A short blog to pass the time while I wait for the third performance. It really is time for Bethany to write something, and I’m not sure why she hasn’t.
You already know that I’m in Cairo, playing principal oboe for the Cairo Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet. You likely also know that it hasn’t been going very well. Very few of you know that this has been one of the most embarrassing – if not the single most embarrassing – experiences of my entire life. No hyperbole, really.
For the most part, the musicians around me are fairly nice. The vast majority of the orchestra, beyond the four or five closest to me, I’m too humiliated to even make eye-contact with. It’s especially sad because before the first rehearsal, I was really looking forward to meeting more Cairo musicians; now I just need to make it to Tuesday, after which I can go back to Alexandria and pray that they completely forget I was ever here.
The conductor is a mixed bag. People seem to respect him more than they respect the conductor in Alexandria, which is interesting to me. I struggle not to take anything he says too personally, because I know he’s only doing his job, but it’s quite difficult at times. For instance, after the Friday performance, he interrupted his bravos towards the other musicians to turn to me and announce (loud enough for all to hear), “Oboa, intonation and play louder.”, before moving on to congratulate others. I know I didn’t deserve any congratulations, but it seemed unnecessary for him to do that. It stung, and I can only hope that it’s the low point of my time here. I fear it may not be.
I’m more aware than anyone that I’m failing. I know I should never have agreed to come in the first place. (As an aside, I only agreed because I assumed that I was a last resort, what I now know wasn’t the case.) The damage this has done to my confidence (if I had any) really outweighs whatever benefits I had to gain from coming.
I don’t think musicians read our blog, but just in case: I’m really sorry. I’m also sorry to all my wonderful friends who had to endure my unwavering negativity and self-deprecation while I’ve been here. I really should have just kept my thoughts to myself, but I’ve been having such a terrible time that I couldn’t even manage that.
And thanks to Bethany for coming to Cairo to console me and spend my day off with me. Tonight’s performance, then two more, and then I’m back in Alex on Wednesday, before coming back to Cairo on Friday to fly to Rome for a week. It will all be over soon, but not soon enough.