It was 68 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday and I spent the entire afternoon outdoors doing pre-winter chores: putting up our Christmas lights, cleaning the gutters, cleaning out the driveway gutter, and putting away the barbecue grill and deck furniture. I also replaced my car's windshield wiper blades, repaired one of our toilets and bought a carload of groceries.
By the time I finally showered and fixed supper, I was a huge bundle of sore muscles. It would have been delightful to just veg on the couch in front of the TV for the rest of the evening, but my husband convinced me to go with him and a buddy to see a performance of Handel's "Messiah."
I agreed, with vague thoughts about kicking off the holiday season, etc. In retrospect, I really should have thought it through more carefully.
The performance was held at the most enormous church I've ever seen. The lobby and hallway reminded me of an airport. Its auditorium was not exactly acoustically appropriate for a symphony orchestra and chorus; I would have liked the music to be about twice as loud as it was.
I did my best not to fidget through the first third of the performance, but the seats were uncomfortable, the pain in my left shoulder blade kept intensifying, and, frankly, the music was boring the snot out of me. When intermission came, I said to my husband, "Whew, halfway through!"
The man sitting next to me on the other side said, "I'm afraid not - there are three sections."
We went to the lobby, hoping to run into the person who had driven us there and talk him into leaving early. He never appeared, but we couldn't face the thought of sitting in the torture seats again, so we sat on comfortable couches and watched the rest of the performance on a TV monitor.
While we waited for the Hallelujah Chorus (the one "hit" of the whole piece, as far as we were concerned) we discussed more than a dozen other classical composers whose work we actually would have enjoyed. We obviously felt some need to establish our mutual classical music appreciation cred, but I think it was unspoken that we'd both have enjoyed a rock concert - any rock concert - even better still.
So that's my recent experience with the cod liver oil of culture: it might be good for you, but it's not necessarily pleasant!