Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I’m not voting today

And it’s not because I’m totally repulsed (once again) by this season’s bumper crop of grossly oversimplified, intellectually insulting political ads designed to appeal to the stupidest and most easily manipulated among us—although I have to admit that the ads from the Rob Blagojevich camp that use all the nodding-monkey footage of Judy Baar Topinka are a bit of a guilty pleasure.

My reason for not voting is a whole lot less politically motivated: Amid all my homelessness and temporary housing and layoffs and job hunts, it never occurred to me to change my voter registration. And now it’s too late.

Or not, according to a small handful of friends who assure me I can still vote in my old precinct, as long as I haven’t changed my driver’s license. But that sounds kind of shady and I don’t want to be an Ann Coulter, so for the first time since I turned 18, I’m missing an election.

But I’m kind-of voting tonight, because the boyfriend got us FRONT-ROW SEATS to Barbra “I’m so Jewish I recorded a Christmas album” Streisand, whose concert includes a Dubya impersonator. Her banter with him has kept this tour and her potty mouth and her audience’s thrown drinks in the news since it launched in New York a month ago, and our presence at her feet this evening is nothing short of a vote for economic collapse, anything-goes family values and a complete lack of respect for our troops abroad. Which, when you think about it, just as efficiently describes a vote for the Dubya administration.

As a card-carrying member of the velvet mafia (the ruthless gay cabal responsible, according to our esteemed Republican congress and its theocratic PAC, of destroying traditional marriage and keeping Mark Foley in office), I of course know the relevant songs from Yentl and 99% of the lyrics on The Broadway Album. But my familiarity with the Barbra oeuvre is monumentally eclipsed by the boyfriend’s encyclopedic knowledge of Barbra libretti and composers and films and concert recordings. So as we sit hand-in-hand in our seats of privilege this evening, he will be a true disciple and I will be a mere interloper barely worthy of the fact that Barbra and I could very well make frequent, prolonged, meaningful eye contact for hours on end. And she could easily call me up to join her for a duet of "Enough is Enough." And I could maybe look up her dress if she gets too close to the edge of the stage.

Until we launch into our Barbra reverie, though, I’m still aglow from last night’s mountaintop experience: Sibelius’ lush, full-bodied, triumphant Symphony No. 2 at the CSO.

The Sibelius Second is my favorite symphony of all time, and I’ve practically memorized Mariss Jansons’ definitive recording with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Imagine my schoolgirl giddiness, then, when I discovered a few months ago that Jansons was conducting the Sibelius live at the CSO this season. Now multiply that by about a billion and try to imagine my giddiness last night as the boyfriend and I ate a fabulous dinner (and shared three desserts!) and then strolled to Orchestra Hall where I could share with him a work of music that has changed me on a cellular level as conducted by the man who introduced me to it in the first place.

And sitting there in the half-dark last night, holding hands with the boyfriend, awash in Sibelius’ sweeping, heroic, mighty lyricism … well, it was almost too much for my little heart to bear.

And now I face today with a cleansed soul. And the earnest hope that by the time the polls close tonight, last night’s beauty and purity will translate to sweeping, heroic, mighty changes in America. Even though I was too absent-minded to make sure I could help make it all happen.

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