It seemed I had thoughtlessly accepted, months earlier, an invitation to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a symphonic concert. Now the time had come to perform and I was understandably nervous. I was unqualified and unprepared. I have a tin ear. And besides, why had there been no rehearsals?
So there I was onstage, baton in hand. I managed to clown my way through the introductory piece, a contemporary bagatelle that was all cacophony and lacked rhyme or reason. All I had to do was jump around the stage whilst the musicians played to their own devices.
Come intermission, though, it was time for sober reassessment. The main piece on the program was a classical symphony with which I was totally unfamiliar. I am no musician. I cannot even read a score. This was something I knew I could not fake: I would have to come clean.
Once the audience was reseated, I came out on stage and stepped forward to address them. "I must be honest with you," I said. I felt good about telling the truth. "I am here under false pretenses. There is no way I can conduct this symphony without knowing how to read the score. There must be many people out there in the audience more qualified than I who are simply itching to try their hand with the baton. I will happily hand it over to them."
There were no takers. The concert-goers began to leave in a huff. The orchestra disbanded and left the stage. I was left with the baton in my hand and the feeling that I had let everyone down.
There was more to this dream, but I do not remember it.