When the driver handed us a business card, I was surprised to read, in boldface, “Threat Assessment.” My dubious naïveté felt punctured, like a flat tire on the road to Vegas. Perhaps in the post-9/11 world, I was too complacent. All around me anti-pianist threats lurked, on the way from airport to hotel to hall, and thank goodness some strongman was there to assess them. For example, when i ordered a $14 entree in my hotel room, I found when the bill arrived that the total, with accompanying fees, was $35! Spectacular, devilish ingenuity of the Room Service Gods. The driver oddly did not save me from that pitfall (perhaps too busy assessing others), but he “reassured” me further on the way to the concert, boasting he was more than ready to break an arm or two (it “would not be the first time,” he hinted), and reenacting a sarcastic conversation he might have with some hypothetical difficult concertgoer: “Oh I’m SO SORRY your shoulder got dislocated, now get out of here.” I kid you not. I laughed what I hoped was a mollifying laugh and secretly cherished my fear and horror. Then a different laugh overtook me as I suddenly imagined some of the gentler Northeast presenters, in Philadelphia, or Boston, or a lovely, deeply cultured Italian lady running a small, modest, but serious series down in Washington DC–imagining any of them threatening to break arms as they drove me from the train station. Was it so much safer there than in the wild West? And what a strange preparation for the first, gentle, beatific phrase of Mozart’s K 301…

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  1. Claire
    Posted February 16, 2006 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    hehehehe love the story wish my calculus class was that exciting …

    it just sank in. i’m going to be standing on the same stage you were sitting on this past friday. now i can say “i stood on the same stage as jeremy denk (and joshua bell)!” the mondavi is just uncomprehensibly amazing. dress rehersal tomorrow evening! woo hoo!

  2. Anonymous
    Posted February 16, 2006 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    It’s like the cabbie was implying he’s more strong and he can take anyone wrestling whoever is arguing about the meter or the prize going to the hall.More like he’s the one announcing a threat!!!!
    If only he knew how delicate your hands are and you don’t need any threat esp. going to a recital in their city.Instead of sir,how can I assist you w/ your destination?

    I’m sure he would deserve a nice tip.Yeah,east or west it doesn’t matter,it’s the person.

    Hope the evening went well…

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 17, 2006 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Amazing how many stereotypes easterners have about westerners.

  4. Priscilla
    Posted February 21, 2006 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    “hypothetical difficult concertgoer”
    For this I imagine some unruly person coughing intentionally..

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