I have been afflicted. Yes, no not by love. Well ok, you my readers are all too familiar with my quixotic love life; so I will admit: that too, but hold on. I'm serious now. I've been in bed since Saturday with fever chills, a teenager's voice and a pounding headache. It couldn't be the flu - no bodyaches or fatigue. Not the cold either. What could it be? Before you jump to conclusions I need to come clean and say that the only risky behavior I have engaged in in the near past is changing two lanes at the same time. So please don't go there.
Last night was the pinnacle of my woes: I had a date with the INS the next day to get my finger-prints re-taken so they can send me a replacement green card (some of you may remember that I lost this prized possession a couple of days before the GMAT). Very cool except that I couldn't find the appointment letter, my fever was raging, the toilet was blocked, the work document I was supposed to turn in by the next day was mysteriously corrupt and I was generally and specifically fucked. In the words of the indomitable Kramer: "Stick a fork in me Jerry. I'm done."
By around 1 in the morning I somehow manage to find the letter tucked very carefully under my pillow (lest I forget, you see). Fast forward to today: I wake up with an hour to spare! Now here is the best part: it is not enough that I cut my face shaving, I also managed to nick my finger. Yeah 'cry baby' you say, except I had to get my 'finger'-prints taken today, remember?You Give Me Fever
Anyway, I arrive at the INS office in oak-town (barred and fenced and everything). I get past the token unfriendly guard, manage to get a token and find a place to sit down. I am now running scenarios in my head, including one that involves an altercation with an INS officer that predictably ends with me in an orange jump-suit in Gitmo
. Just when I thought a cavity search would round out my day, an apparition floats in and in a mellifluous accent that reminded me at once of the spring-time streets of Barcelona and the vast emptiness of the Pampas, she calls my number. Until then, I had no idea that the number 672 could be, well, so intriguingly sensuous. I could hardly hear what she said, bars of Bach's 5th piano concerto were ringing in my ear, my fever was raging again, I was seeing things.
Boys and girls, if you didn't entirely sleep through your history lessons, you will remember that Helen of Troy was described to have had a face that could launch a thousand ships
. Some geek like yours truly thus aptly came up with the concept of a milli-Helen. To be precise, while a Helen face could launch a thousand ships, a milli-Helen face is what it takes to launch 'one' ship. While the rest of the talent in the INS office could hardly launch an origami paper boat, she
could have launched a whole armada - several hundred milli-Helens in wattage was this chica bonita. While she gently wiped my fingers clean and held them to the scanner, digitizing my digits, my stuffy nose gone, a quiet scent of vetiver enveloped me. Neruda flooded into my head: "I want to do to you what spring time does to the cherry trees".
I whispered to her about ships that were launched for love and the port-gate scandal. About the Taj Mahal in moonlight and nightlife in oak-town. About Mitterand's last meal
and cheap Korean BBQs for lunch. About Vargas Llosa quotes and Berkeley bumper stickers. About Chagall's unexpected exile in Russia and the travails of a green-card holder. I could have spent the rest of my application season crooning into her ears while she finger-printed me. But like all good things, it had to end. But I wanted it to end on a high note. So when she handed me the feedback form, smiled beaming a few hundred milli-Helens in my direction, even though I was dying from within, I refused to look into her eyes. I marked the form, dropped it into the box and walked away without looking back. I had graded her 'excellent' on all counts. No shit. You see, I wanted it to be the first and last time we would ever hold hands
.Fingers Of Love
While we're on fingers and love, let me tell you about Schumann and his piano concerto in A minor. Some of you may remember that catching a performance of this particular concerto was on my list of things to do by April, ding or bing. As it so happens, quite fortuitously, Davies Symphony Hall in SF featured Alan Gilbert conducting this most romantic of all concertos.
But I digress. On to Schumann. This Schumann dude is one hell of an interesting character. He wanted to be the absolute best rockstar pianist there is to be. Slight problem, he was already around thirty and dudes like Mozart had already cast a long shadow having performed for the Empress of Austria at age six (insert IWMI
and other child prodigy montages here). Undaunted, our man practised ten hours a day. In order to strengthen his ring finger, he wore a contraption called a chiroplast. Unfortunately, this apparatus turned out to be like the admission consultant who managed to change a bing into a ding. The thing is, the thingamagie not only didn't help his playing, it screwed his fingers for good.
