Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You'll never catch me I'm the gingerbread....slave?

"I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once"
Jennifer Unlimited

It is the end of the year and we are heading to summer vacation. So my weeks have been pretty full with meetings and planning. I have to get things set for next year AND at the same time figure out what I am going to do with the herd for twelve weeks this summer. Twelve very long weeks. Eighty four days. Two thousand and sixteen hours. As you can see, I have been dreading giving it quite a bit of thought. But, I try and pace myself. I figure that I'll think of something when the time comes. But for now, I'm just busy trying to do all the things that the end of the school year requires me to do. One of those things is seeing my kids perform in various school plays.

Musical performances at my children's school are a wonder to behold-and I don't mean that in a good way. (If you are new to my blog, I have written about my children's music teacher here and here. ) Last Thursday, Oscar was performing in the third grade dirge production. I'm not quite sure what the title was, but it had to do with paintings and..well..slavery. I don't know, but those two topics just don't scream "Musical!" to me..But hey, I can be jaded and cynical..I know that..So I cast aside my doubts and went with an open mind.

I did have some scheduling conflicts on that particular day. I don't know if it was self preservation or choosing the lesser of two evils-but I had scheduled a two and a half hour dental appointment for that morning. Totally forgetting about Oscar's concert. Thankfully,(or not) I was done with the dentist in just enough time to make it to Oscar's performance. This was the first time he had ever asked me to be there. "Mama! Will you come see me on stage?" "Mama!!!! This is the first time I'll be on stage!" "Mama!! I get to wear a cape!" "Mama!!! Will you be there?" How could I miss it?

As I walked in to the multi-purpose room (feeling as though the right side of my face was six feet long and draped upon my shoulder) Oscar called out to me-from the stage. He is still young enough to not be embarrassed by me. "Mama!..You're here!!!" I waved..he hopped....and kept hopping for a good ten minutes. I hope he is always as thrilled to see me-even when he is older and is too cool to outwardly acknowledge it. I stayed in the back of the room. I have trouble sitting still and always feel more comfortable standing. It also gives me the option of escaping leaving quietly if the need should arise. I had Zoe with me, and she doesn't like crowds. (Although she did dress for the occasion in a purple boa and sunglasses.) So I thought it best that I stand by the door.

Before I go on...I have to explain something. I had just come from the dentist-a place that gives me horrendous anxiety. My anxiety is so palpable that the dentist prescribed Valium for me. So when I arrived at the performance...the Valium was in full effect. Thank god.

Because I was standing in the back, I did not have a program for the show. I did not know the titles of any of the vignettes being performed. So I'll just give you a brief synopsis of what went on. The first scene featured a group of children with white pillowcases miming picking cotton while everyone sang "Swing Low Sweet Chariot". Far be it from me to criticise..but does anyone else see the sheer weirdness of this? White children (there were only two kids of mixed ethnicity in the entire show-one was Oscar) re-enacting slavery? Yes, teaching about that sad chapter in our nations history is important-but this..this was bizarre. Oh and it only got worse..The next vignette featured children posing like(I think) the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware. Each child (it felt as though there were thousands) stepped up to a microphone and in crystal clear monotone mumbled.. something-couldn't begin to tell you what-only that it went on for what seemed like an eternity. I for one, was ready to start collecting social security by the end of it...Next was the Native American story..or what I fondly call "Riot at the Thorazine Clinic "in which one boy whispered about being happy and joyful (again in monotone) while a bunch of kids shuffle"dance" around him. Oh what a time we had. I could just imagine the N.Y. Times review "Exhausting!" writes Leonard Malton "A treat for the comatose!" It was truly that awful. I didn't think it could get any worse..until we got to the story of the runaway slave. Once again we have a child (wearing overalls with the prerequisite one strap hanging off) skulking about the stage attempting to get to the underground railroad. This would have been fine until they brought out the "captured slaves". Yes, while our hero is hiding, he watches people march by with two captured "slaves" between them. Only they weren't people..(yes, I understand that they weren't going to tie some kids up) instead, they were what appeared to be giant life sized gingerbread men with ropes around their necks. Only without the icing. At this point, I had had it. Gingerbread men!!! I was shaking trying to contain my laughter..tears were leaking out my eyes..and what was worse was that I was the only one reacting this way. Was it the Valium? Or was it just me? I did notice though, that when the lights came up, people seemed overly eager to get out of there.
When Oscar came home later, he asked if I had seen him. I said " Uhh.. you waved at me remember?" "Oh that's right.." "So Oscar, you have done a lot of work learning about slavery.." "Slavery?" "Yeah bud..isn't that what your show was mainly about?" "Oh....did you see the gingerbread men?" it wasn't just me. Sigh... Only three weeks till the next "concert" Sammy will be performing in his last concert at this school. On to middle school for him. And hopefully a different music teacher. I'm just wondering if I can somehow manage a dental appointment that morning?


