What a miraculously charmed life your faithful podcaster seems to lately lead. Just in the past few weeks, West Side Story in Houston and Candide in Washington, and in between, four performances of Mahler symphonies in New York by two of Europe's greatest orchestras and a live Hamlet from the Royal Shakespeare Company - and only one dud performance among them all. To say nothing of trips to galleries he's never experienced before and the first ever experience of Rothko Chapel, and an upcoming conference of new music in Boston, doubtlessly with lots of highly skilled performers. While at Lincoln Center for the Mahler, he very briefly, for one sentence each, met Tony Kushner and Salman Rushdie and Wallace Shawn, and he saw Bjork, but in the face of a star that big, his confidence completely left him and he found himself unable to approach the Icelander in the raggedy pink dress.
His wallet will be spending the summer convalescing in a hospital bed from this surfeit of worthy performances of great works of art; one after the other coming at him seemingly as commonly as street signs from a car. So many great nights in various theaters and halls that he begins to wonder if the brain begins to shut down in the face of all this enlightenment. How can anyone possibly keep their perceptions sharp when it's one performance of cosmic insight in a theater after another after another - in the face of all this genius, spectacularly rendered, the problem is no longer the performance, the problem is you, no human brain can properly take in this much quality without the context of mediocrity to remind you how extraordinary is what you're experiencing. Every performance is a miracle, probably each of them is the result of more than a million of hours of practice logged between all of its various collaborators, and while you objectively know that what you're experiencing is aesthetically cosmic, you find yourself distracted and no longer able to appreciate so much quality properly. It's precisely because the human mind is built for for ordinary that make extraordinary experiences extraordinary.