Monday, May 07, 2007

Roast beef, yogurt, bananas... and arias?

Between editing and picking up my son this afternoon, I made a quick stop at the grocery store, where I picked up some cold cuts, some yogurt, a few tomatoes... and an impromptu singing lesson.

I was subsequently serenaded in three languages. In the parking lot. While I put my groceries into the back of the minivan.

You see, for some reason, while I was paying for my groceries, the man bagging them (his name is Jud) asked if I was a singer. (Why, I have no idea -- my speaking voice is less than mellifluous, to my ears, anyway.) When I told him I only sang in the car, and that my children usually asked me to stop before I hit the third note, he launched into a mini-workshop on how to sing (I vaguely remember something about using the diaphragm to push the lungs up, relaxing the throat, letting the mouth open, and not singing from the throat, but there was much, much more, and I've lost it already)...

Jud didn't ask me if I needed to be accompanied on the way to my car, he just provided it -- both corporeally and musically. As we walked across the parking lot, he told me all about the difference between singing in Czech and Italian (Italian is, evidently, all about the vowels, making it easy to sing beautifully, whereas Czech, like German and English, involves clenching the jaw).

When we got to the minivan, I started loading the bags while the demonstrations began. Jud didn't hold back at all; as we stood there in the parking lot, unloading groceries, he took a deep breath and belted out a few arias, trying to show me the difference between the sounds. I'm sure we got some odd looks, but I didn't care a whit. I was happy to be an audience, even if only for a few minutes; it was wonderful to hear someone so excited about something. And so anxious to share it.

As I got the last bag into the van and closed the hatch, Jud concluded his al fresco performance with a lovely little Italian aria. He then informed me that Luisa Tetrazzini had written a singing instruction book with Caruso, and that it was available on the third floor of the main library branch downtown. And that I should get it immediately before someone else snapped it up.

I thanked him, of course, and then we went our separate ways -- both smiling.

Truth be told, even though I have no plans to further my musical training at this time (or, quite frankly, ever), it was just a delightful experience, and I look forward to my next grocery run.

Because who knows? I might just get to hear some Chinese!


At 10:19 PM, May 07, 2007, Blogger Laura Kramarsky said...

Wow. My last instructional experience with a stranger occurred at a Starbucks I stopped into before the Edgars. I was sitting at the counter when woman (who I subsequently found out had a Philipino mother and a Japanese father) asked me if I were a doctor.

I don't LOOK like a doctor. OK, I was dressed more nicely that day than usual, but still...

Anyway, she thought she'd seen me at Lenox Hill Hospital. Since my mother lives near there, I am often in that area (particularly in the Starbucks across the street), so I mentioned that.

I am not sure how the next segue occurred. That may have been because I had trouble understanding her accent, but it's equally possible that there *was* no segue. She pointed out my wedding ring and asked if I knew that all husbands cheat.

I said I knew that lots of people cheated on their spouses and checked my watch. Nope. Couldn't get to the hotel that early, even if I *was* volunteering.

She next explained that she was an OB, and asked me if I had children, because once you have kids, you're not "tight" any more, and men lose interest. So if I had kids in the future, I should be sure to have them by c-section.

Ummm. I stopped checking my watch. We had entered "truth is stranger than fiction" territory and I was completely enthralled.

At this point, she launched into a long description of a technique she'd learned from her mother, which prevented her husband from cheating. According to her, anyone who *didn't* use this technique was doomed to have a husband slept around.

Unfortunately(??), I couldn't quite understand the method. It had something to do with cleaning certain areas very thoroughly, then using a coca-cola rinse. This would in some way (positively? negatively?) affect the man so as to stop him from cheating.

Of course, if I had understood, I might have lost my breakfast all over the floor, but I'd be able to make a mint selling the guaranteed cheatin'-spouse-cure.

At 9:51 AM, May 08, 2007, Blogger Gracesmom48 said...

I obviously need to shop somewhere else. Melissa

At 11:02 AM, May 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who says running errands is boring? Ha. Me? I'd probably shop in another grocery store. LOL.

I'm still without a computer, the new one is on it's way. I feel really disconnected from the world. Hmm. I checked my emails this morning & I got another request for a partial. yay!!

I'm moving along with my synopsis. It's coming together nicely. My dogs have a pen out in the back to play in & they had two friends over on Sunday. LOL. Too funny - their social life is better than mine.

Have a great day,

At 7:54 PM, May 09, 2007, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...


Oh, my GOD.

And here I was feeling mildly uncomfortable about being serenaded in a parking lot.

All I can say is: Too much information. :)

And another potential windfall lost to the vagaries of inadequate translation...

At 7:56 PM, May 09, 2007, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...


You can just drive 30 miles and shop at my Randall's. But I think part of the issue is that I tend to be chatty. I've also heard all about the long-distance quasi-love affair of one of the checkers at Central Market.

You just never know. :)

At 7:57 PM, May 09, 2007, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...


That was one hot query letter!

Fingers crossed... keep me posted!

And I couldn't live without my computer. Speaking of which, I've got about 14 e-mails I haven't responded to...

Let me know what happens!


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