Monday, April 24, 2006

I've been meaning to post about an experience I had on Thursday.

The nice lady who funds the scholarship I received wanted to have me, my parents and my favorite math teacher and spouse to dinner at her house. My mom was unable to come on account of she had a raging toothache, so my dad and I piled in the car and went to her house. Most of the dinner was uneventful and the conversation friendly, but at one point the conversation rolled around to people with disabilities, and I mentioned Kyle.

Now, before we advance the story any further, allow me to pause and describe the person at the dinner who I haven't mentioned yet. The nice lady has a widowed adult daughter, I'd say about 50, who lives with her. (The nice lady is 81 and still going strong, it should be noted, so I don't think her daughter lives with her to help her out - she could most likely manage on her own.) This daughter is a bit of an odd duck - once when I called while trying to arrange a day, she answered the phone, and when I asked if it was $nice_lady's_name, she said "No, this is her adult daughter." I found it curious that she needed that adjective "adult". I'm sure it's not my place to speculate, she might have a perfectly valid reason, but there you have it.

So, when I mentioned Kyle, and said that he's really our best tenor (having perfect pitch helps, am I right?), the adult daughter said that oh, he can't possibly be very good, because he can't watch the conductor for broadened phrases or tempo changes.

If you want to get my hackles up, badmouth one of my friends. Especially when he isn't there to defend himself, he has a disability, the criticism is completely unfounded (and furthermore, there is no way you could know whether or not it was founded in the FIRST place), or any combination of the above three.

Managing to keep my cool (but I think everyone noticed the steam coming out of my ears), I explained that Kyle is studying to be a music theory teacher, tutors musicianship classes at the college of music, and has a fantastic ear for when a phrase should turn. I further noted that I've stood next to him in any number of performances and never heard him miss a beat, drop a word, come in early, or hurry a phrase. She then said, "Well, that must be because he's listening to you - there's no way he could catch it when it's just happened, and so he must be a little bit behind everyone."

Ooh! I!! Grrr!!! See previous note about how to get my hackles up!

I put on my best icy smile, said "Be that as it may, he still has the best musicianship of any of my tenors," and promptly changed the subject before she said anything that would cause me to throw asparagus at her face.

9 comments:

Michelle 2021 said...

You're so diplomatic, you oughtta be a senator.

Spencer said...

Only if they offer free throwing asparagus.

Spencer

T.R. said...

"So, when I mentioned Kyle, and said that he's really our best tenor (having perfect pitch helps, am I right?), the adult daughter said that oh, he can't possibly be very good, because he can't watch the conductor for broadened phrases or tempo changes.

If you want to get my hackles up, badmouth one of my friends"


I don't think she was badmouthing anyone. Saying that he can't see the conductor is true, regardless of whether or not it is a detriment to his performance. Did she say it in some mean way? Because just from reading it I didn't think she was diminishing his worth at all.

Also, I think that if a performer has skill that is superior to the conductor, he still follows the conductor. Visual cues are very useful for that. Maybe Kyle's aural abilities make up for that and he is just as good at following the conductor, but that might not be the case. I know that other senses can make up for one that is impaired, but I think it can be almost as disrespectful to anyone with a disability to ignore their limitations. I know, I wasn't there and don't know Kyle as well as you, but all I'm saying is give the adult daughter the benefit of the doubt. I don't think she was roasting Kyle, she was just trying to understand what you were saying.

Spencer said...

"Oh, he can't possibly be very good" qualifies as badmouthing in my book.

T.R. said...

Hmm. Sounds like simple misunderstanding to me. Do you really think she hates people who are blind?

Spencer said...

I never meant to imply that. What I do really think is that she believes that blind people can't be good choralists, which is demonstrably bunk.

Michelle 2021 said...

This air tight logic and word fist fighting has got to stop. Let's just say women will always jump to irrational conclusions for the sake of hearing their own voices.

There.

And men are...something selectively undesirable. Sometimes.

Creativity Escapes Me said...

My cat's breath smells like cat food.

Laverna said...

I'd like to see you throw asparagus at someone. Or stuff it up their nose. :D