You know a morning workout is good when at the end of it you are thankful there are firefighters in the building to help you through your asthma attack.
And that was how last Thursday started.
I got home after calming down enough to drive and found my inhaler. It tasted disgusting – I mean it’s not like albuterol is normally a tasty alternative to chocolate, but this was nasty. I took it anyway and eventually headed to work.
The thing about an asthma attack is that it is super draining. For the three hours I was at work I was exhausted and also scared to breathe. You’d think I would be scared of not breathing, but I was scared to breathe too deeply and start a coughing fit. I decided it was time to go home and just rest.
I woke up at 4:00 and it was dark and gloomy. For a moment I wasn’t sure what day it was nor why the heck I was waking up. I rolled over to my side and Widget, who’d been sleeping on my bladder rolled off the couch. Her getting off my bladder at least reminded me why the heck I was waking up.
Once to my senses I realized it was opera night. In the summer I had purchased a short season ticket packet for the Portland Opera – tonight, Don Giovanni! I was sad that Andrew was in the bay area and was not going to be my date; but, my friend Scott was a lovely proxy. We eventually made plans to meet at Higgins at 5:30 ish.
It was pretty rainy and I was all dressed up in opera watching attire, so I forewent the bike and drove into downtown. At about 5:20 I was 7 miles out from the restaurant. At 5:35 I was 6 miles out from the restaurant. Traffic was intense. I kept texting Scott to let him know I was running late. I kept taking side streets and shortcuts that would just end up with me behind more traffic. The whole drive in was emotionally draining and irritating. I finally pulled into a parking garage and waited for an attendant. One finally appeared and I asked if they were closing (which seemed highly unlikely, but they had the air of about to close).
Attendant: How long are you planning on being here?
Me: Several hours – maybe until 10 or so (boy oh boy had I underestimated) I am going to the opera (I said in a very “I am in a big rush and am late” voice).
Attendant: Nope we are closing in the next 30 minutes (holy crap he talks slow). You know, that opera is what (I climb back into the car)? at the Keller (I nod and close the door to hint that this conversation needs to end)? There are some parking garages near the Keller (REALLY? YOU DON’T SAY??? PLEASE STOP TALKING TO ME SO I CAN LEAVE AND FIND ONE OF THEM), or you maybe could find something on the street (what part of my window rolling up do you not understand old man??? I am in a rush to leave). This time of night there’s probably parking around there (At this point I took off). Hey, I am a grandfather – do you want to see picures of my grandkids (I assume he said because he was old and chatty and probably senile which is why he didn’t get any of the social cues I was sending – but I was long gone)?
I finally found a parking spot next to the Keller, on the street. I was super-stoked and glad that it was dark and nighttime so I didn’t have to pay for parking. I walked/jogged up to Higgins and got there at about 6:10. Apparently, the reason traffic was a disgusting mess was that there had been a bank robbery downtown. Exciting, right?
The opera started at 7:30 and there was no late seating so this was going to have to be a pretty un-liesurely dinner.
I had eaten at Higgins once before for lunch. I was totally unimpressed with the overly-bready, overpriced, open-faced sandwich I’d eaten. I was not expecting much for dinner – but, Scott said he loves Higgins, so I was going to give it another shot.
Oh. My. God. I am so glad I did! What a splendid dinner. Scott and I munched on honey chili hazelnuts while we waited for mussels. I knocked my tea all over the table right as we were ordering (I am an impeccable klutz). I had never had mussels before – they were extraordinary – soft delicate flavor. Scott told the waiter to quick fire all of our food so that we would not miss seating at the opera. I ordered the “Whole Pig Plate” – now that you know that exists you aren’t surprised it’s what I ordered, right?
“Whole Pig Plate” – “Cocido” of chorizo sausage, loin, ribs and belly with cabbage, beans, squash and hazelnut picada
(Dear Paleo peeps – I ate around the beans). This dish was heavenly. Every piece of pig tasted delicious, but different from the others though they were all in the picada. Scott ordered the salmon special. I like fish, but I am not a salmon fan. I tasted his salmon though and it was buttery and delicious. If salmon tasted like that more often, I would order it.
We left at 7:15 and quick walked to Keller. We got there in time and found our seats.
Portlanders delight me on so many levels. There were people dressed to the nines. Then there were people dressed to the ones (as in, “Oh, it’s one in the morning and I am in bed, arent’ my pajamas cute?”). Scott and I made a smart pair.
- Check out the bow tie. Hand tied of course!
We took in the stark stage and read as much as we could of the story. The thing is, Scott and I are both massively ADD. And as soon as one of us would get through a paragraph something shiny would catch our attention. And trust me, there was a lot of shiny things to look at.
The actors entered the stage and the opera began. Within ten minutes of singing there was a very rapey dry-humping scene. I hadn’t really expected that even after reading the overview. I think my mistake was that Portland Opera spells rape R-A-V-I-S-H-I-N-G. I suddenly felt very guilty for what I had done to the whole pig I’d had for dinner.
My quick overview of the opera: It was lovely. Some of the arias were outstanding. There was an especially seductive strip tease between the newly wed lovers. The staging was so stark and minimalist that it often confused the story or got in the way. The man playing Don Giovanni was so busy playing “detached” that he never connected to the audience.
And the most surprising thing of all… This was not my granny’s opera – no, it was not all the rapiness. It was that everyone in the cast was fit. I mean long gone is the soprano with her big head and body to match. Everyone looked like they could bench press each other.
The last thing – this opera was LONG. It started at 7:30 and didn’t end until 11:00. I am no musicologist, but maybe next time they could up-tempo the rapey scenes? Towards the end there was a line in the opera where someone said, “Tell me quickly.” I leaned over to Scott and whisper sang “I want to, but I can’t, this is an opera.”
On the way back to the car Scott and I analyzed Don Giovanni. I think he is a metaphor for lust in general. I think LUST is actually Leporello’s master and that is why at the end he is determined to find another master. When I tried to explain my thoughts to Scott he said, “Oh, so Don Giovanni is Tyler Durden.” I couldn’t have said it better.
We got to my car and that is when I found out that dark night does not equal 7PM, which is when the meters have to paid until. I would have paid if I hadn’t been so focused on how late I was to meeting Scott for dinner. And, I wouldn’t have been late to dinner if the city wasn’t so busy blocking streets because of a stupid bank robber.
I felt a little city-of-Portland-parking-ticket