So, the transcription client offered me the job and asked how long it would take. I told him a week tops (40 hours -double the time of the audio) but that I could do it faster if he wanted. Boy, was my cocky reply so removed from reality. My guesstimate went against the mantra the presenter on the recordings regularly exclaimed - "You must under-promise and over-deliver". I did the opposite.
While cooped up in my makeshift office, listening to audio recordings on half speed (the voice often sounding comedic) and transforming an "easy" job into 100+ hours, my dear friend Audrey called and e-mailed on daily basis. Every single time she wanted to make sure I was taking breaks and not getting stressed out or going cooky. (Audrey is now a professional counselor and in her line of work "self care" is essential).
I did take her advice. Whenever I almost fell into the trap of "I can't do this" I would find a song to listen to that would put me into a relaxed state of mind. One such piece was Gabriel's Oboe (the main theme from the film The Mission). For every person it's different of course, but this composition literally stopped me from having racing thoughts or thinking of the deadline that I had failed to meet. It took on my full attention, gave me butterflies in my chest and torso and literally caused me to hyperventilate in a comforting way.
Watching the youtube video got me thinking about the chain of events that brought this particular, wondrous performance in this particular concert hall to fruition - all of the contributing factors that created this single magical moment:
Ennio Morricone (the composer of the soundtrack) is conducting the symphony. How did he first become impassioned by music, how did he get connected to this particular film and what inspired him to come up with this particular permutation of notes and instrumental timings to produce such a stunning piece?
The oboe soloist - how many hours a day did she practice throughout the years to be able to flawlessly belt out her solo?
How was the oboe even invented? Did it evolve from some primitive wind instrument? And what about the creation of the reed? And who knew the oboe created such a beautiful sound?
All of the other players and vocalists that were present that night - What of the ones who may have called in sick or didn't make the cut. Would the performance have generated a different form of magnetism if there were fewer or more players?
I like to pretend sometimes that real life has a soundtrack. Gabriel's Oboe would play in the background not of past events, but those of the hopeful future. After listening to the song probably 50 times, various film images have played in my mind: My mother being able to walk again in the Public Gardens under a canopy of fall colours; my brother experiencing clarity and realizing nobody lives under the street; my friend finishing her tenth Zumba class with a fulfilled smile on her face.
But, the re-occurring movie clip that has aroused from the song is me meeting my father again in some form of the after-world. I picture running towards him across rolling hills; I hug him for a long time and tell him, "You were an amazing father". Although this may never happen but beyond my "wildest dreams", to me it's real, and I have the soundtrack to prove it.