## Wednesday, February 20, 2013

### What are the chances...?

 What are the chances that a  Christmas cactus blooms during Lent?

• What were the chances that today would be sunny?
80%, supposedly, but after months of cloudy skies and yesterday’s little blizzard, it seemed like a frickin’ miracle.

• What were the chances that I would be second in line at the consulate for my 8:30 appointment, and actually get in and out of there in about 30 minutes?
Slim, considering non-US citizens had been standing in their much longer line for an hour by the time I got there. Luckily it was sunny.

• What were the chances that I misunderstood part of the instructions which led me to believe I could pay with a personal check?
Good, because I’ve been under the weather - way under - and not thinking clearly these days.

• What were the chances that I wouldn’t have the equivalent of \$110 (which is actually €82.29, but in some tweak of inner-consular mathematics it was €88) or a major credit card on my person?
I would say, rather excellent, since I don’t keep my credit cards together with my cash (which proved to be a clever move when my bag got stolen a year and a half ago), and see above.

• What were the chances that the U.S. Consulate General does not take the EC Karte (European debit card) as a form of payment?
Even better.

• What were the chances, that I would be standing behind a fellow opera singer in line at the cashier window (as well as outside) and that said opera singer happened to be carrying his score with him at the time so that this would be obvious to me?
You have no idea how many opera singers there are wandering around, but the chances that two of us would be standing next to each other in line at the consulate... Slim, very slim.

• What were the chances that I would work up the courage (i.e. audacity) to ask my fellow opera singer, a perfect stranger, if he happened to have €13 I could borrow?
Pretty good, because otherwise, I would have had to exit the consulate, walk 1.2 kilometers to the nearest cash machine and back (it was sunny, but it was also freezing) and go through the whole security rigamarole again.

• What were the chances that I would miscalculate, have to chase upstairs after my fellow opera singer, and grovel for another €10?
At this point, I’m thinking anything is possible (and he’s thinking I’m a bag lady).

• What were the chances that, en route to the cash machine to pay him back (by way of the 17-minute subway ride to the main station and a coffee), we would discover we not only have mutual friends, but we have mutual good friends?
The world is getting smaller....

• What were the chances that I got to repay karma almost immediately by giving a random woman at the subway stop the change she needed to buy a ticket?
A small, but clear sign.

• What were the chances that this encounter with my fellow singer, someone who is only a couple years older but far more operatically experienced than myself, would snap me back into a time when I was amongst the people I to this day love the most, reminding me of who I used to be before I was filled with insecurity, fear and self-doubt. Reminding me that I have everything it takes and more to survive in this business.
I don't know, but I'm feeling pretty lucky.

• What are the chances that I’ll get to sing with my new friend on stage?
Slim. But after today, I’m willing to take my chances.

Thanks for the loan, Scarpia!

Now, what are the chances that I’ll get my new passport in time enough to fly to Madrid for performances in three weeks?