Saturday, October 27, 2007

4-3-2-1, Like the Barrel of a Gun

Last night Adrienne took me to an opera scenes program called The Countess of Seville, presented by the Boston Opera Collaborative. It combined songs from different operas--by Mozart, Massenet, Rossini, Milhaud, and Corigliano--that all told stories about Figaro, Susanna, Count Almaviva, and Countess Almaviva (the two most famous of these operas being The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville). It also used the text from Beaumarchais's Figaro trilogy that orginally inspired all the operas. What tied it all together was the story of Rosina, a young woman who was destined to become the Countess of Seville. The scenes were woven together using the songs and text to tell the story of her courtship, early days of marriage, and how everything fell apart because of a brief love affair with one of her servants. The songs were in Italian, French, and English with projected supertitles (hurray for translations!).

All in all it was beautifully done, and the fact that this group pulled it off in a Presbyterian church with minimal props/sets/lights made it even more marvelous. The female voices were overall much stronger than the male, but that's the way things go in the performing arts, it seems: men have a much easier time getting cast even if they're not possessed of the greatest talent because there are so few of them in the business. The older Figaro was very funny--reminded me strongly of Nick Lerangis--and the woman who played Marie Antoinette (oh yeah, she's in it!) could SING. She filled that huge church with the highest of notes and sustained them like it ain't no thing!

On a more personal note, I made a few revelations about myself and why I do the things I do this week. I've known for a long time that I'm not a person who deals well with change, be it little or big. In that sense I'm very like Dad: we both need set schedules and have an obsession with planning ahead. The only difference is that he does it because he has to have control over his life, and I do it because it gives me some stability, which is comforting to me in new situations. Ever since I moved to Boston I've found myself acting more neurotic than I usually am. Examples: dishes in the sink drive me nuts so I try to do them everyday, the counter must be clean so I wipe it with a Clorox cloth everyday, no posessions are allowed to be left lying around in the living room, my bed must be made every day. These may not convey it, but essentially I've been living by the motto "a place for everything, everything in its place". It's part of my routine. And when things aren't the way I like them it really, really irks me and throws me a little off balance.

If that weren't enough, I'm finding the social part of my new life to be the most challenging. It's not that I don't have friends (duh, I live with one) or can't make any; it's that, when I come home, I'm home for the night. I do not want to leave my apartment for anything that I haven't planned in advance: I'm usually exhausted from the day and all I want is to eat, relax, watch some TV, play on the internet, read, and go to sleep. Boring, but it's my routine and it's comforting. And that's the problem word right there: routine. Living here has made me realize that most of my friends in Boston are more spontaneous people than planners like me. For instance, if someone calls me up after I get home from work and asks if I want to go out to a movie that night, my first instinct is to say no because then I'd have to leave and break my routine. I'm fine if it's a planned event that I know about at least a day in advance, but I do not do well with spontaneity. My routine brings me comfort and balance, but it also hinders me socially.

Now I know some people would just say "Get over it!" But it's not that easy for me. I've been like this since I was little: I used to cry violently when my kindergarten teachers told me it was time to stop one thing and move on to another. I didn't want to do it unless it was my decision to move on. My Mom says that my Dad and I are very similar in that we could both be perfectly content being hermits for the rest of our lives: not going anywhere, staying in, and doing things by ourselves without any other human contact. I've been through phases where I don't go out and see friends for weeks at a time because I feel this intense need to be by myself. And it's not like I'm unhappy during these times; in fact, I have a great time and it's liberating because I don't have to worry about pleasing anyone but me. Hermit life is selfish, but sometimes the world is a little much for me. I need to regroup and restrengthen my "armor", as it were.

Anyway, I was talking with my Mom about this the other day. I was worried because I felt like a freak as none of my friends are like this, but she assured me it's not a good thing or a bad thing, it's just the way I am and always have been. She suggested I try to plan at least two nights a week where I do something by going somewhere, be it with other people or by myself. If it's planned into my schedule I won't feel such an intense need to stay at home once I'm home from work. We'll see how this turns out. Last night was an experiment and it turned out well as I had a great time even though I'd only known about it since late Thursday night.

Today was fabulous because I got to download and watch the next four episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender that haven't even premiered in the States yet. For some reason the UK is ahead of us, but I'm not complaining! I had forgotten how much I love this show and how brilliant it is until they started airing the new episodes back in early September.

Babysitting tonight. Which actually means getting paid to eat good food and watch the Sox game while checkin in on the sleeping babe. ;o)

The Scarlet Empress
The Madness of King George

Agamemmnon by Euripides


RM said...

I don't think you're any less spontaneous than the rest of us.....

*lights a couch on fire while drinking a bottle of stolen tanqueray, then kicks himself out of school to backpack around Bhutan for a few days. Then comes back and makes a interpretive art sculpture using what's left of the couch, the backwash gin, and a type of herb found only in the himalayas*

....if anything, I'd say you were one of the spontaneous ones.

Also, thank you for the compliment on my name-thingy. If you want yours changed, let me know. However, you can't be the Mad hatter or Alice.

Nate said...

I am of two minds about this.

Firstly, I would encourage you to go out with your friends! Some of us don't have the option of going out with friends--Kari and I are pretty much alone on the East Side of Cleveland at this point. What's the point of having a de-luxe apartment in the city if you're not going to party hardy like the wild post-college hooligan you are?

On the other hand, don't feel guilty about being a homebody-- you've got what Kari calls a Big Person Job now, and it's bound to be pretty exhausting. Having to come home occasionally with no energy left is an innate part of adulthood, so don't beat yourself up about it. God knows that all I want to do after being responsible for middle schoolers all day is snuggle up on the couch, watch Jeopardy, and maybe shoot some fuckin' zombies with Leon S. Kennedy.

So yeah. Take from those mixed messages what you will.

Wiry said...

Not that you need another people throwing their cents in, but I think your mom's right on the money. I like scheduling things myself, as they give me "set" things to look forward to. The other nice thing is you can take the time each week to research and find something you want to do, some place in the city you haven't seen, and make a conscious effort to expand your horizons or just have fun. For example, have you spent much time in Cambridge yet? I can think of a dozen cool things I could show you around there, even just based on my limited time.