2. Last night in rehearsal, as I was trying to stumble through after receiving the news, I was talking to a chorister & one of our volunteers about the summer of 2011, when, because of two consecutive abridged opera seasons, I will be off work (along with many of my colleagues) for five months. I said I want to see it as an opportunity to do something extraordinary, and mentioned that I hope to celebrate my 30th birthday by traveling to Mongolia to ride on a horseback expedition through the Gobi desert. Both of them -- surprising to me -- were aghast. I explained how I have always had a fascination with Mongolia; how it's considered the birthplace of the horse; how it would be with a professional equi-trekking company. The chorister, obviously not personally onboard with the idea of traveling to a very remote, very empty foreign country, nevertheless smiled sincerely and said, "I have always loved that you know just what you want for yourself, and you go for it."
After the chorister walked away, the volunteer looked me square in the eye and said slowly, as if he really wanted me to hear it: "I think you should carefully reconsider your plans." A thing I cannot for my very existence ever imagine saying to a person. So belittling, so condescending. Why?
3. Our concertmaster, who has been battling pancreatic cancer for over a year now, is back in the hospital with a grapefruit-sized tumor in her stomach. Her prognosis, which has always been bleak, has taken a terrible lunge for the worst.
4. After rehearsal last night, a group of our musicians, all roughly my age, stood around in the pit lounge making plans to get a drink. I had to walk past them at least three times as they conversed; I secretly hoped they would invite me along. They didn't. I clutched my scores to my chest and shuffled upstairs, feeling like Cinderella, alone.