Sunday, December 14, 2008

feeling like an idiot by k

yesterday i had another moment when i felt like an idiot. they seem to happen a lot more over here. is it being in a new place, is it the language, or is it plain old incompetence? i'm not sure anymore. yesterday's moment came when dorian and i went downtown to go to an opera for kids at the liceu, barcelona's opera house. they have a program called the petit liceu and dorian was excited when i bought tickets for three shows. the first was "the four musicians from bremen."

we walked down to the metro, right as we got to the bottom of the stairs a train came. less than 15 minutes later we were across the street from the liceu. we had some time to kill. we were going to go to the cafe de la opera, a place i used to love going when i was 20, but after walking in dorian said no way because it was too smokey. i'm so used to smoke free everything in california that it still strikes me every time i enter a smokey place. dorian just can't fathom it, never having lived somewhere with smokey restaurants/cafes. (this is still not the idiot part.)

on las ramblas there are not many places that aren't touristy, so i suggested (yes, i can't believe it either!) dunkin donuts, which is called dunkin coffee here. arel had mentioned craving donuts that morning, so i had donuts on my mind. dorian was into it, especially since he thought it would make arel jealous, so we got him a donut and drink and sat in a smoke-free environment while he ate. yes, i stooped to going to a dunkin donuts, but i didn't get anything for myself, although my friend penny claims they have great coffee!

from there we headed the half block back to the liceu where i asked a couple people where the children's programs are shown. they weren't sure. i knew it wasn't in the main hall. we found a really nice little opera shop with stuff for kids in it, we found the larger opera shop and a cafe. when i finally found someone who knew's 11:50 now, program starts at 12:00, we were told that this performance was at an auditorium outside the city! this is when i felt like an idiot. why did i assume it would be in or near the liceu? would i have made similar assumptions in s.f.? dorian cried and said, forget it! i felt bad. the women who broke the news to us told us to take a taxi there.

stingy me cringed at the taxi option, but i thought i needed to save the day and that was the way. thanks to gps, the driver got us to the auditori de cornella just a few minutes late...18 euros poorer. we walked in just as they were dimming the lights, found our seats...good ones, and i thought, this is all going to work out. music played, people danced and then the narration started in catalan! i knew this was a possibility, but i figured in opera language doesn't matter and i had read dorian the story ahead of time. but no, it did matter to dorian and he wanted nothing to do with my translations.

at least, i assured myself and him, the part when the animals scare the robbers will be funny, but that was precisely the part that this production decided to leave out. and because he couldn't understand the narration, he didn't even get that until i told him at the end. it was a nice production and if dorian had understood what they were saying, maybe he would have liked it. i did notice that he tapped his foot and clapped his hands in certain parts despite himself! but i still felt like an idiot! for not making sure i knew where the production was, for not double checking about the language, and for just thinking that it would be a really nice experience.

isolated this would have just been a little blip, but the feeling i had when the woman told me the performance wasn't there is very familiar these days. i'm in the wrong place, i made the wrong assumption, i don't understand the process, it's not done that way here...these moments come more often than i like. they're especially painful when they impact arel and dorian, although i think on some level it's good for them to see me struggle and not have all the answers.

how does feeling like an idiot serve me? it reminds me that i am only human (even if that's hard to accept!). it reminds me that none of these things are a matter of life and death. it reminds me that people all over the world struggle with these same things under much more difficult circumstances and keep going. it reminds me how lucky we are. and still, it would be nice not to feel like an idiot so often!