It’s been the work week from hell.

This morning, I did the unthinkable: I actually closed my office door and turned off the phone.  I was racing against the clock to complete a major site plan review for today’s meeting: a nine-acre campus that involves four new buildings, two existing zoning districts, one proposed overlay district that may or may not be adopted but needed to be considered, a community redevelopment district, a new set of design guidelines, and coordination between county and state transportation agencies, fire, police, engineering, building and landscaping.

It’s been so hectic that I couldn’t even visit the site until yesterday, given my absurdly shortened time frame for the review.  Between other deadlines, citizen drop ins, phone calls, meetings and suddenly becoming the planning point person for the revamped licensing procedures, my work days have been filled with way too many “top priorities.”

So yeah, I was a little stressed.

But it all worked out.


Exhausted after the two-hour meeting (and everything leading up to it), I decided to mentally chill for the last hour of the day, straightening my overturned office, folding up site plans, humming the Merry Widow waltz (Lippen Schweigen) as I organized.

My friend, the cleaning man, heard me humming as he emptied trash cans.  “That melody is beautiful,” he said. “So romantic.”

I told him it had been replaying in my head since last night’s concert.  And I agreed: the melody is impossibly romantic.  As we chatted, I admitted to my friend that being single isn’t so bad, except for when I go to concerts.  When the music fills me with longing, that’s when I wish I had someone special to wrap up in.

My first husband, for all his faults, was my only romantic partner who shared this concert-going love with me, the only one whose shoulder was available as we both thrilled to a performance.  He, more than I, would seek musical opportunities everywhere and anywhere, ferreting out indoor concerts, outdoor concerts, ballets, operas…throughout the state and beyond.  Frequently he’d appear at my office after work, pizza box nestled in the front seat of the car.  “Hop in,” he’d say. “The Chicago Symphony’s in Austin.  I bought tickets for us.”  And off we’d go.

After his own concerts, my first husband would be restless, wired, adrenaline coursing through him.  We’d stroll along San Antonio’s Riverwalk, which was far less manicured in those days, reliving the concert’s highlights, sharing cheesecake at Kangaroo Court or enjoying jazz, extra-spicy, at The Landing, where some of our friends played.  Our lives revolved around the arts, especially music.

I don’t miss him, for too many painful reasons, tortured musician angst being among them.  But I do miss having a romantic musical partner-in-crime.

In the early stages of our relationship, The Ex tried.  He really did.  But his boredom was so palpable that it ruined the concerts for me.  I could almost see the stopwatch ticking down in his head as he impatiently waited for the last note to sound, itching to hurry home where a project always awaited.  Lingering over coffee, rehashing the concert afterwards, sharing a meal or a moment was not ever a remote possibility with him.

I quickly released him (and me) from any and all concert-going obligations.  Fortunately, I’ve found good friends who share my musical proclivities.  We have fun together.  Sometimes, if we’re being particularly decadent, we’ll begin the evening with a pre-concert dinner and end with a post-concert dessert.  We talk, we laugh, we share, we sigh.

But I don’t rest my head on their shoulders when the music touches my soul.