Saturday, December 14, 2013

Does the course of anything ever run smoothly?

what I felt like doing but didn't

A sort-of incident occurred during the function at which I played the piano and (sort of) violin on Thursday night. I didn't bring it up here or anywhere else because I was and still am embarrassed, but since this is a semi-anonymous forum, I don't suppose there's any harm in discussing it here. I wish I had the option of not discussing it in real life, but the proverbial fecal matter has already hit the air circulation facilitator.

I was asked somewhat at the last minute to show up at my university on Thursday night to provide background music for an event the chancellor of our university hosts annually. Usually only one student is asked to perform this service, but in this case another student -- a cellist -- was asked to do the same thing. The other student and I are well-acquainted. He texted me with the message that I should bring my violin because he could accompany me on any song for which the piano accompaniment was not terribly complicated. While cello is his primary instrument,  he is a moderately skilled pianist as well. I'm not certain exactly why this part of the story is relevant, as I'm not looking for someone on whom to foist blame, but I do wish to emphasize that it wasn't my idea alone to add my violin playing and by extension my less than lovely face to the mix.

One week prior to the event, my car and I were hit by another car with a driver possessing apparent red-green color blindness,  poor driving skills, stupidity, or some other condition that would impede one's ability to avoid colliding with another automobile.  The result of the collision for me was damage to my car that was greater than the worth of the car (i.e. totalled), damage to my brain in the form of a concussion, and various unsightly and uncomfortable abrasions and contusions including a black eye and bruised right zygmatic (cheek) bone. Since then I've worn large sunglasses  whenever I've been in the presence of anyone other than family. The dark glasses hide my black eye, but the bruise on my cheek, now a tres chic yellow/purple blend, is still visible even in my largest sunglasses.

On Thursday night I wore my largest pair of sunglasses, which essentially covered my black eye but did bot entirely occlude my bruised cheek. I applied cosmetic cover the best I could, but the injury must still have been visible to some extent.

My fellow musician picked me up at my house, as I haven't yet regained driving privileges, and drove with me to the event. We had discussed and agreed upon a sequence of music. First the cellist would play a few selections for which I would accompany him. Then I would play two solo piano selections. Next I would play two violin pieces while the cellist acompanied me. We would conclude with piano/cello carols.

As we began playing, a woman who introduced herself as a special events coordinator interrupted us briefly to have waiters slightly reposition the piano. It placed me so that only my back was in view of the guests. I didn't know why this was done but gave the matter little thought.

Everything went without incident until it was time for me to play the violin. As I played violin,  the special events coordinator approached me in an agitated state, grasped my bow (no one has permission to touch the strings of my bow), and told me quietly but in a somewhat hostile manner to sit back down at the piano and not to get up again until I was told by her that I could do so.

As I stared blankly at the woman, she reached for my violin, at which point I pulled it away from her and whispered, "Don't touch my violin."

She said to the cellist, "People are looking at the two of you. Start playing something."

The cellist responded with, "We're out of here." He took my violin and bow and put them in my case and then reached for his cello and was putting it into its case when the chancellor  appeared and asked what was happening. The cellist quickly recounted the sequence of events as he put his cello into its case.

The chancellor gave the coordinator a rather withering look, gave us a quick apology,  told us that we would receive a more formal apology later, and asked us to please continue. I'm human.  I had started crying by this time. I said that I could play piano but not violin because I didn't want anyone to see my face. The chancellor said that I could play whatever I wanted. We finished the gig with forty minutes of improvised carols. The special events coordinator placed an envelope containing money with the cello player's name on it onto his music stand. She placed the envelope with my name on it onto the flat surface next to the music rack of the piano , then flicked it with her right forefinger so that it flew into the strings of the opened grand  piano. I would not have fished it out, but the cellist did, while using his other hand to discreetly gesture with his middle finger in the direction of  the coordinator.

I had hoped, rather naively as it turned out, that the incident would be forgotten.  After the fact, I find the sheer gall possessed by the coordinator to be virtually unbelievable. While I would not have gone  --and did not go -- so far as even to discreetly use an obscene gesture to express my scorn for the witch,  I can't for the life of me hazard as guess as to on what grounds she would argue she hadn't earned that and much more. She should have quit while she was ahead, or at least not quite so far behind.

I suspect the incident would have died had someone from the the special events office not contacted the music department chair to lodge an official complaint concerning the cellist's choice of self-expression. The music department chair was midly upset with the cellist for the display -- which no one other than the coordinator and I saw -- but was much more unhappy with personnel from the office of special events, who initially, and based on incomplete information, had  stood behind the actions of the coordinator.   Now that it has all been sorted out, an events coordinator is seeking employment elsewhere. I don't really care.


  1. How. Horrible. You poor girl, I'm so sorry that happened.

  2. Thanks Amelia. I'm gladly accepting sympathy.

  3. Oh my God! What a bitch! I like your cellist friend. Glad that horrible woman lost her job. Sounds like she really deserved to be fired right before Christmas.

  4. She totally is a bitch. My mom told me to clarify one point, which I didn't know before m mom told me. The bitch is no longer an events coordinator, but she is still in the university's employ. Her employment status is probationary, so she presumably won't be renewed after June.. It's supposedly not easy to terminate someone around here no matter what the person does or does not do..

    1. Sounds like she needs to go to charm school.

  5. yeah. she needs something. in my case my facial disfiguration is temporary and is rapidly fading, and I felt really horrible because of her treatment. How would she make someone with a more permanently disfuguring condition feel?