I am dangerously attempting to begin this post without having truly consumed an appreciable amount of coffee. Sip sip. But it may not kick in soon enough…

I just thought this event was surreal enough to warrant mentioning. Yesterday afternoon, I went down round 5 to the hotel fitness room, to do some stairmaster. And I was full-on sweaty and stepping and dazed, when I heard the door open; I turned my head, and to my utter shock and disbelief: Leon Fleisher entered the room. For you non-pianists or non-musicians out there, this may not seem like such a big deal, but pianists will understand… (for a scientist, the parallel might be that Einstein entered the room; for an author, Salman Rushdie… I don’t know, you get the idea). It is the sort of thing that would happen in a dream. Listen to this, man: last night I dreamed I was washing the dishes, and Leon Fleisher walked in and told me to do it more spiritually, etc. What’s more, it was too late for me to turn off the drippy romantic comedy about three aspiring country western singers I was watching (at FULL volume), starring River Phoenix and a young Sandra Bullock and other people too mediocre to mention. (I certainly could not claim I was NOT watching it; the stairmaster faced the TV completely and closely). They were making their way onscreen to success via love, loss, and the sober road of experience. Leon seemed not to notice this more profound aspect of the film as he cast what I (perhaps overly) interpreted as a rather dismissive glance in the movie’s direction, and headed for the treadmills. How could I explain to him, without becoming ridiculous, that I had brought Cervantes’ Dialogue of the Dogs with me to read (certainly a philosophical and profound entertainment), but that this particular stairmaster had no holder for reading material? That therefore I was a helpless TV consumer? That I had read much of Proust on the stairmaster as well, in years past (in lost time)? How could I explain that I was allowing myself to be moved (were they beads of sweat or tears on my brow?)by country-western music just hours before my Mozart Double (my debut, for God’s sake!) with the Philadelphia Orchestra? Why was I watching this drivel instead of, say, the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour? No. All explanations were moot; all I could do was finish my routine, and slink out of the room. So it goes. I noted, as I left, that he was watching the weather. Ah, indeed, sigh, that is what a great artist does on the treadmill, I thought! Perhaps he did not even notice the weather forecast; it was only a background for his great treading thoughts, as the ever-changing weather is a background for our lives.

My new favorite quote: “The best part of repentance is the sinning.”

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  1. Ramashka
    Posted June 29, 2005 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Nice to know Fleisher is still watching his figure. He’s awesome! Great sense of humor, not to mention, you know, all the other stuff.


  2. Anonymous
    Posted June 30, 2005 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    hope your debut went well!!!

    someone once told me we are much more aware of others than they are of us. and hopefully you looked very different in your tails later that night!

  3. faye
    Posted July 1, 2005 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I would place a significant wager that, after you slinked out of the gym, Fleisher watched “The Real World” with sweaty, impish glee.

  4. Constantsia
    Posted July 6, 2005 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    LOVE the part about the dream. Hilarious!

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