The point is, change a few details here and there and this is the story of most of our lives - sometimes monumental, sometimes pedestrian, sometime lackadaisical, sometimes coruscating. Always remember that the worst of your miseries make for some of the best jokes for others. The Germans even have a word for it - Schadenfreude
. The trick is to learn to laugh at oneself - take me for instance - my whole life is a tragic joke - tragic to me and joke to others :-)
So now Schumann turns to composing. Well, he also turns to Clara, his teacher's daughter, tens of years his junior, a virtuoso pianist in her own right. Ungrateful bastard - but titillating nonetheless ;-) Anyway, long story short, the concerto is a love letter to Clara - the first chords spell her name, or thereabout. What I like about the work is that it is not just a self-absorbed romantic work a la Liszt. It talks about dark undercurrents; you see Schumann had taken a young Brahms under his wings and Brahms and Clara would develop a passionate, arguably platonic relationship that would culminate in the two of them burning the latter works of Schumann, composed while he had descended into lunacy. A lot runs beneath with this piece.
After a series of fidgety and restless dates succumbing less to the music and more to the thought of the lobster bisque dinner afterwards, I had resolved that I would not take another date to a concert. My next female companion to a concert will be my daughter, if that phenomenon will ever happen, that is. Any way, I went alone and it was worth it: there was a melancholy that went beyond death, an ardent fervor, the sense of loss that comes from knowing of emotions that one will never feel, and an unquenchable thirst. So I went out during the break and got myself a Diet Pepsi. Anyway, it was the perfect union of piano and orchestra - tender love-making with fingers. Took me a few blocks of walking around Van Ness before I could steady my nerves enough to drive back - ooh mama!
For those of you who want to catch this, tonight is a repeat performance at 8 PM Pacific. 102.1 KDFC
is broadcasting live and on their website.Mission Chi
Enough already and get to the MBA part, is what most of you are saying, eh? Ok, so I interviewed a few weeks back on the Chicago campus. The interviewer was, get this, an Israeli commando! Sweet guy though. He made me feel comfortable and asked mostly the usual questions. He then challenged me a couple of times with obviously contentious topics. I had figured that there was no right answer any way and so I let myself go - making up shit on the go. So far so good, but then I had to live up to my reputation, right? So I launched into a full-throated Chicago love song and did a full orchestra thing on the Levy Institute, except that this Levy institute happens to be Kellogg's department of entrepreneurship. Nice work Sorebrek! I might as well have rolled a couple of C notes into a spliff and smoked it during the interview - my interviewer would've been more impressed. The worst part is, I really really (picture me saying this like a teenage valley girl) really really love Chicago. I fit like Ben Stiller's green leotard at the Academy awards. Seriously kids, this is one school I think I belong to - love the students, atmosphere, facilities, the flexibility, everything. Oh well.
In other news I met with that doyen of bloggers, Mr. Daily Travails
, who I promptly managed to latch on to for most of the day - sorry and thanks at once DT. But then nothing had prepared me for the wunderkind, the uber-blogger, the CNN celebrity, the vanquisher of the GSB, the Harvard 911 correspondent, the spirit of the Winter Garden, none other than the POWWWWER YOGGGIIIII
! As I would later learn, the levitating seer has made himself quite a reputation at GSB, rising above the mundanities of plebian convention. Seriously guys, watch out for this guru - he is on to something - I have a good feeling and I'm seldom wrong about it. And a good time he knows, as was evidenced by our expedition into Ukraine Town and several other fine drinking establishments, so much so that I just had enough time to get back to the hotel, hit the shower and jump on my morning plane back to SF. In summary, I only have this to say: if by the unlikely happenstance that the Sorebrek were to join forces with the Yogi in Chi-town, fear o women of Chicago, fear. No even better - tremble!! I'm already getting visions of the Yogi and the Brek cruising the streets of Chicago in a black Monte Carlo, a la Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in Training Day. Then Yogi pats me on the back commending my modest success at scoring a hottie's number and congratulates me with the words: "Lauuave Fightaaa". I shudder to think!
I will be remiss in my duty if I failed to mention IWMI
, who was interviewing the same day as I was. Sorry, I was interviewing the same day as IWMI :-)Blogger's Lollapalooza
This has been a long-winded post, but I just want to thank all the bloggers who showed up for the get-together. It was a fuckin' blast. In keeping with some ancient beer-drinking ritual, Marina
wanted attendees to bring a pink umbrella. Instead, I wore a pink shirt. The women-folk were vastly relieved at my assertion that unlike umbrellas, I would not open my shirt in public. But seriously guys, I think the event was a major success. Why do I think so? It is a landmark event when:
- Pupstar's blogging style has changed irreparably
- IWMI's second drink is not water
- An unnamed 3-year non-smoker falls off the wagon
- Marina chases cough medication with Pinot
Well, will it be the sonorous Chinese gong sound of a Bing or will it be the Tom-&-Jerry-hammer-on-Tom's-head reverberating sound of a Ding? The next two weeks folks, the next two weeks. Fingers and pinky toes crossed.