There used to be a lot of teasing of Steve whenever he performed, about his performances being "heartfelt" (a term that was vastly overworked in those days). But today, which began with my mother and ended with Steve, definitely felt "heartfelt" at both ends of the day.
I had a note from Peach recently, telling me that my mother has been having chest pains (my mother was angry that Peach had let me know. I was angry that she had let Peach know and not me!). Peach got her to call Kaiser, and the advice nurse wanted her to go to emergency immediately. My mother, being my mother, said she had too busy a day to go to the hospital and that she wanted to see her own doctor, so instead of rushing to Emergency on Friday, she want to see her own doctor on Monday. Fortunately she didn't die over the weekend (the woman will be the death of me yet!)
Her appointment was for 10:30 and I told her I'd pick her up at 10. At 9:45 she called my cell phone and, calculating where I was and how long it would probably take me to get to her house, I told her I'd be there in 15 minutes, but she decided that wasn't soon enough and she should drive herself. She suggested I just go to the house and wait for her there. Well, I wasn't having any of that! I told her I'd meet her at Kaiser.
Other than getting lost in downtown San Rafael briefly because Kaiser's office building isn't well marked and I had only been there once before (I finally found it purely by accident!), I got there about 5 minutes after my mother did, apparently. They took us about 15 minutes later.
Her blood pressure was a bit high (much lower on second reading--that ol' "white coat hypertension" thing coming into play at the first reading) but the EKG didn't show any indication that she had been having small heart attacks, which was a good thing. They still need to do a stress test to be certain, so that has been ordered and she was given some medication, including nitroglycerine, in case of emergency.
My mother is very put out about all of this. She has never been on medication before and she doesn't want to take any damn pills. She also told the doctor that she hoped they wouldn't schedule her stress test for next week because she had a very busy week and couldn't come in. The doctor told her that her heart was more important than her luncheons.
I do get frustrated with her, but I suspect that at least some of her bluster and irritation at having to take damn pills comes out of a bit of fear and embarrassment. But I told her if she had a heart attack and died before her birthday party, I was going to be royally pissed, so she promised to take her medicines and so what the doctor tells her. For now.
We came home after Kaiser, had some lunch, both took short naps (mine was interrupted by Walt sending a text message), and then had time for one quick game of Canasta before I had to leave.
(fortunately I was the one who woke up first and I was
the one who had the camera!)
It looked like it was going to be a crushing defeat for me in Canasta, but in the end it was a pretty good game and the final score was pretty close, so I didn't feel bad losing.
Then I drove over to San Francisco, where I was meeting Walt for dinner. He had come down to the city on the train and we were going to go to Steve's concert, "...and I Played John Lennon's Piano," but first we met at the usual crepe place (The Crepe House), where he has dinner with Char and Mike on nights when they all go to the symphony together.
I had been there before several times (actually, we were there once with my mother, Steve, and our friend Amy, who had flown out from New York to see "The Big Voice"), but now that I'm all worldly and stuff, this was the first time that I noticed that the restaurant was painted in the warm Provencal colors that I fell in love with in Arles (though on a foggy day they seemed significantly more muted and tired than what we saw throughout Southern France!)
We each had a crepe that contained crab cakes (my favorite), which were delicious, and then, the hour being early, we "sauntered" back over to the New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC) where we sat and waited for the show to start. For a long time, it was just me and a lobby full of men. Walt may or may not have been the only straight man there. But eventually a couple of other women showed up as well.
It was, of course, a wonderful show...and quite "heartfelt."
In the first half, Steve sang songs from The Last Session which I hadn't heard in a long time (Walt said it was like riding the car, because I played TLS in the car so often). In the second half of the first act, Jimmy came out and they did numbers from The Big Voice: God or Merman, ending with the amazing "How do you fall back in love?"
For the second half, Steve concentrated on his New World Waking Song Cycle for Peace, with guest artists from the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and ending with "When You Care," from The Last Session, with Jimmy joining the group on stage and making a "heartfelt" speech about his love for Steve and his admiration of Steve's talent.
The New Conservatory Theatre Center is raising money to keep them going and allowing them to present works which will continue to help gay people see themselves in a "normal" light in contrast to all the stuff you see in the media. Just at intermission alone, they raised over $2,000, with another $500 pledged from someone in the audience at the final bow.
When it was all over, Jimmy was very surprised to walk out into the lobby and find a birthday cake set up for him.
While they served cake, Steve was busy greeting his many fans.
He was so busy greeting his many fans that he gave Walt a big hug and walked by me not once but twice without even saying hello. But I'm not bitter. Not me. I just did what I usually do as a designated minion of Steve,...took pictures of Steve receiving adulation for another fabulous performance.
It really was a wonderful night and I'm always verklempt when I see my friend up on stage, with a house full of people responding to his music...'cause I remember when nobody had heard of him, and he sometimes played to only a handful of people. (In those days he noticed that I was in the lobby after performances.)
(And yes, I'm giving Steve a hard time...don't believe half of what you read in this entry!)