Monday, October 19, 2009

Learning to like Vienna

I think it is time to just come out with the truth: I don’t like Vienna. I am considering forming a self-help group on the subject. Surely there are others out there, and I am beginning to think that we are not incurable.

Vienna is, after all, the city of Sigmund Freud. So, I have decided to delve into the deeper, subconscious roots of my aversion to a city that I should, objectively speaking, adore. Vienna does offer two of the delights most central to my being: music and pastries. Admittedly, I am not tempted by the great Viennese institution of schnitzel, but that only means that I have more room for dessert.

So, consulting my knowledge of Sigmund’s theories, the subject of envy springs to mind. I mean, his idea that I might be spending my life in constant envy of men for their anatomical “advantage” doesn’t ring true with me. However, there is no doubt that I feel a visceral envy of anyone capable of sweeping across a dance floor in three-four time. The Viennese can gracefully spin through a room as though waltzing on air. New Yorkers can wiggle their bottoms and step side to side.

Could it be that I am suffering from sophistication-envy? A certain feeling of resentment towards people who have sachertorte with their coffee instead of glazed donuts?

On this theory, I am thinking that maybe I should try again. After all, maybe I can’t learn to waltz overnight, but I definitely know how to eat cake, and even if I wasn’t born in the city where the great works were written, I can still enjoy them with gusto.

So, I think I’ve found the ideal way to start my therapeutic initiation. The programme of the Theater an der Wien is full of productions that I am dying to see. And, it is located on the Naschmarkt, a garden of earthy delights for the snack-seeking opera goer. I am working on a couple of mantras to repeat to myself in case the illustrious history of the Theater an der Wien should start to awaken the green monster in me. The mere fact that Beethoven himself lived and composed in the building shouldn’t hinder my enjoyment of the evening. After all, I’m sure Beethoven would have like Manhattan, too, if he’d had the chance.

If that all goes well, I will dare to indulge in a concert and museum visit at the Liechtenstein Museum. Admittedly, this is getting into some very classy territory, but I think that I am up to the challenge. Even if the Metropolitan Museum doesn’t house a princely collection in a former palace, it did prepare me well for the world of European art. And the Liechtenstein Museum even has combination offers with music, art, and Viennese culinary specialties.

So, I am indulging on a self-help journey to Vienna, the City of Music (and strudel) and will enjoy some concerts of classical music in Vienna. I think that Freud would be proud.