unlikable.  In fact, I didn't like Any of the characters.  Carmen is the most moron-rich drama I've seen since experimenting with the dumb-ass nerve-grating show Weeds.  The entire cast of characters should should ... should... I don't know. I am at a loss for words. Which means that Huck loved it, of course.

Of course, what I love about any experience is the moron-factor and the human drama, but apparently I need it to be real instead of staged.  The women behind me: "Is that the director of such-n-such?"  "I sure hope so, because it looks like she finally updated her hair."  And the woman in front of us turned around during a half-time and said, "Crutches, eh? I'll be on those in two weeks. I'm having a hip replaced."  And also: her husband had two shoulder's replaced, her aunt had a knee replaced, her cousin - a hip also, and she'd already had a head replacement, all in great detail. Huck interjected, "I have a coworker with a hip replacement.  She gets whatever oil or goop is in chicken wattles injected as a lubricant into her hip every few months."
And Mrs. Personal-Medical-History-of-her-Entire-Extended-Family says, "THAT is TMI, sir. TMI, you understand? Too Much Information."  And she whirled around, plopped down, and fumed in her seat.
Too bad we didn't get chatting with the man next to Huck sooner, a veteran Carmen performer who did not standingly ovate at the end. Surprisingly, he didn't sing along either.

And then the next thing we knew, the house lights were up.  And I awoke wondering how all the old people around us pull off these late nights.  We slowly made our way out, careful to not tip over the women teetering on absurd vericose-vein-causing uber-heels, clutching their men like they were crutches.  We stepped into the warm night, in to another year with our mis-matched paces and preferences and hobbies.  It was the best anniversary two people with nothing in common (except a marriage ...and kids, and a thing for sensible footwear... and also there's the "values" thinga-ma-bob too) could have had.

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