Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Don't Move!

Seems like days since we last communicated. (Think it was EASY getting my cap back? Huh?) It's the PACE we keep these days. And I know you'll agree, dear reader, some days are "pace-ier" than others. Or SEEM to be. I mean who can remember when "hectic" becomes a way of life rather than a description. Here, in our little fam corner, we were all set for an axciting stream of 'Kodak Moments' as it was one of those RARE occasions when the entire crew would be in one place. By way of celebration as well as 'never-to-be-forgotten' group learning experiences, I had purchased tickets to a professional production, on tour, of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown". It was for the 2 P.M. Saturday performance. Our daughter Julie, having had time to settle-in with 2 year-old Mia by then, I thought two was a good time. Molly (6 and a half years very old) would have played her 9:30 A. M basketball game at the Y and been with cousin Emma ( 3.5 years and VERY excited) to dress-for-the-theater. We would meet at the theater, retrieve tickets and MAYBE have time for a 'bite' pre-curtain. It would be 'hurry-up-and-wait' but SO worth it.
(On a different note, that reminds me of today because it was more of a RARE 'wait-and-then-hurry-up' kind of occasion - the NOT exciting but 'oh-so-worth-it-nevertheless' annual mammogram. Screening for ANYone's potential cancer never shows up on a "favorite things' list but then. . . . I got there in a timely fashion - always a plus - and just have to say that it was the most UNUSUAL of experiences. I actually left the facility LAUGHING!)
As it turned out, we easily found parking close to the theater, Julie and I got a table & ordered lunch for us and Mia (that would be "yunch" for Mia), and Jen arrived with Molly and Emma just in time to share and squeal and squirm and SO on. They were color-co-ordinated) a totally desultory development), creatures of total 'theatrical' decorum - given the fact that they couldn't WAIT to see Charlie Brown but 'tolerated cheeseburgers sans childish 'theatrics', and conducted themselves with tolerance and patience (walk, stop, "smile girls!", snap, snap, walk , stop, "Stand with GiGi - Mia's still having a struggle with 'hard "g's" so we gave up on 'Grams' until she's 'there - ladies!", "and look at Mommy and smile!", snap, snap and I know you get THAT PICTURE) until we were FINALLY in the beautiful, deco, marble/plush carpeted Roper Theater - where Charlie Brown had been for HOURS, to be sure, waiting for them. (It's probably only fair to say, at this juncture, that Mia LOVES and is quite the devotee of Charlie & the gang. Venue, you may fairly ask? She watches the ANIMATED cartoon productions on cable TV. And Emma is an equally loving follower - and a precocious, tenacious reader. She is also completing her FIRST year of "Creative Movement" a wonderful combination of "Introcuction to Ballet and Tap" incorporated with musical theater components. Molly, a three-year veteran of ballet, tap and jazz who is deleriously excited about adding "Musical Theater" to her repertoire next year AND is Big Sister to 3 year-old Patrick, had a 'trunkful' of 'smell-of-the-greasepaint'-reasons to get her 'Playbill', to her seat and a real-life gander at the 'gang' dancing and singing - on stage, live - as Charlie and his friends. Good Man, indeed!
(And you know the folks who man the mammogram department at the hospital are more than "good". They are very special. They are acutely aware that those entrusted to their care will have with them emotions that run the gamut from dispassionate 'sense of duty' to emotional stability-stripping, all-encompasing FEAR and - often 'WITHOUT THEM' proper proof of identification, insurance, a sense of comity or courtesy stemming from the former - such that this 'staff' must be willing, accepting, loving, understanding, gentle and, if at all poossible, reassuring to the point of changeing fear into forbearance - freedom, even, from distress. Well, unfortunately, today the beginning of the process was snagged, causing delay. The (very dear lady) in charge of the registration/recordation of one's profile, ie, "who are ya and how're you gonna pay", information, was not familiar with one of my insurance payors and it took a while to render this data valid and "enter" it in the proper order. I was fine. No pressing appointments until physical therapy in almost 3 hours - necessary after the merry "exposure-to-the-Arts" weekend).
