Every semester there's one rehearsal that's really stinkin' bad. Last night's was the One. It had been a pretty ordinary day leading up to it, but the minute I got to the rehearsal room I was so tired I just wanted to go to sleep.
We started with a piece we hadn't played before, but definitely not difficult, and in a friendly key. To my amazement and dismay, I could.not.read.the.music. My brain just wouldn't process it. I'd get maybe one note per bar and the have to lay out for the rest. Now, two years ago I was a terrible sightreader and had many, many entire rehearsals like this, but that was then and now is now, and this was unexpected and unwelcome. And a little embarrassing, too - I felt like I was losing my mind in public. Having a stroke. Early-onset dementia. Flowers For Algernon where the guy suddenly loses all the intelligence he'd gained. HAL getting dismantled in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Happily, I didn't panic, but I realized that with a 2-viola section there was no hope of just slipping away unnoticed.
Once we moved on to familiar pieces I began to find my bearings again, but I never did get all the way to normal. I let my stand partner (who is less familiar with the music, but very loud and confident) lead everything even though I was sitting in the so-called principal's chair; as a result, we sounded pretty whack as I constantly adjusted to his intonation and his tendency to hold every end-note longer than everyone else, con molto vibrato. Wow, what a night. Just need to forget about it and move on, and hope everyone else didn't notice.