Kim Wombles said...

"flyin" is the capture. how funny. :-)

Rick's and my faces are aching from laughing and grinning. I wish I could have been there; we'd have been escorted out of there! :-)

Chelli said...

Hahaha! I would never have made it through! Sounds like a great music teacher you have there. The school musical is one thing that I am really thankful Noah is too young for. At least I have a couple years yet!

Jen said...

I would love to see a recording of this, I would be able to laugh out hidden behind my computer screen:D I don't think it was your valium!! Jen.

kathleen said... escort would have been neccessary had we been there together..
Hi Chelli-thankfully the music teacher is retiring..the sad thing is..well people say her shows used to be really good..guess she lost ALL of her steam in the last five years. HEEHEE-Noah will be doing these sooner than you think..:)
Hi Jen..You know I wish I could have at least gotten the gingerbread..err..slaves on film..You know when you think you have seen it all-that you think it can't get any worse? That is exactly how it was when they carried them across the stage..It has to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen..I think the valium helped me to keep my laughter in check..yay valium!

Club 166 said...

This is SOOOO funny. Not sure if I would have been more offended or laughing if I was there, but your telling of the tale is hilarious.


jazzygal said...

So funny KATHLEEN!! I can just imagine it! And it says it all when you, with your dentist anxiety, are considering arranging a dental appointment for the next concert!!

I too have a bit of anxiety, especially around extractions, and have been given Valium too! xx Jazzy

kathleen said...

Hi Joe-thanks. :) I have decided to look at this as "good intentions gone bad" How could anyone not laugh at life sized gingerbread men in bondage?

Hi Jazzy-Valium changes everything...and although I would never suggest regular use-it sure did come in handy for this..and umm..yeah-gonna go to the dentist before the next one..heehee..

Alan Brophy said...

Very very funny post, love the use of cross-outs. Will pop in again for a read now and then, cheers.

Kim Wombles said...

Still one of my favorites! :-)

Sarah said...

Hee. I have new appreciation for what my parents endured on my behalf. And I now know what I have to look forward to in just a few years.

I am always finding myself in these situations — in which I look around the room and wonder why nobody else realizes how ridiculous this is.

Hilarious and so well written. Thank you!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

So funny :) Just the laugh I needed this evening x

jazzygal said...

hahaha...thanks for the laugh 2nd time around!!

xx Jazzy

Lynn said...

Well if the school is mostly white kids I suppose the only alternative to them pretending to be black is for them to wear black face...probably the only thing that could have made this "musical" worse!

life in a pink fibro said...

I'm impressed you managed to get through it! Clearly the valium is a great boon in these times. Gingerbread men???

Floortime Lite Mama said...

OMG this was AMAZING
I just read the whole thing out to me DH and guffawed thru it with tears rolling down my eyes

Loz said...

My kids range in age from 17 to 26 now but I wish I'd thought of the dentist visits and valium at times too :)
PS - I'm over from Blog Gems

@jencull (jen) said...

I have read this before and I am still sitting here doing that half choking/half laughing trying to keep it in because I don't want to have to explain to my 8 yo why I am laughing!! Jen