The music of the night

Showers in the rez hotel are often an adventure, but this morning's was particularly bad. The water temperature was never constant for ten seconds — too hot, too cold, way too cold, too hot, way too hot, etc.

When the variations never stop, it means someone in another shower somewhere in the building is twisting their knobs and going through the same frustrations. Sometimes I shower in the middle of the night, if I’m awake, just to beat the rush.

♦ ♦ ♦

Last Thursday night, on an errand for oranges, I walked by the Curran Theater. That's a fancy playhouse not far from where I live, and it was almost showtime for Phantom of the Opera. Many over-dressed white people were ignoring the homeless and hungry folks, rushing to get to their pricey seats, and I gave a hungry guy a dollar in defiance.

Then a man on the sidewalk started semi-shouting, “Tonight’s show, ten bucks.” A scalper? Or maybe he works for the theater? It was 6:55, showtime's at 7:00, so maybe they reduce the price to fill the house?

Ten bucks is a good price for a traveling Broadway-style road show. At the box office, tickets start at $65. So for about three seconds, I considered buying a ticket instead of buying the oranges, but nah. I’m on a budget and can’t afford to blow ten bucks on a whim. And also, several people I hate have raved about Phantom, so I suspect it's awful.

Why am I telling a Thursday story on Monday? Keep your belt buckled, buster, I'm getting to it.

On Friday, Darla was wandering around the office making chit-chat with the employees, a ritual of hers that always makes me uncomfortable, but she’s the boss so I gotta participate. The ticket-scalper story was the only thing that came to mind, so that's the story I told.

Darla smiled huge and started telling me how fantastic the play is, how she loooved it, and how I must’ve been nuts not to buy a ten dollar ticket, she would’ve paid and gone inside and seen the play again... and I nodded. After she’d left I snickered.

Now it’s Monday, and Darla came to my desk and handed me a cassette — the soundtrack of Phantom of the Opera. I sighed and smiled and said thanks, and since my cheap tape deck is right there beside my monitor, what else could I do? I put my headphones on, and hit ‘play’. Yes, my boss forcibly Phantomized me, right there in the office.

In fairness, it's not unreasonable to expect that I'd love Phantom of the Opera. I'm out of the closet at work, might as well come clean here, too: I love musicals. I listen on the headphones and hum along so loud, so often, co-workers walking past my desk sometimes play “Name That Tune." 

Yes, dammit, I want to live in a world where anyone might burst into song at any time, and everyone in the background dances along. The Music Man is a favorite, but also Annie or A Chorus Line or Oklahoma.

Phantom of the Opera, though? Meh. I listened to the music, and returned the tape to my boss. Told her I loved it, and thanks, but honestly, the songs were a mixed bunch. A few were pleasant or romantic, but most seemed bombastic and overwrought, and is there a melody in there somewhere? Haven't seen the play, but the music wouldn't make my Top 50. I got more out of the oranges.

From Pathetic Life #5
Monday, October 3, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life 

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