I can’t recall which stop it was on the Orange Line I was at a week or so ago. It wasn’t a bad night to go out, so I figured I’d linger around and observe the humans. People everywhere with cell phones, in groups, schmoozing in and around each other, some already beginning on their first drinks of this Saturday night. You know how I am. I watched to see what would happen.
So I saw this dude and I felt so sorry for him. Guess it takes one to know one, as they say. I knew right away: must be Tardive Dyskinesia. What’s worse, he had some stick-like thing in his hand, waving the darned thing. I kept saying to myself that he seemed to have so little control over what his extremities did that he’d better be careful with the stick. Considering he had that “mental patient look,” he was likely to get locked up, waving the stick around in a way that would cause a stir.
I felt so sorry for him. I myself narrowly escaped TD. I am lucky that I stopped the antipsychotics when I did. Most my age are not so fortunate. This guy, let me tell you, had it all over his body, both arms waving this way and that, and his entire torso joined in, too, swaying around. People were watching him, staring, in fact, following his movements intensely. I told myself, “Watch out, Buddy, you’re gonna get nabbed.”
But he kept going. A crowd gathered. Not only that, a bunch more kooks came. I said to myself, “Did some mental hospital let everyone out on pass?” Of course, I was joking to myself. Maybe they were just dudes from some local bar, already high as kites. They looked wicked stoned or strung out, though, on something I sure never took.
So these people were singing at the top of their lungs. Eeks! Bunch of them. Standing up and singing. I figured you gotta be rather drunk to dare to do something like that in public. I told myself these dudes will be arrested if they keep up the ruckus. They kept up their singing for a very long time. I was surprised at the attention they got.
Some street musicians joined in the fun, but I said to myself, “These street musicians must feel embarrassed associating with a bunch of mental patients and drunks. We have such fine street musicians here in Boston, and I think they should stay away from these loser types, lest it ruin their reputation.”
You wouldn’t believe the nonsense stuff the singers were singing, too. I figure you gotta have some kind of OCD to repeat the same lines over and over like that. Who else would do that? Isn’t that what the disorder is called? Or is it Tourettes if it’s done out loud? But if it’s in a group, is it a “shared delusion?”
Then, of course, I had to consider myself. I was sitting. I and my companions were seated in a row in the audience, and when the performance was over, everyone gave the conductor, the entire opera cast, chorus and orchestra a hearty, warm, and vigorous standing ovation.
Name of opera: Four Saints in Three ActsLibretto: Gertrude Stein
Composer: Virgil Thompson
BMOP, Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
November 16, 2013.