Handling My Worst Nightmare
By George, I had a terrible nightmare last night…
I found myself in a large concert hall surrounded by thousands of people. Something bothered me about the mass of blank faces- was it the hopeful emptiness in their smiles? The deep respectful silence masking a desperate rage? Was it the thinly veiled panic hidden in their sad, lost eyes, staring, staring endlessly?
I soon realised there was music playing. Well, some type miasmic glut that passed for music, anyway. It was emanating from an orchestra of haggard souls, and there were singers too; many, many singers. They littered the stage, like a potpourri of angry mouths. Singers everywhere. Some stood at the front apparently waiting to kill themselves. The rest huddled behind, a choir of slaves wielding books to avoid the gut-wrenching wails of the orchestra.
Oh the onslaught. What would it take for me to be freed? Riches? Violence? Hope? I started to panic, and itch, and I wanted to scream, but everyone stayed in their seats waiting for a salvation that would obviously never come. I couldn’t handle this.
The man next to me noticed my agitation and tried to console me. “I find myself in this position every year,” he said, “and I never know why. Just wait for the end and we can all go home. Yes. We can all go back to our lovely homes.”
I wasn’t sure if he really believed this or if he had quelled his repulsion and outrage over time with this quaint mantra. He kept mumbling “soon…home” to himself, barely audible over the symphonic symphysiotomy occurring on stage. But…why was he here every year? Was he joking?
Another audience member saw my confusion. “True, this isn’t so good, but just wait for the next chorus! The harmony will soon become even more satisfyingly functional, and then, and then, oh my goodness, and then there’s a dazzling orchestral part where the bouncy baroque rhythms become slightly bouncier than they are now!” He grinned at me with the unrestrained glee of a psychopath.
And it was then I realised the terrifying truth: I was watching an unabridged performance of Handel’s Messiah.