UPDATE: (in explanation of *, **, and ***)
* These recitals happened every June, in which every child performer was to memorize three pieces of music and play them before a crowd of family and friends and teachers. When I was about ten years old, my mind went blank midway through my second piece. I looked up reflexively for the music stand, but of course, nothing was there. I hesitantly backtracked to the beginning of the song and started again. In the same place, my mind went blank. I froze with all of those eyes on me, the tension in the studio reaching such weight that it pinned my fingers to the soundboard.
My teacher asked quietly, “Young Panda, do you need to take out your music?”
“No,” I said in desperation, and began a third time. This time I tripped at that measure but keep on going, through that piece and the third, and retook my seat in shame. Mother Panda would not look at me for the rest of the recital, and I was grounded for a very, very long time.
** Every time I hear Avril Lavigne’s song Keep Holding On from Eragon, I wince. The use of ‘defend’ as the last word in the stanza is awkward. Where’s the direct object? Defend what? But it had to rhyme with ‘end’ in the line above.
*** I know that you don’t have swine flu. I just got the squicky feeling from having to carry a basket around Trader Joe’s the other day. My OCD has an entire hierarchy that defies sense of what has more/less swine flu. Basket handles have more swine flu than a cart handle. A cart from Trader Joe’s has less swine flu than a cart at CVS. A basket at CVS has so much swine flu that I couldn’t bear to touch one, and simply carried my purchases around the store in my arms. Carts and baskets at Target are equally seething with germs, but I’m usually buying too much to not have one or the other. Oh, the OCD mind. It’s so dumb.