Listened to the opera, kinda

My new thing for April was experiencing the opera, kinda. I say “kinda” because I didn’t go to a full blown opera. But a family friend was part of a performance where they sang songs.

It was pretty different from my impression of the opera where there’s a stout lady in a Viking helmet singing onstage!

Anyway, since I was born with absolutely no singing skills,* I always love hearing other people sing. It’s a totally different style. To be honest, I found it a bit hard to understand at times, though I could appreciate the musicality of it.

One of the things they sang was a poem from Hilary North. She worked at the World Trade Center Tower 2 and lost 176 colleagues when 9/11 struck.

How My Life has Changed
by Hilary North

I can no longer flirt with Lou.
I can no longer dance with Mayra.
I can no longer eat brownies with Suzanne Y.
I can no longer meet the deadline with Mark.
I can no longer talk to George about his daughter.
I can no longer drink coffee with Rich.
I can no longer make a good impression on Chris.
I can no longer smile at Paul.
I can no longer hold the door open for Tony.
I can no longer confide in Lisa.
I can no longer complain about Gary.
I can no longer work on a project with Donna R.
I can no longer get to know Yolanda.
I can no longer call the client with Nick.
I can no longer contribute to the book drive organized by Karen.
I can no longer hang out with Millie.
I can no longer give career advice to Suzanne P.
I can no longer laugh with Donna G.
I can no longer watch Mary Ellen cut through the bull shit.
I can no longer drink beer with Paul.
I can no longer have a meeting with Dave W.
I can no longer leave a message with Andrea.
I can no longer gossip with Anna.
I can no longer run into Dave P. at the vending machine.
I can no longer call Steve about my computer.
I can no longer compliment Lorenzo.
I can no longer hear Herman’s voice.
I can no longer trade voice mails with Norman.
I can no longer ride the elevator with Barbara.
I can no longer be happy about Jennifer’s pregnancy.
I can no longer walk with Adam.
I can no longer say hello to Steven every morning.
I can no longer see the incredible view from the 103rd Floor of the South Tower.
I can no longer take my life for granted.

It made me think about the mundanities of everyday work life. There are so many little things that I take for granted. I only realise them after I’ve left — the chats, the coffees, the sneaky snack times, the shared work nights and inside jokes. It’s easy to just be annoyed at having to work and wishing I could win the lotto instead, but I was reminded that work is also full of small moments that can be beautiful and meaningful.

* I know Filipinos are well-known for being good singers, but I seem to have missed that gene. I’m so bad, my friends once started an a capella group and they invited everyone else in our extended group of friends (perhaps a dozen people?) except for me and one other guy. Robz and I are still waiting for our invitations.

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