Sunday, November 23, 2014

how many dancing santas will this stage hold?

I'm sitting on a bus at 7:15 on this cold Sunday morning and listening to a woman older than me. She has a shiny blond pageboy haircut sprayed into frozen waves and lots of plastered on foundation two shades darker than her real face color. She laughs too much.

I zone out her prattle and wonder what she looks like first thing in the morning. That blond hair would be matted to her scalp and there would be smeared mascara on her pasty cheeks.  She looks like she requires a lotta time to get ready.

 I am traveling through frozen Wisconsin cornfields to a dinner theatre. I am with my 85-year-old aunt and she has small wads of toilet paper in her ears. This is her first winter in the Midwest after thirty years of living in a small trailer in Arizona.

I am not like these women. I don't wear garish holiday sweaters. Lipstick is my only cosmetic, very European and I do this because my natural lip color is fading and soon my mouth will be a small black hole at the bottom of my face. I don't need to wear four rings on each hand or designer jeans imbedded with shiny enormous rhinestones glued to my butt.

The chatter is constant and loud, these women do not need to come up for air. They have mastered the art of conversation without the use of oxygen. I am not one for endless loops of words. I may resort to the toilet paper in the ear thing.

She gives us Christmas quizzes on red and green paper. I refuse to circle any answers. The only thing more humiliating than taking this test is exhibiting enough interest to answer the questions. I stare straight ahead at Blondie's doughy face as she spits into the microphone. Her cheeks wiggle and wobble when she talks.

At the all you can eat buffet I watch the girls downing Bloody Marys and drinks with large umbrellas, I'm guessing six inches in diameter. I decide to treat myself and order a diet Coke. It comes in a 32 ounce glass and I need both hands to lift it up to my disappearing mouth. "And the best part,"chirps the red-cheeked waitress, "is it comes with free refills!" That will not be happening as I do not like peeing on a moving bus.

I am sitting in the dark theatre and audience members surround all four sides. We are all old and there are dozens of walking assisted devices taking up space in the aisles threatening to trip us and create more walking disasters. I can hear several people snoring and the farm wives behind me talk and laugh no matter how many dirty looks I give them. They think they are in their living room watching TV.

The actors are singing and whirling around the small stage. They are fresh-faced, sparkly lads and lasses with unbelievable skin and teeth.  Was I ever that young? Did I sparkle?  My friend Sandy's son is a famous symphony orchestra trumpet player and he says they're all on coke. He has played for many dinner theatres: two shows a day, they skip meals and snort coke to stay thin and alert. They do have a lot of energy and these shiny creatures seem to vibrate and twinkle and glow from within. There are four children in the program and I am hoping they were not given coke and I'm especially concerned about one lively little girl.

Back on the bus the chatter is louder fueled by those large colorful drinks. I just want to curl into a ball and have soft tropical breezes kiss my fevered brow. I will not talk for the next four days, I swear, tired little introvert that I am.


Dan said...

Went to a symphony in our small town this afternoon. When I woke up I thought I was in an ocean of white caps. When the music was over the orchestra rose and truly looked sorry. As recently as 30 years ago the audience would simply all have been dead. What IS the frigging point!!

Arizaphale said...

As a former theatrical performer I can assure you that we did not indulge in cocaine, although there was a lot of swearing and bacardi and cokes.
As a proponent of theatre restaurant I extend my sympathies to your assaulted, introvert senses....