Picture this perfectly ordinary domestic scenario. I am unpacking the dishwasher. I have a number of above-the-counter cupboards open as I shuffle backwards and forwards from dishwasher to cupboard and back, ferrying clean dishes and cups to their respective destinations.
Perfectly ordinary right?
When the oscars aired a while back, I discovered to my surprise, that Lady Gaga can really sing…who knew?
Anyway, why is that relevant to the unpacking of the dishwasher, you ask? I'm getting to that.
So…Lady Gaga sang a rather lovely 'Sound Of Music' medley and tribute to Julie Andrews, who later appeared briefly on stage.
My ten year old daughter, not old enough to stay up half the night to watch the oscars, had been eagerly asking about Lady Gaga's appearance and which of her hits she'd sung. "Ah…none." I said absently, still briskly unpacking the dishwasher (see, I told you I'd get back to it).
"She sang The Sound of Music."
"What sounds of music? Did she sing Applause? Did she sing Born This Way?"
"What? Ah no." I said, still only half listening. "The Sound of Music. She sang The Sound of Music."
"What's the sound of music," She asked, baffled by this obscure reference she'd never heard of. Now she had my attention. I stopped unpacking, turned and faced her.
"It's a really famous movie musical, lots of really famous music, like ah…like….you know…."
A light bulb of recollection went off in my head. And that's when the trouble started.
Because then I started to sing.
It started innocently enough. "Doh...a deer, a female deer" I began confidently, the lyrics rolling from my tongue as I sang a few of the famous lines.
Then another classic popped into my head and I segued smoothly into How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, but soon realized the foolhardiness of my choice when I stumbled on lyrics that absolutely refused to materialize in my head past the first line. I mouthed some garbled sounds to the melody, and not to be put off by my daughter's contorted expression of tortured confusion, soldiered on valiantly.
"Muuuuum!" came my son's disconcerted voice from the adjacent family room, where he sat playing a computer game. "I can't hear my game!" He wailed. Unfazed, I pushed on. I'd suddenly remembered one of the most moving songs of the film. It would be my triumphant finale.
"Climb every mountain…" I sang with an arm flourish that would have put Pavarotti to shame.
"Ford every stream…Follow every by-way, till you find your dream."
"Muu..uh…uuum!" Came the wail from next door again, in three distinctly enunciated syllables.
I pressed on, repeating the words I knew in full booming, theatre-filling operatic style - they would soon appreciate the beauty of my rendition of this movie classic.
"Follow every rainbow…. "Mum, please…you don't have to go on….really." My daughter said grimacing as though in excruciating pain. "I'm sorry I asked." She mumbled under her breath.
But there was no stopping me now. I was Julie Andrews twirling triumphantly on a majestic alpine meadow. I repeated the verse, this time allowing my voice to climb to the dizzying heights of that final climactic line.
As I hit that final high note, in what I hoped would be the crystal clear whistle-tones of Mariah Carey, I fear I sounded less like Mariah and more like the piercing whine of a jetliner turbine reaching full throttle before take-off.
This time Maisy the dog (our guide-dog puppy, who has remained mysteriously absent from this story until now) jerked upright on full-alert from her sleeping coma. "Mum stop! You're scaring the dog!" My daughter urged.
Maisy's face said it all. Was I in unbearable pain? Was I on the verge of collapse? She bolted to the aid of her master, who was obviously in the last throes of death and needed immediate aid.
She would brave the horrible droning noise to come and rescue me. Finally running out of breath, I reluctantly ended my performance and bent to reassure the distressed animal as she reached me.
I was okay. I wasn't in fact, dying. The bizarre acoustic ordeal was over. Laughing at the commotion I'd caused I straightened and immediately conked my head on one of the still open cupboard doors, causing me to crumple to the floor, clutching my head in pain.
"Owww," I howled, as Maisy licked my face comfortingly and the kids rollicked about with laughter. (Sometimes, its painfully obvious where your loyalties lie).
"That really hurts," I moaned.
"Well that's what you get, Mum…" my daughter admonished sagely.
"You know," I said, gingerly rubbing the growing lump. ...I do remember another one."
"Noooooooo! They both shouted in tandem.
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