Rhapsody in Blue. It's my Dad's and my song. It's one of the first real piano pieces I learned when I was a teenager. It reminds me of my Nana. I sort of feel like it's mine. It's the concert I wanted to see this season no.matter.what. I talked about it at work all week to anyone who would listen. ("I'm going to hear Gabriela Montero play on Friday night. She was the pianist at Obama's inauguration! Isn't the cool?" My student aides feigned excitement.)
I did not want to miss it.
It is with great sadness that I announce that I never made it to the symphony last night. Despite leaving Shadyside at 7:10 p.m., Pittsburgh city traffic did not allow me to make it to downtown until 7:45 p.m. I dropped my boyfriend Ross off in front of Heinz Hall so he could get our tickets from Will Call. Traffic was insane. Bumber-to-bumper everywhere I looked. But, I said a prayer to my guardian angel and proceeded, inch by inch, towards the parking garage.
And then, no parking. Anywhere. I got a little snippy with the gentleman standing outside of the parking garage by Heinz Hall. His "Prepaid Parking Tickets and Leases Only" sign only added to my already stressed out demeanor. "Is it going to be like this every weekend? Because I almost missed an event a few weeks ago because of the same thing." His response? "Only when there are four shows and a Steelers rally, Miss."
At 7:53 p.m. I called Ross on his cell phone. "Forget it," I said. "There's no way I'm going to be able to get through this traffic and down to the garage by the Benedum, if there even IS a parking spot there," before everything starts. And I do not want to arrive after the first piece. Please have them release our tickets at Will Call. I'll swing around and pick you up in a few minutes."
My heart? Broken. Disappointment is part of life, I realize this. But this one hit a little harder than I'd expected. Music is so, so important to me. Especially certain pieces. My dad and I have this really special bond over some of those pieces. And I wanted so badly to feel his presence at the concert Friday night, to call him Saturday to tell him how amazing it was, how I thought of him, and how much Nana would have loved it if she'd still been alive to sit there in the audience too. Music is that powerful. That important. That meaningful. Sure, there's another performance of it Sunday, but with my graduate coursework being so heavy this semester, I can't afford to give up an entire afternoon.
Luckily, Ross was sweet enough to propose what we like to call a "Choice B"–another option in the event that things go wrong, disappointments occur, or things don't happen the way we'd hoped. Our "Choice B" eventually put a smile on my face: drinks with three of our closest friends at one of our favorite places in Shadyside. I was, I admit, a little pouty for the first hour after we left downtown, but I realized that there was still a silver lining: music never goes away. Rhapsody in Blue will always be Rhapsody in Blue. That piece, whether I hear it on WQED, live at Heinz Hall, or on my iTunes, will always be there for me.
Next time we'll just take the bus.