Thursday, September 23, 2010
Redeemed by Music
Today was, well, annoying. I got up way too early for my 8:15 doctor's appointment -- the one my arthritis doc says I need for him to refill my meds -- and was all proud of myself for getting to his office on time, only to discover that I couldn't find him on the building directory.
And then I remembered that he's moved to the way-far-by-freeway other end of town. Gahhhhh! And when I called to apologize and beg for mercy, since so many doctors' offices charge for no-shows (and I understand that, really), I couldn't get a human, but only a phone tree. I kept calling and finally got a real live person, who was both kind and sympathetic, and rescheduled me for an afternoon appointment -- thankya Jesus! -- in a few weeks, and who says I won't be billed for the no-show.
Since I was up so bright and early (snarl snarl gnash), I decided to take an aquasize class at the gym. I usually enjoy those, but this time I got a bad leg cramp and also, I think, did something funky to my back, which has been grumbling ever since. On the bright side, I maintained pretty good control of my aqua-noodle, and didn't bop anyone on the head.
That adventure was followed by a singularly unpleasant meeting at work. I work in an unusually peaceful and friendly department; we're not perfect, but we can go for several years at a clip with no drama whatsoever, and when there is drama, it tends to blow over fairly quickly, at least on the surface. People are polite and supportive and try to help each other out. But, well, y'know, the state's in the toilet, which means the university's not in great shape either, and everybody's really scared about what's going to happen to the budget, and we've been wrestling with department priorities, and today that came to a head. There was snapping, there were trembling lips and semi-accusations, there were people venting in the hallway afterwards. A few colleagues behaved very rationally during the meeting itself, but I wasn't at my best -- I tried to be, but I don't think I came across well -- and I left the room fearing that someone I like would never speak to me again. The decisions went the way I'd been arguing they should, but it was one of those meetings where just about everybody walks out feeling wretched, even the people who got what they wanted. A casual bystander, especially one used to the toxic politics so common in other departments across the country, might only have thought that we were having a mildly bad day, but by our standards, it was Holy Horror.
I went straight from that meeting to another, only slightly more pleasant, in which a program I'd proposed was shot down in about ten seconds. I'd gone in knowing this would happen -- I'd have been amazed if it hadn't, and, really, I need to give myself credit for even trying -- and the other people in the meeting were as nice about it as they could be, but, well, I walked out of there feeling even limper than I had after the first meeting.
When I came home, my new Kindle was waiting, which helped. I sent what I hoped would be interpreted as a friendly e-mail to the person I was afraid I'd angered, who wrote back as graciously as I could have expected under the circumstances. (See, that's my department for you. We all try to be nice. We really do.) I got a little writing done, ate dinner, graded a few papers.
And then, thanks be to God, Gary and I went to hear Lunasa, one of the acts in this year's Performing Arts Series line-up. Tonight's group was originally supposed to be another Celtic band, but they had to pull out at the last minute, and Lunasa was on tour, and, well, we got lucky.
And how lucky! That was one of the best concerts I've ever heard. These guys play so well that you expect their heads or their instruments to burst into spontaneous flames. I'm not sure it's physically possible for fingers to move as quickly as theirs do, and the band's perfectly balanced. Their energy's amazing: the whole hall was clapping and stomping, and they got a standing ovation. (Claire, if you're reading this, remember that concert we went to at The Bottom Line a million years ago? The one where we clapped and stomped and hooted until our throats hurt and our muscles ached? It was kinda like that, only better.) The music was -- well, words fail. Even listening to Lunasa's superb albums can't convey the feeling of hearing them live. If you like Celtic music and ever get the chance to hear them perform, go!
It would have been a transcendent concert anyway, but it was also exactly what I needed to pull myself out of the trough of the day. There is music. Life will go on.