Throwback Thursday: That Time I Was Yo Yo Ma’s Paparazzi

A few weeks ago, I delivered a tantalizing teaser (an excellent name for an adult bookstore?) for my next Throwback Thursday. Then when it came time to throwback, I copped out because I was unwillingly defending against the latest allergy-induced nuclear holocaust inside my sinuses. When I ran out of tissues, I put away a whole roll of toilet paper in less than two days. None of it actually touched my butt. The fallout is real, folks.

Now it’s time to deliver the goods.

I was traveling with my choir (all epic stories usually begin with this sentence). We went to Boston to perform at a very upper-crust choral shindig at Yale University. We’re flying home, and it somehow comes to our attention that Yo-Yo Ma is on the same flight.


He’s in first class because he’s an unsullied cello god. We’re in coach because we sing for our food. If I recall, I believe the choir managed to produce an ear-straining version of one of our latest pieces, at the request of several unsuspecting flight attendants. Singing on a plane: the real way to pop your ears. If the excessive jaw motions won’t do it, then surely the wretched blend of seriously questionable tone productions will. You know, the ones undoubtedly affected by a special sort of hangover-altitude-dehydration. Yo Yo Ma heard all those sounds. Oh well.

At the time, I was a fresh newlywed and had just changed my last name. I was honestly not lamenting my latest, triumphant rise from the end of the alphabet to the beginning. I put in 23 years in the “S” zone. But alas, good things come to those who wait. Because my new last name began with “A,” I was the first in our choir to be seated, and was conveniently situated near the front of the plane…with direct line-of-sight to Yo Yo Ma, who, like a boss, had purchased an extra seat for his cello. Every time that glorious polyester partition was drawn aback by a flight attendant, I could see Ma in all his splendid, cello-hugging magnificence.

I whipped out my camera and spent nearly the entire flight concocting a dramatic scheme to get a picture of him. We landed, the aisles became ridiculously inundated with line-butters, and my dreams were semi-crushed for about three minutes. I was 10 bodies behind him on the exit processional.

So what did I do?

Casually-yet-rudely shoved my way to the front like a lunatic and snapped these photos of him. 

ow! my eardrums!
pardon my 2009 photography skillz
pardon my 2009 photography skillz


I didn’t get a shot with him, per se. But for a second I was a member of the not-so-discreet classical music paparazzi.

I am who I am.

Happy Thursday.

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