nonsensical text

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

i got plenty of nothin

Note: Since this post is taking me so long to write, dates are not accurate. I have also apparently killed any writing ability I once possessed.

I have been known to make the occasional error in judgment. I know it is hard to believe, but alas, it is true! Saturday was a small example of my humanity. The schedule looked something like this:

10 AM: Baseball practice for SpongeBob and the Pink One
12 PM: Get home, throw laundry in, and make lunch for the masses
2:30 PM: Drive the Instigator to his school for pre-performance band practice
3:30 PM: Return home and do more laundry while helping The Working Boy prepare for his first ever school dance.
5:30 PM: Attempt to locate relatively decent clothes for the remaining four to wear to “The Great Performance.”
6 PM: Leave the house for pre-performance dinner
7:45 PM: Arrive at the concert venue
Latertime PM: Pick the Instigator up from his post-performance return to school.
Latertime + 0:30 PM: Return home.

It was a somewhat busy day, perhaps, but do-able – done-able.

Everything was going along fine until the 5 PM mark. I even had time to do a crossword puzzle. This would be judgment error number one. From experience, I should know by now to have clothing choices made and arranged well in advance of actual departure times (and shoes located and padlocked into place pending later use), but seventeen and a half years in the trenches have apparently taught me very little.

Shortly before we would have to leave to make it a viable option, the hubster decided it would be a good plan to go out to eat before the performance (as noted in agenda article 6). After inquiring about my preferences (“I don’t know. I’d just like it to be someplace sit-down. I really do not want fast food.” Error number 2), when he attempted to further glean details as to my culinary yearnings (“I don’t know. I have no idea what’s out there in the world since I have absolutely no exposure to it and haven’t for seventeen years!”), I should have taken my obvious befrazzlement as an indication of my general mood for the day. Error number 3.

When the natives were already restless five minutes after sitting down to eat (even though it was buffet-style and they had some measure of distraction), I should have prepared myself for the trials to come. Yes, yet another error – are we sensing a trend yet?

When we pulled up to the concert venue with only five or ten minutes to spare before the start of the performance, when we noted all of the elderly people dressed to the nines, when my children almost took out two older ladies with walkers on the ramp leading inside…

There was a time when I considered myself quite astute at picking up the nuances which portend the prevailing winds of atmosphere. I can only surmise that years of ignoring the warnings (due to the certain knowledge that some fates cannot be changed when the precious munchkins are pulling the strings of circumstance) have dulled my ability to heed the alarm bells.

Strangely, the bells did finally reach my conscious mind while the hubster was arguing with the ticket master concerning the interpretation of the advertisement flier which promised half-off tickets for the family of students participating in this event. He took it to mean the adults were half-off as well. It stated the kids were but was ambiguous at best on the other terms. I married Mr. Itstheprincipleofthething.

I am not comfortable with public confrontation. I was in my late(-er) twenties before I could even go up to the counter of a fast food restaurant and tell them if they got my order wrong. Clearly, we are opposite extremes. I had hoped that some of our kids would get a bit of each and wind up somewhere in the middle.

At any rate, while this little discussion was taking place, I had the sudden and extreme urge to simply take the kids out to play on the ramp while Da Man went in alone. I ignored it. I’ve lost track of my errors somewhere along the way, but I know of at least one math geek who will likely read this, so maybe she can let me know later.

It was an abnormally warm and beautiful spring evening as we entered the heated auditorium.

The lights dimmed before we even had a chance to look at the programs (or we would have noticed the vital detail that the boy and his school’s marching band were in the very last number of the night).

The sweat trickled down our faces before the performance even began. The children continually opened and closed their chairs, letting them slam shut with a squeak-bang before repeating the process. Spongebob practiced burping in different rhythms. Freckles stuck his head in the seat and his fingers in his ears. The Drama King complained in Broadway whispers that the night was simply not to his liking and he was ready to go home. The hub and the Pink One engaged in a rousing performance of the Seat Versus Lap Ballet, and I sat silently fanning myself with a program – smack in the middle of the brood – wandering if there was any chance people would believe I wasn’t a member of this party (especially the elderly couple in front of us who clearly paid full-price and whose chairs the Spongemeister was repeatedly kicking, bumping, jostling or caressing - despite numerous scoldings).

And then there was the opening note.

And the husband’s barely stifled laughter.

And my inward groan.

The Culps took female form, donned an evening gown, and bastardized Gershwin (while, technically singing not one note off-key). The first five minutes finally passed about a week later. The heat increased. The wiggles and whines intensified. I found myself, at one point, crawling on the floor with a curly-headed boy locked between my knees while I searched for three pairs of discarded shoes. I applaud myself that I managed this without more than a rustle of sound.

By and by, the first half did come to an end. The intermission in the cool night air while thunderous gusts of pre-rain breeze lowered our temperatures, brought much cooler tempers as well.

I have to admit, the second half was better (despite the husband snapping his fingers loudly and just inconsistently enough to purposefully drive me crazy).

We sat in two different rows upon our return – separating the least pacific of the children in the process. The air seemed cooler. The Pink one dancing in the aisles was adorable (at first). The temperature in the room seemed to be slightly lower. But, the biggest aid to our decreased agitation had to be the ability to look at the programs and estimate with relative accuracy just how much time we had left to endure.

And finally, it came – the very last number. As the narration laid forth the final sentence of a song’s history, as she spoke the words, “Strike up the band,” the lights came up; a whistle sounded, and in marched a very small contingent of our son’s high school marching band.

“Let the drums roll out.” And they did, in exhilarating, modern-urban fashion. The band-front coaxed pep from the pep-less. The band reached the foot of the stage.

“Let the trumpets call!”

1 beat (I see the shift of the Instigator’s eyes toward the 1st trumpeter)

2 beats (his lips prepared, his fingers poised)

3 beats (almost imperceptible irritation and embarrassment briefly flashes over his brow)

3 ½ beats (the slightest of movements indicate the possibility that he will simply put his trumpet down)

And then…

A weak and off key melding of notes squeezed slowly from the bell of two of the three horns (alumni who learned the song that very day) spurs him to finally play his note (dead on).

And it was in that moment that I was grateful to the vocalist for her powerful voice as her shout of “Strike up the band!” erased the momentary worry from the Instigator’s face. But, I’m still not quite sure I will forgive her for the rendition of “Bess You Is My Woman Now”.

The moral of the story: When blessed by the overwhelming presence of active youth, don’t go to the Gershwin; make the Gershwin come to you.

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  • Ack.

    You poor thing.....LOL

    <--- graduate of children's concerts, games and assemblies

    THANK goodness.

    And where do you wanna eat?
    I don't care, wherever you'd like..
    Whatcha hungry for?
    Dunno....not picky.....
    How about chinese?
    Ughhh.......not much feeling like chinese....
    Oh no...not with stomach problems lately.....


    By Blogger Mel, at 8:47 AM  

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