May 07, 2009

Non trovo pace notte né dì, ma pur mi piace languir così

DON. Don and his wife, Susan, are attending a performance of The Marriage of Figaro by the touring Metropolitan Opera company at the Masonic Temple Auditorium in Detroit. They are both very fond of the theater, and they go to a play or an opera whenever they can manage it. As usual, Don has bought seats near the back of the balcony, where he knows the radio reception is better. The two of them are following the opera attentively, but Don is also holding a small transistor radio up to his left ear. (He is left-eared all the way.) Through long training, he is able to hear both the opera and (because of the good reception) the voice of Ernie Harwell, the sports broadcaster for Station WJR, who is at this moment describing the action at Tiger Stadium, where the Brewers are leading the Tigers 1-0 in the top of the fourth. A woman sitting directly behind Don and Susan is unable to restrain her curiosity, and during a recitative she leans forward and taps Don on the shoulder.

"Excuse me," she whispers. "I was just wondering what you're listening to on that little radio."

Don half turns in his seat. "Simultaneous translation," he whispers.

—Roger Angell, "Three For the Tigers,"
The New Yorker, September 17, 1973

1 comment:

rbonotto said...

If you go to the Hub Review ( ) and read "Attack of the Audience Member from Hell" (on the right), you can see a Boston critic attacking someone making a cell-call at the Dawn Upshaw concert.