Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Poor Adelphia.

My fiancée loves the Hollywood Bowl. She'd go with friends, or on a whim, just attend a classical outdoor performance on her own, and always have a wonderful time. It'd be even more fun to have someone special to go with. And hey, I'm someone special.

So what was the problem? Well, surprisingly, the catch wasn't that I'm not a huge fan of concerts -- I could enjoy these summer concert series, under the right circumstances.

But we can never seem to get the right set of circumstances.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the Bowl. But I didn't love it as Adelphia would have preferred. The drive over, with traffic and parking, was a pain in the ass. Okay, we'd take the shuttle. Then there was the throngs of people, especially kids, who are cute as they check out the Bugs Bunny music (Kill da Wabbit!) or John Williams light saber spectacular, but have no concept of crowd maneuvering etiquette (outta my way, punks, I gotta picnic basket weighted down with bottles of champagne here, and if you don't get outta my way, I'll find a place for the corks).

The real problem, though, was that we always went on a Saturday, which is the day I used to go visit my mom. And even on the most stress-free of family get-togethers, well, I was stressed. It was really hard for me to decompress.

So on the last concert of the season last year, I rearranged my schedule ahead of time so that I wouldn't visit Mom that day. I'd be nice and relaxed for the Bowl.

Turned out, that was the weekend I had to get my mom admitted to the hospital. She seemed like she might be okay, I kept telling myself that evening as we listened to Pink Martini do their thang, but my mind wouldn't stop swirling with anger & frustration about the stupid health care workers and worry about how they'd treat my mother.

Poor mom. And poor Adelphia for not getting her perfect romantic Hollywood Bowl experience.

So last night, when we went to the Bowl, things looked promising. We were going during the week -- it'd be much, much less crowded. I wasn't too busy that day, and cleared my schedule in the afternoon so that we could catch the shuttle with no hassle.

And as we sat under the stars, devouring a delicious picnic Adelphia prepared (okay, bought from Gelson's and Whole Foods), everything seemed wonderful. Even when my sister called, I knew it was probably her asking a wedding-related question -- all good stuff, right?

No, turns out, our cousin Morton passed away. Now, we weren't that close with Morty -- he was my father's cousin and they didn't see much of each other. In fact, the only two times I saw Morty in the last 6 years was at each of my parents' funerals. So, I was sad, but not overwhelmed with grief or anything. It wasn't gonna ruin the evening.

But, this is me we're talking about. I can't shut off my brain like a light switch, no matter how much La Ventura rosé wine from Paso Robles I consume. While the Mozart music played, I kept thinking about that wiseass Morty and how I didn't really get along with him when I first came to LA (my father told me to look him up). But later, when my parents moved west, he got together with us and told the most hysterical stories about our family. He truly admired my parents back in their Bohemian NY days. To me, directly, he was aloof and abrasive, and the vainest senior citizen I ever met, but I just can't dislike a man who helped reveal a side of my parents I would've never gotten to know, while cracking us all up in the process.

I did my best to let these thoughts go and be in the moment. Tomorrow, I'm attending Morty's funeral.

And hopefully, next month's visit to the Hollywood Bowl, my fiancée and I will finally find it frustration-free.


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