Lost in Transportation
I don’t remember where it was, but I read in some magazine or newspaper the other day that pretty much everyone has their horror stories about traveling - about the time they missed the connection making them late for whatever, or about the reservations being mixed up. Or about two fellow passengers talking loudly and incessantly (see Lost in Phonation - Part One), or about the time homeland security checked your luggage without your knowledge and neglected to put your left shoe back in the suitcase (happened to me earlier this week). But the point of the article was that we always manage to come out on the other side and live to tell our tales of inconvenience. A matter of perspective, I suppose if you arrive at your destination alive and with all limbs intact, you have had a pretty nice ride.
Still, there is no worse form of quotidian stress than that of getting from A to B, much less C. As I am a big fan of seeing the macrocosm within the microcosm (and not the other way around), I found today especially challenging.
Ironically, today was NOT the day that public transportation went on strike in Frankfurt. I’m sure everybody has their tale to tell about that. I was luckily forewarned and didn’t even attempt to put anything too ambitious on my to-do list. Tomorrow is another day, I said to myself. Going out to dinner with friends was about all I could accomplish, and I think I did a pretty good job.
Lately (no pun intended), I seem to be in a phase of life where I’m late for everything. That may surprise people who’ve known me for a long time. I used to join in the cajoling when friends of mine made fun of one of our gang who always arrived tardy. “Time doesn’t apply to her,” we would scoff, holier than she. Ah, but we were young and foolish. Now that I am a latecomer myself, I only wish I could be as guilt-free as our friend seemed to be back then.
But to me, being late - missing a connection, missing a shoe - it all points to the fact that I seem to be a late-bloomer. Today started off with a frustrating, unsuccessful practice session (for which I was late), followed by a rather tedious errand-running session (albeit successful, so I have to give myself a break there), followed by what would have been yoga, had I not been late, followed by a spontaneous decision to go see “The Tempest” at the opera (because I decided that was just what I needed for artistic inspiration). The woman playing the coloratura role in tonight’s performance (the last one in Frankfurt, it should be duly noted) is someone I’d met in Seattle when I went to see one of her recitals. She's had a long, steady career, and I’m inspired and impressed by her tenacity and integrity.
True to my new fashion, I missed the first tram to the opera. No worries, I thought, another one will be along in ten minutes. A little rushed, but I’ll still make it. The next tram arrived seven minutes too late (!), causing me to run into the opera house approximately 42 seconds before the show started. Still having to buy a ticket, I held steadfast to my belief that I was going to accomplish at least one fulfilling task today. Then I heard the dissonant opening chords of the opera. Oper Frankfurt is nice enough to provide their unpunctual guests with television monitors in the lobby - but you still have to buy a ticket, even though you’re watching the performance on a screen, before being allowed entry after intermission. The only tickets left cost upwards of 46 Euros, and I figured that was too much to spend on half an opera.
Feeling defeated, I sadly sauntered out into the cold and sat on the steps of the theater not quite knowing what to do. To make matters worse, as a method of advertisement, the opera house has installed speakers which blare the ongoing performance out to Willy-Brandt-Platz - also the site of the Commerzbank, Europe’s now second-tallest building, and the European Central Back, home of the Euro.
If I’d had Euros to burn, I’d have been sitting in the opera right now instead of on the front steps. If I weren’t a late bloomer, maybe I would have been on the stage instead of in the audience. This was the series of thoughts going through my head as I made my way back to the subway station where I saw on a poster that John Helliwell from Supertramp and Martin Barre from Jethro Tull were playing in “Excalibur - The Celtic Rock Opera.” Suddenly I felt lucky to be exactly who I was, at exactly this time, in exactly this place.
I have one more chance to achieve something on my to-do list today, which is to go see some friends of mine play with their band in a bar.
Think I’ll walk.