I can't wait for the Jr High orchestra to start. It's been a half hour of watching parents and families file in. Some are in business suits. Some are in work duds. The majority are in jeans and tee shirts. Apparel aside, everyone looks mildly bored off their collective noggins and waiting for the program to start.
The kids in attendance are few and far between. They run a muck in the back of the gym while parents talk amongst themselves. School function-imposed banter is not my thing. I'm not a hermit and make every attempt to be polite. Sure, I'll smile and say my hellos like the next guy. Its my distaste for plastic smiles and attempts to one up other parents with their golden child's academic progress.
I would bet my Mozart CD collection that this parking lot has a bumper sticker that reads:
My Orchestra Child Can Outplay Your Orchestra Child.
There are probably stick figures involved, too. And maybe one of those half-smashed into the window baseballs.
I claim seats for the kids and myself. After I'm settled, I look around. I spot Jaina coming in from a side door. She's a blond head in a sea of white shirts and black trousers. She's surrounded by boys, of course, oblivious to the gravity of her smiles and giggles.
I wish she would stay this way forever. Or at least until she's 30. I want grandkids, just not this decade. I'm still happily scoffing at the AARP bulk mail in my postal box.
Jaina carries her violin proudly as she scans the seating section, offering her siblings a shy smile, and blushing only slightly when she sees me across the gym. I'm proud of her for playing the violin, just like my grandfather, and his father, and his father. Stringed instruments are in our blood. Guitars on my dad's side and violins on my mother's side. This reminds me of my sister. I should call her.
Shushing and hovering over the kids is easy when I'm standing across the isle from them. I get comfortable with my back against the wall. The kids are restless. I'm under the distinct impression that Max, Zus, and Lolo have taken bets on who can wiggle most often and create the most amount of noise while everyone is finding seating.
If you want to call caterwauling "noise".
I look to my right and left. Why? Because people are so darn fascinating and it's entertaining. Entertaining as my shallowness in making gross conjectures about their lives and judging them for my assumptions to stave off boredom.
Its fun. You should try it.
I'm checking out the bass section now. Or are they cellos? Or violas? I always forget and make a mental note to google it. Not knowing stuff like that irritates me. Why? I haven't a clue. I'm sure Jaina would know because she's been in the orchestra all year. She's a googler like me.
Now I realize it's time for the parental units along the wall to do the "who has the coolest camera with the biggest, most expensive lens."
I lose. I don't care.
And don't think I'm shallow because I know you're comparing cameras, too. That's what crosses the mind of every parental unit gone pseudo-photog.
I make a mental note to check prices for cameras while I'm googling cello-viola-bass thingies. I'm sure my little 8 MP camera with a 5x lens is child's play and I need an upgrade. It's about two years old.
Two technology and camera years equates to an antique. Kinda like dog years, except technology years boil down to months.
Even Lolo's camera is a technological antique but it was far cheaper than mine but a much better resolution. Her camera we bought for her birthday in February just this year. To add insult to pictorial injury: It's hot pink, can survive a 5000 foot drop into a volcano, and it has prozac-smile Barbies on it.
My camera is so uncool.
The conductor brings me back to the present and I unglaze my eyeballs. The auditorium begins to quiet. I can hear the tap-tap-tap of his wand. I hear giggle snorts and am giving my kids the hairy eyeball. They somehow manage to continue their loud wiggle chair disco. The wiggle chair disco now looks more like a full-on rain dance and howling songs around a campfire.
We haven't even gotten to the whisper yell, "Moooom, he's touching me!" and the ever classic comment from my youngest daughter, "It stinks right now cause I farted."
Do they stay quiet? No, they are too busy kicking their feet into the backside of the poor souls who made the unfortunate decision to sit in the row in front of the Bee children. And apparently farting.
I know I'm gonna win Mother of The Year.
I frown in dissatisfaction at my 8 MP dinosaur that has just sucked the last juice from my only set of batteries. That and my duct tape is still back at the house.
Mr Coffee calls me again. This is the third time today but I don't mind. At all. He doesn't like being 3hrs away but you won't hear him complain about his job. His boss is awesome, he's gainfully employed in the economically volatile field of construction, and our bills are being paid.
Note to self: When praying for a job, always designate a 50 mile radius from home. Amen and pass the lobster.
Mr Coffee wishes again that he were here but I reassure him that Jaina understands the demands of his job. He is lamenting over being out of town and missing Jaina's orchestra thingie tonight.
"Hey, Mattress. Are you at Jaina's orchestra thingie?" He makes himself sound positive but I know he's disappointed.
Before I go further, I am certain you are probably wondering from this pet name that I am a) off my rocker b) trying to be funny, or c) have fat-fingered my keyboard.
None of the above. Or at least not the funny and fat fingered ones. Occasionally, Mr Coffee will call me Mattress. In retort, I will come back with a diddy of my own,
"Heeeey, Lovercorn. I'm here! I think they are going to start soon."
** The story of Mattress and Lovercorn is very long, involves my two boys (naturally), and is funny enough to make you choke on your own spit so I will refrain from the story. In the meantime, you can thank Max and Zus for allowing Mr Coffee and I to use the pet names once reserved between brothers.**
Mr Coffee and I can't hear each other because suddenly, the orchestra is playing. I can feel the vibrations of all five of the bass-cello thingies in my chest. Or is that the war cries from my children? I can't tell.
I don't want to be rude so I duck into the hallway to avoid the eyeball laser beams from Little Future YoYo Ma's parents. It could be worse, at least I'm not yammering on at 130 decibels into a bluetooth about my abscessed tooth. Or embarrassing itch. Or gaseous anomalies emanating from my person.
It's happened. Safeway checkout line. Not the gas..or embarrassing itch. The TMI at 130 decibels. That's the threshold for ear pain. I've googled it.
I'm in the antiseptic smelling cafeteria hall, "I'm in the clear now. Sooooo," I drag on, "wow, is it loud. And really, it would be a miracle if anyone is in the same key...or playing the same song. How bout an A for effort.Or is that an 'E' for effort...or 'E minor'..."
I giggle at my own joke because I think I'm funny. The floor bleach must be affecting my brain cells. I can't even get a solid chord progression on Guitar Hero so who am I to talk?
Mr Coffee snorts, "Yeah, I could hear them. Ouch. I guess it could be worse..."
Princess Bride immediately pops into my head and can't stop my verbal diarrhea, "Do you know what that sound is, Highness? Those are the SHRIEKING EELS!"
When we dry our tears from laughing, Mr Coffee tells me that we are going to music hell for making fun of a Jr. High Orchestra. No Joshua Bell in that place. Hell or the school auditorium. I would assume orchestra hell is just a giant elevator with piped in muzak. Muskrat Love. Or Lady Gaga's Poker Face.
muh, muh, muh, mah....
Mr Coffee and I said our goodbyes and I steal off back into the gym to catch the rest of the program. My daughter does a duet with another violinist. Shrieking eels or not, I couldn't be more proud of her.
And for the record, my orchestra student can so kick your orchestra students cello thingie.
~Bee is listening to One Republic's All The Right Moves