She's gorgeous. Long, black hair, a stylish little cocktail dress matched with a jacket of midnight blue, and a pair of endless, endless legs. What's more, she's alone. And sitting one seat away from me at the Philadelphia Orchestra concert. Life just doesn't get better than this.
As we wait for the concert to start, I sit there, reading my Selected Poems of Seifert, wondering if she's noticed or whether she even knows who Seifert is. Where's that little bubble saying "Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature" when you need it? I race my way through each poem, taking in nothing, waiting till I get to the end before I glance up again, look across at her. She seems engrossed in her program. I wonder if, like me, she's a subscriber. Wouldn't that be incredible? As the lights go down and the music starts I sink into a daydream about the two of us getting to know each other better as the season progresses. I imagine the first awkward conversations, the discovery of mutual favorites, the animated chat in the intermission of the second concert leading to the coffee date before the third, then dessert after the fourth, dinner before the fifth and by the time the sixth concert came along we'd be officially 'a couple'. I imagine telling other people, years later, how our romance began, how the vagaries of the Kimmel Center ticketing algorithm brought us together. It would make such a good story.
As I dwell on our subscription-ticket romance, Berlioz's Carnival Overture is drawing to a close. I glance at the program. Britten next. Sigh. I wish they'd hurry up and get to the Debussy already.
But wait, she's doing something - she's taking out pen and paper, getting ready to write. Does she mean to take notes? Maybe she's a famous music critic of some sort. Maybe she does reviews of concert performances for some magazine. The thought is intimidating - how am I ever going to strike up a conversation with a woman who knows so much more than me about classical music? But come on, there's no way she's a critic. For one thing, would a professional critic be sitting way up here in the furthest tier from the stage? Of course not. Besides, she's too young. She's probably a student. Yes, that's what it is - she's a PhD candidate. In music. She's probably at Penn. Another thing we can bond about. This is great. But wait, if she's taking notes in the Britten violin concerto does that mean she's doing her dissertation on Britten? Or on twentieth century British composers more generally? Hmmm. Not too promising that. Still, all relationships involve some compromise. Besides, just because she's doing her dissertation on them doesn't mean she likes them. You have to pick what's not already been done. Everyone knows that.
The concert goes on. Midori is sawing away at her violin. Almost at the end of the first movement now. There. Wait a minute, what is she doing? She's putting aside her pen and paper, she's raising her hands - oh my god! can it be? - yes, it is, she's...she's...clapping. In between movements! AAARGHH!
Sigh. Another dream snuffed out.
P.S. Please to notice fiction tag. Yes, I was at concert. Yes, I was reading Seifert. No, nothing like this happened.
P.P.S. Oh, and no jokes about 'a dose of clap', please. Thank you.