What a strange and diverse weekend I’ve just experienced. Saturday brought my first ever Little-Girl-Dance-Recital, revisions, revisions, revisions, sock folding, and a youth basketball game. On Sunday, there was a big breakfast, some football, more revising, the first of many Christmas gatherings (this one with the out-of-towner in-laws), and initial prep for the Big Day next Sunday.
Oh, and it was trash day, too. If that matters to you.
For the record, all that revising means I completed revision pass 2 of The Novel on Sunday. It might not be ready for the great big world of submissions yet, but I think I am ready to get some cold, hard, feedback from other people.
Yes, I did say, "Little Girl Dance Recital." More specifically, Saturday morning, the Princess Puddinette twirl, hopped, and I think even plie-d in her dance school’s (is that what you call them?) Christmas show.
In all honesty, I was not particularly looking forward to it.
As much as that probably makes me some kind of ogre – I mean, who wouldn’t be ecstatic at their little girl’s first recital? – I swear it’s not my fault. It’s just that the whole thing is, or, well, was, completely foreign to me.
I had only one sister growing up, and she’s six years younger than I am. So by the time she had dance events, I was in my teens and roaming the world freely with a driver’s license and disdain for anything even potentially culturally significant. As a 16 year-old my worldview could basically have been boiled to: Fart jokes? Yay! Dancing? Lame!
Thus, I was either completely ignorant of or willfully dismissive of whatever types of choreographic activities my sister might have participated in.
I suppose that makes me some kind of heel. What can I say? I certainly wasn’t the only teenage cretin around in The Day.
Having no experience with the whole thing, then, I couldn’t help but view the upcoming show with anything but trepidation. I mean, we’re talking about a perfectly good Saturday afternoon here, spent watching little girls bounce around a stage to Bing Crosby’s "White Christmas"; the very picture of utter chaos.
And let’s be honest, even as an adult, I’m still not the type of guy to sit watching professional dancers do their thing. In fact, I’d probably rather have knitting needles buried under my fingers, one at a time. I know there’s art in there and I should, I don’t know, learn to appreciate the creativity, expression, form, etc, etc. But I’m still a teenage cretin at heart.
The only difference between now and then is that as an adult I realize the reason I don’t get into this stuff isn’t about the dancing, the dancers, the production, whatever. It’s about me. In other words, it’s not lame, I’m lame.
Still, that understanding didn’t help me view the potential for the Christmas show favorably. I full expected that when I sat down in the small auditorium, the lights would drop and time would stretch out before me like I was approaching the singularity of a black hole. Ninety minutes of watching little girls prance their way through Jingle Bells, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Frosty the Snowman would drag on and on until, when I finally stepped away, blinking into daylight for the first time in decades, I’d be ready to retire and move to Florida.
And perhaps even a little peckish.
But here’s the thing: my fears and inclinations about the whole thing were not only absolutely Cro-Magnon, but they were also completely wrong.
It turns out, the show was, well, kind of enjoyable. Sure, not everyone on stage was the next Barishnikov or what’s-her-name*, but the show’s participants ranged from the just-beginning to the obviously dedicated. There were parts that were fun and parts that were funny (sometimes unintentionally), parts that were well done and some that were even, um, sort of, uh, moving.
Do I want to spend every Saturday afternoon this way? Sweet crispy rice treats, man, no. The lure of a bucket of chicken wings and college football will never diminish. But I guess there are worse things than taking an hour and a half as Christmas approaches to watch one’s little girl grow up, on stage, right before your very eyes.
*Yeah, I got no idea. I would’ve used one of those "Dancing with the Stars" chicks, but I don’t know them, either.