Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I remember being mooned for the first time...

Sheri, my best college friend, and I hopped in her car and headed south of the border to Seattle to go see Steve Taylor in concert. We were very excited to see him, he was so New Wave and crazy! The show was great, even though there was nowhere to dance...what is it with concert halls that don't allow people to actually enjoy the music?

Anyway, after the show, we were full of pent-up energy. There were blocks and blocks to walk in late-night Seattle, but both of us were bouncing along as we headed towards the car. There wasn't much traffic, so we noticed when a car drove slowly by. It took a moment to register what exactly I was looking at. The passenger in the back seat had his pants down and his butt squished against the window, mooning us. I had never even heard of such a thing before! I felt insulted, like somebody had just called me a rude name. Why would he do that to us? What had we ever done to him? Did we look funny or something? I thought it was disgusting, and Sheri and I shook our heads as we finished the walk to the car.

I have discovered in the years since that mooning isn't such a big deal to many people. My husband has, on occasion, mooned his own mother! Bart Simpson has mooned just about everybody! But when I was 18, all I knew was that some hairy teenager with pimples had pulled his pants down and I felt insulted. My upbringing had not prepared me for public displays of butt.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This is my 100th post. 100 memories from my life laid down the best I can, for anyone at all to read if they want to. I was wondering what to remember on this special occasion...something funny? Something sad or depressing? How about a little of both...

I remember practicing the piano....

Mom expected us all to take piano lessons. We weren't asked if we wanted to, we just had to. I hated practicing, especially my scales and triads and arpeggios. I knew they would help me play songs better, but they were so boring.

I can clearly remember one practice session. I was having trouble with my arpeggios, they just weren't coming out right. I was making the same mistake over and over again, and I was beginning to get very frustrated. I tried slowing it down to a crawl, but my fingers were still fumbling over the one area. I tried speeding it up to see if I could fly by the trouble spot...

By the 100th time of playing it wrong, I was in tears. I was angry! I was depressed!! I placed my fingers on the keys, took a deep breath, and tried again. WRONG! I slapped myself on the face, hard. "Stupid!!" I cursed myself. I tried again. WRONG!! I slapped myself again, harder. "Idiot!!" I even banged my head on the keys at one point, like a real-life version of Don Music from Sesame Street.

As you can guess, this attempt at humiliating my fingers into submission got me nowhere.
I remember my Saturday morning job...

Every Saturday morning we would clean the house from top to bottom. Mom, being a pastor's wife, never knew if there would be company the next day so the house had to be spotless. My job was cleaning the bathroom, Pam's job was dusting. We both preferred our jobs and would rather fight than switch. I would use Comet cleanser and a rag and clean the bathtub, the toilet, and the sink to a polished shine. I would put fresh towels and fold them perfectly. I took special care to shine up the metal on the faucet.

I did this every Saturday for years. You think I'd be better at cleaning my own bathroom now, but I'm not. Maybe if my sister still lived with me...

Monday, December 04, 2006

I remember meeting a group of handsome men...

When my shift was done at the souvenir kiosk outside the gates of Expo 86, I would walk downtown and hop on the newly completed Skytrain for my ride home. Tonight was a late one, and as I walked down the stairs to the station beneath Granville Street, a young man kept calling out to me. Easily ignorable, I tuned him out, bought my ticket, and descended even farther beneath the earth to the platform. He rode the escalator behind me, making rude comments, asking me if I wanted a date, a boyfriend...that sort of thing.

Unrelated side note: Anyone else see the irony of going down into the depths of the earth to catch the "Sky"train? LOL!! The train only went underground for two stations...but this always made me laugh. Anyway, back to our story...

I strode with purpose towards the group of people waiting for the train heading East. The young man stood off to one side, continuing with his tirade of what he was prepared to do for me. Everyone on the platform was wondering what I'd do. When the train slid into the station, he followed me into the car and sat down behind me. I'm no dummy. Just before the door slid shut, I jumped up, ran out of the car and scooted into the next one. He tried to follow, but the doors shut and the train accelerated out of the station, leaving him standing alone on the platform. Hah!!

I was feeling very clever! Then I looked around to see who was in the car I had just dashed into. The only empty seat was in the midst of a group of incredibly handsome men, all dressed in expensive clothing that fit them perfectly. They clapped for me and my clever evasion, indicating that I was welcome to sit with them. I took a little bow, and joined their party. As I began a conversation, I quickly realized that these men were Italian and could speak almost no English. The only Italian words I knew were the musical terms I'd learned from 10 years of piano lessons. I spouted off a few to their great merriment. "Allegro! Pianissimo! Dolce!" Much laughter, white teeth. "Expo 86?" I asked, figuring them to be tourists.

"Si! Si!!" They nodded happily. "La Scala!"

"Are you here to see La Scala perform?" I knew the famed opera company was going to be performing for Expo 86, and assumed any Italian worth his salt would be lining up to buy tickets. "You watch La Scala?"

"No!" insisted the gentleman with the perfect white teeth and immaculately groomed graying hair. "No watch. La Scala!!" He reached for his wallet and handed me a business card. I don't read Italian, but I realized that I was sitting with members from the company! They were with La Scala! "You come see?"

I pulled out my pockets, pantomiming my poverty. "I can't afford the opera!"

"No!" Darn that language barrier!!! "You come see! You come! We show!" How did he get his teeth so white? What? Was he inviting me to come as his guest? For free??? We eventually figured it out, after much hand gesturing, that I was invited to the final dress rehearsal, and that one of my new friends would meet me at the door to make sure I got in. We waved good-byes and ciaos as they got off at their stop.

I showed up at the Pacific Coliseum at the proper time on the proper day, August 23, 1986. Nobody was waiting for me at the gate, but I convinced the person at the door that I belonged there by showing him the Italian business card I had been given. I walked in, totally excited. I had never been to the opera before! I wasn't sure where I would be allowed to sit, so I was wandering down the aisles looking for an empty spot when I heard a welcoming cry. "Hallo!!!" It was one of my friends! He rushed up to me, grabbed me around the shoulder and steered me straight toward the backstage. Backstage! He introduced me to someone who could translate for us, and then I was given a whirlwind tour of the whole backstage area. I saw the costume room, the singers putting on their makeup, the props and backdrops...I felt like I was walking in a dream.

I was led to my seat, right near the front, and watched Verdi's "I Lombardi". Is it any wonder that I felt like my life was charmed? Why would something so magical and fantastic happen to me, merely because I was smart enough to dodge a dummy on the Skytrain? I didn't know why, and I didn't care. If heaven wanted to drop gifts in my lap, I certainly wasn't going to refuse!