I don’t like to share. I grew up in the middle of a large Italian family – I do not like to share. For my first ten years, I shared a bedroom with two sisters. For many years, I shared a bathroom with three sisters and occasionally a, brother. We shared similar physical traits such that was difficult to not compare oneself to the other, usually in a more negative light. Yeah, but she got the better hair. I do not like to share.
And so, I find myself this morning, thankful the white tents of Washington Park are plummeting after a week’s worth of Lumenocity events so I don’t have to share my view of Music Hall, nor have it obscured for the sake of someone else (even if that included me).
When we first moved to Over-the-Rhine, I lost (and gained) social media followers through my relentless posting of photos of Music Hall and Washington Park. I was even chastised by my son (he of the overly-obsessed with Oregon type). I had gone over the top.
And, well, he was right. But he didn’t see what I saw. Up close and personal with the Grand Dame of Music Hall, I scrutinized and found old windows now bricked over, or features some forebear thought to include, in hopes that he or she too would be immortalized and not just the building.
Early, early mornings, I rise to be the only one tracing my steps in the park. It is a time of peace, before dog walkers, homeless, local workers and parks employees. I notice when flowers have been swapped out. When a light bulb is burned out. When the grass needs mowing. When the tiniest of detail needs tending to, and it usually is.
Since the advent of Lumenocity, early August has come to symbolize an attribute of mine for which I am not proud – my selfishness. My husband, son and I attended Lumenocity on Thursday night. Despite the forecast of rain, we stayed relatively dry. I had placed our chairs out early enough and scoped out what I though to be a strategic viewing position. In the back, near the aisle. But, one could never be too sure.
Before the concert began, two patrons took their seats in front of us. At first, the young couple had asked to take a photo of them using a digital camera, with Music Hall in the background, which I was more than happy to do. Then, I saw them inspecting the photo, so I asked if I could take another. This time I would ensure more of Music Hall as the backdrop. Of course, any digital virgin would know gray skies do not make for great backdrops, but I took another shot.
When the Pops started up, the wife retrieved the camera from her bag and the husband retrieved his Iphone. My line of vision was directly between their two chairs and persons. And suddenly their movements became more clocklike than the glockenspeil. The wife lifted up her camera, took a photo then lowered the camera to view the picture. While she was busy looking at her photo, and not the actual show, the husband raised his phone and took the next shot. This went on, on occasion, throughout the playing of the Pops.
I chalked it up to first timers, and reminded myself to be polite. Not everyone gets to live here, Annette. Be nice.
Intermission came and went. The couple returned to their seats, after the first light sequence had already begun. Then, their routine commenced. Up camera, down Iphone. Down camera, up Iphone. And sometimes, horrors, they used the flash.
Now, I could hardly contain my ire. I wanted to tell the couple, just be in the present moment with this grand city experiment, with the backdrop of a building that has endured 150 years, with two world-class music organizations raising up the dead that were once buried beneath the park.
Just take it all in.
And then, I remembered.
I was the newbie once (last year), snapping an ungodly amount of photos of a place I welcomed into my day. Like edelweiss, every morning Music Hall greeted me.
I couldn’t tell the couple those photos wouldn’t pan out, even though I could clearly see they wouldn’t. I couldn’t tell them to absorb the energy of the night, and the city, and the people, many who traveled long distances and logged onto the Internet hundreds of times in an effort to secure tickets. I couldn’t tell them they missed so many sequences of light because they were studying the ones caught in a photograph and not the mind’s eye.
Why? First, my husband would have hushed me. And second, to be honest, they were never going to see the Music Hall I love, surrounded, held in embrace by the Washington Park I embrace. They would only see the white-tented version of these once and again venerable icons.