I always check Google Maps before we go anywhere, even if I don’t need directions, just so I know exactly how long the ride is predicted to take. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t care. He says, “I bought the ticket, I’m taking the ride and it’s out of my control. I don’t stress out about it.” (See: “My Husband is Always Late” Club.”)
I’m one of those people who is not good with surprises. First of all, it’s hard to shock a journalistic mind. Asking questions and piecing together clues, even without a mystery to solve is my default setting. I take life as a compilation of conspiracies from every angle and I strive to educate myself as much so I can be ready. Obviously, this usually proves fruitless but it gives me a false sense of preparedness.
But I love the idea of real surprises, like boy or girl? I didn’t want to know with either of my pregnancies – and yet I guessed correctly both times. I also loved my surprise engagement. I guess good things come in threes as much as deaths? Good to know.
When it comes to books, I never flip to the back or preview chapter names, careful not to reveal spoilers. An artist’s journey is never one I want to compromise; I respect the journey they want me to experience. This is also why I never listen to a musical soundtrack before I see a show.
Today, I diverted my lifestyle mantra.
I’m dying to see Hamilton the Musical and have been playing the Hamilton Lottery every day unsuccessfully. I am huge theater buff and the curiosity was wearing down but I refused to listen to the readily available soundtrack. I didn’t want to ruin this surprise. But I realized this album just won a Grammy award! This is considered an exceptional piece of musical orchestration. I could listen to the album just as if I could listen to a Beyonce album before I saw the concert. Of course, as I created the analogy, I realized it was a lie as I’m blatantly aware that I’m only experiencing one sect of a carefully constructed production. I feel like a blind person, hanging on every word because I can’t see the acting, the choreography, the sets. I feared listening to the soundtrack ahead of time would short-change my reaction when I finally got to see it.
This didn’t happen. Instead, I hung on every lyric to hear the story. I let my mind and body pulse to the contagious rhythms. I absorbed the art in the only format within my grasp and essentially ruined the ultimate reveal for myself. However, I do not feel deprived or disappointed. Instead, I feel electrified to have heard the genius songs and the powerful music and to have dipped one toe into the collective buzz of this grandiose spectacle.