Thursday, December 13, 2007
A Bachelor Vignette / Beethoven, Day 7
Ten years ago in The Life and Times of Michael5000....
So, it's late 1997, and I'm teaching at a small Midwestern university, and I'm dating a brooding, neurotic colleague from over in Modern Languages. Neither of us are very happy. We do not communicate well.
On this particular night, however, things have been reasonably pleasant. We've had a nice dinner, and we are moving on to the only available nightlife in this city where our careers have landed us, a city which, despite being very small, is still quite dull for its size. It's going to be a great night. We are going to rent a video.
Now it just so happens that most of the employees of the video store have taken classes from Dr.5000, and they have been, shall we say, underachievers. The quality of their work has not allowed me to give them the grades they had hoped for. So as we enter the store, I quietly share a confidence with my girlfriend. "I've flunked everybody who works here," I warn her, "so we might catch some glares."
So we go in the store, and we start looking at movies, but I quickly realize that the emotional temperature has dropped. Precipitously. I'm getting one-word answers to questions. She's avoiding eye contact, she's tight-lipped, she's standing a careful four feet from me, and if I suggest a title she spits out "Sure. Whatever." Clearly, I'm in trouble for some damned thing or other, but I have no idea of what it is.
We come to some sort of tense agreement about what we're going to watch, and get in line to pay. The hostility is palpable, but in a fit of optimism I decide I'll try one last time for a pretense of normal, cheerful conversation. Gesturing towards one of the cashiers, I confide "To be fair, that one is actually really smart. She just never turned in her term paper."
"Oh!" exclaims my girlfriend. There is a sudden thaw. A broad smile dawns across her face. "Oh!" she says. "You FLUNKED them!!!"
Countdown to Beethoven's Birthday
Beethoven's Seventh Symphony
The Seventh is another favorite. It has a very distinctive beginning that, I'm told, is very difficult for an orchestra to get right. Everybody has to hit that first note hard, together, and then get right off of it so that the quiet little woodwind line is clear. After a minute or so, this alternation between crashing all-orchestra punctuation and lilting song-line morphs into an aggressive Beethoven melody of rising arpeggios, and we're off to the races.
It stays good all the way through. I won't beat it to death with description, not on a Friday. Drschnell says that there's a great cello duet in there somewhere, so that's what I'll be listening for.
Have a great Beethoven's Weekend!