The last three weeks at work have been a slog, to say the least. At one point, two of my co-workers were out with injuries and one was out with the H1N1 flu virus. Needless to say, the rest of us have been run a little ragged...
Last night, I relieved a co-worker who had worked a split-shift, doing the graveyard shift, then the afternoon shift (which is more difficult than working straight through a sixteen hour period). I came in early so he could hit the road, and then the hay.
He's an immigrant from Chile, who is nearing retirement age, and he is a tremendous opera fan, being an especial fan of Sweden's Jussi Björling. We stood around for a while, listening to a 1944 recording of Nessun dorma from Puccini's Turandot. As we listened, he told me that his brother had emigrated from Chile to Sweden, where he raised four daughters. My co-worker and his wife flew to Sweden for the wedding of his brother's eldest daughter, and he made a pilgrimage to Jussi Björling's house, which is now a museum, and then to Björling's grave, where he encountered a multinational contingent of opera fans, all united in their love for the tenor, who died at the age of forty-eight.
Listening to opera reminds me of my paternal grandfather, who religiously listened to the opera broadcasts on WQXR every Saturday afternoon, connecting to the culture his immigrant parents brought with them from Liguria, and a language he largely gave up when he married the Roscommon-rooted love of his life.
Next time you hear someone decry "multiculturalism", please give them a boot for the bastard.