Upon entering the theater - having departed the lobby - we set about snagging some GOOD self-seats. Center, orchestra had availability - as well as a great view of the orchestra pit with its inhabitants busy tuning, testing, page-flipping which got MIA'S attention for a bit before she noticed that THE thing to be doing was leafing through the program - like her 'big cousins were doing. Jennie had entered the row first so she was at 'stage-right-guard, while Julie assumed 'stage-left-guard' with GiGi in the aisle seat. While the Moms used had signals and "mouthing" of key words to exchange information re: what diversionary props (edible & non) they each had secreted in their respective purses, GiGi wondered whether they served alcoholic libations at intermission. Julie asked me, "What's the over/under on making it to Intermission?", thereby dashing my hopes of any LIQUID relief. She then (as the little thespian-ytes seemed to be getting into some seat-changeing, stand-up/sit-down, drop-stuff-on-floor movement) inquired of the VERY patient, seemingly-bemused, patrons in the row behind us, "Betcha didn't know you'd payed to see THIS show, too, right???"
("We'll start with the right.", from the very competent technician. You see, finally, paperwork/legitimacy-litmus-tested activity completed, a pleasant, cheerful, Donna called my name. I gathered my "stuff" and followed her 'back' to the undressing area. We were good. No deodorant, oils, whatever. Just don gown - which opens in the front (NO!) & come out when you're ready. OK's all around. "Did you bring a purse?" (BRAIN: No. Just all of my ID cards stuffed in my bra. MOUTH: "Why, yes." "Well, you'd best bring that with you.") And we trundled down to the computerized-to-the-max 'imagery' suite.)
We were two minutes from 'curtain' and I prayed that as the house lights came down, the stage lights would contemporaneously come up. We were still dealing with 'scared-of-the-dark' issues in our group and GiGi, for one, would have a bona fide panic attack if those engineers didn't respect the fact that it is de rigueur to maintain a lighted ambience during performances for children. But they were bright - the engineers. And no one had to endure a theater going 'black' pre-"SHOWTIME, FOLKS". Now - in order of AGE - Mia squinted in that "What the . . .?" way when the cartoons did NOT appear on this epic-sized TV; Emma, lover of music & movement, gave it about 15 munutes before telling Mommy, "This is fun! I'm gonna go up and dance WITH them; Molly, eyes huge, entranced, smiled dreamily and laughed/applauded appropriately. The Moms fidgeted - but watched the show. GiGi was enamored of the quality of the whole schtick - actors, sound, choreography, score, lighting. The people behind us seemed entertained - and quietly so. Of course all manner of goldfish, Puffs, whatever, were consumed, spilled enjoyed. And everyone - albeit at varying and different times - laughed, clapped, climbed, danced etc., randomly but truly enthusiastically. At one point, Julie whispered, "We-re sitting in those empty seats to the left for Act II. If we're here."
("Here we go. It's really amazing. The radiologist will be able to pull up LAST year's digital of the right and it will be on the same screen as this year's. OK. Now just relax - (BRAIN: You have just locked my right boob in a VERY strong vice.) - and "DON'T MOVE." (BRAIN: You're KILLING me. Who the H___? What moron would/could MOVE under these circumstances?? Huh?") "OK." She approached to change the machine's angle; explained why; RE-CLAMPED right boob; walked to safety of non-radiated imagery area to say, "Here we go. Now just relax and DON'T MOVE!". As she appoached to get going on the other side, I lost it. "What's so funny? "Well every year - and I'm a former nurse, I can't help but wonder who writes your script? I mean "Don't MOVE?" "Oh, you'd be surprised. Your 'gum chewers. Did you know your whole body moves when you're chewing gum?' (BRAIN: "How about a 'No gum chewing during exam" sign?) MOUTH: "Right. Didn't think of that." And then she actually rambled on - with consumate 'perk' (this staff is nothing if not perky.) about the many OTHER REASONS women 'move' during the exam. I focused with every fiber of determination on NOT moving because I was laughing. (Not yet on her list). Bottom line in mammo suite: DON'T MOVE.")
And Intermission came. And conferences were held in the lobby. Decisions made. Julie would take Mia and Emma (who WOULD have made it to the end but NOT without Mia) and Jennie, Molly and GiGi would remain for Act II. Bottom line in Live Theater. When taking three very bright, talented, cute, entertaining grandpeeps to see "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown": Delegate to the "good other, real MEN in the family." They can handle ANYTHING. They're just 'naturals'.
Later. L. . . .

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