Friday, May 19, 2006

Embarrassing Your Kids 101

I don’t know about you, but one of my greatest pleasures in life is laughing -- at my own self. I enjoy doing or saying asinine things around my children (or Lar, or random folks) and laughing, laughing, laughing while everyone else just stares in horror.

What is it about making others feel uncomfortable that thrills me so? It really is one of the great mysteries of the universe.

Anyway, last night I, along with my friend, Bambi Jo (not her real name), attended our kids’ school chorus recital, and zowie, what a fine night it was. The brand new cafitorium was packed to the rafters, the principal was there, nervously skulking about and rubbing his hands, making sure everything was running smoothly, the stage lights, many of which were not facing the stage, were intermittently blinding me between spurts of complete darkness (I believe a fourth grader may have been in charge of lighting -- either that or a totally drunk adult), and there were two special guests who performed alongside the fourth grade chamber ensemble, one an accomplished harpsichordist who performs worldwide, and the other an accomplished classical guitarist who also instructs at Eastman School of Music. Bambi Jo and I were very impressed with the special guests, and the both of us became enamored of the harpsichord, which we’d never experienced live before. We are now discussing buying a harpsichord and putting it in our adjoining backyards -- she’ll play while I dance on top. But I digress.

After the string concert, it was time for our kids to strut their stuff, and I excitedly searched the crowded stage for my girl, which was difficult, as I am blind as a decapitated bat, yet I skimmed the blurry mass of humanity for any sign of a formal pink dress and funky up-do, stage lights boring holes into my corneas. No Ariel. I looked and looked, Bambi Jo looked and looked, but no sign of my girl. As is the norm, I then began to worry, began imagining horrible things, like what if Ariel slipped and broke her back, and they whisked her off to Emergency? What if some filthy pig kidnapped her and is now eighty miles long gone in his filthy pickup to a filthy pig town full of filthy pigs? What if she disappeared into a wormhole of some sort, and is now halfway across the galaxy?

Then, thankfully, just as my heart was about to explode with grief, Bambi Jo finally pointed to the opposite side of the enormous stage: “There she is!”

Ah. Ariel had said she would be by the piano, and much my chagrin, realized she meant the piano piano, not the harpsichord. As I mentioned, neither I nor Bambi Jo had ever experienced a live harpsichord, so we, of course, had no idea what the hell. No wonder the “piano” was unusually ornate and all Mozart-y. In our defense, however, the actual piano piano was ground-level and hidden by hundreds of large, fat heads, so… Okay, fine, so Bambi Jo and I aren’t the brightest bulbs. Whatever.

I could barely make Ariel out amongst the fat heads and blinding stage lights, and our seats were far, far away from where she expected us to be, so now I worried that my daughter would think I’d left the recital in search of booze or something. I did the only thing I possibly could do to ensure my girl wouldn’t feel abandoned -- I stood up just as the chorus was about to begin and frantically waved my hands. I quickly sat down, a bit embarrassed yet feeling the old giddy goodness of being a spectacle, but for fear my daughter had missed my frantic waving, felt compelled to again stand and not only wave frantically, but give her the peace sign. The peace sign? Even I realize how completely stupid that must’ve looked. Regardless, my girl did see me, as evidenced by her look of pure disdain and short “ohmygod, sit down!” gesture

But just to make double sure, at the end of the first song, I stood yet again and screeched my approval, pumped my fist like an ass, hooted, hollered, did the requisite rock & roll “devil horns“ sign.

I knew I was humiliating my daughter. I knew I was being bad. But I couldn’t stop.

I did not care if I was bothering those around me, did not care if Bambi Jo wanted to crawl into a deep hole, never to return. I was manic with glee, overjoyed, shaking with self-appreciation and lusty laughter. Oh, it was good. So good, so right.

I continued on with my appalling behavior until the very last song, and I do not regret it one bit. Why, even Bambi Jo came around and laughed in spite of herself. My daughter triumphed over the sick sensation of having her mother lose her mind in public, and actually thanked me for being her biggest fan, said I was cool. Her friends thought I was cool.

I am cool.

As sung by Mrs. Baldwin’s Fourth Grade Chorus:

Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
when you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.
(doodly doodly doo doo waa)


At 12:04 PM, Blogger Redneck Nerdboy! said...

Don't try to fight it Lorigirl. 'Tis only the Redneck inside you trying desperately to surface! Rednecks thrive on making others feel unsafe and awkward. Welcome to the club, enjoy the RC Cola and Moonpies by the wall!

By the way, "...hidden by hundreds of large, fat heads..." had me rolling!

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Alice said...

My lack of tact tends to make people feel unsafe and awkward, R-N; does that make me a redneck?

Oh go on. You know it does.


My mother was always very good when it came to being in the audience of whatever I was in (I was in a lot) - something I was always thankful for.

But you know, I never appreciated just how restrained she was being until I went to see her in her first concert sat in the viola section of an orchestra and it took all of my strength not to add calling out and jumping up and down to my proud as punch and already over the top "THERE! I SEE HER! THERE SHE IS! CAN SHE SEE ME? I'LL WAVE HARDER SO SHE CAN SEE ME!" waving I was doing.

My mother, on her part, looked mortified. But she too, like your daughter, thanked her number 1 fan afterwards.

And apologised for the 'I hope you DIE' look she gave me when I clapped once during movements.


By the way;

"Alice, I approve of killing both earwigs and wasps. They do not dance."

NOOOOOO! Earwigs are cool! They've got a cute little pincer thing on their rear and they DO dance. I've seen them. They do this twirling around thing.

No earwig bashing.

Wasp bashing; cool.

Earwig bashing - NO!

At 12:40 PM, Blogger e-blackadder said...

Lol, you'ld fit in JUST fine with a hotel full of horror writers and horror fans... :D

At 12:49 PM, Blogger David Niall Wilson said...

We cause that kind of sensation just by attending things at our kids' school. They attend a private Christian thing...very odd at times, but an accelerated, college-bound education without the threat of drug dealers and violent attacks makes it seem a small price. Our kids are mannered, for the most part charming, and anyway...I digress.

While the KIDS are charming and mannered, I I am over six feet tall, long hair, long goatee, WAY too many tattoos (though I usually claim to have but one - with several blank spots still to be filled in). We don't attend their church, or any church...though I'm an ordained minister...and we get looks, stares, glares, and outright death-rays from many of the uppity, stuffed-shirt members of the school faculty, as well as other parents, every time we show up.

My mom was always quiet at concerts (I was in band and orchestra) but I KNOW she wanted to do hula dances and's just...well, MY mom hula dancing would not be pretty (lol)


At 12:50 PM, Blogger Alena said...

Haha... that's great. :)

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

I wish you had been my mother! My mother embarrassed me by being too drunk or high to remember to make me lunch, then came dashing across the playground with a McDonalds bag...causing the kids to stare even more than they already did because I could use the word "lugubrious" in the fourth grade.

Oh that sounds so dark.

We get along now. She's very sober :)

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Redneck Nerdboy! said...

Alice - there are rednecks in every corner of this world. You, my gal, are a redneck and may the Goddess love you for it!

At 1:22 AM, Blogger keef said...

You are so fucking awesome. I heart you.

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Amethyst Rising said...

Love that!
My mother tried to instill in us her family values of not calling attention to your self, even if you are on fire... So I turned out to be a disappointment - I love to do things just for the pure shock value!

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Professor said...

Coming from long line of inappropriate attention seekers- I so get it! GO YOU!

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Jas, I wear overalls, too. Pass the Moonpies!

Alice, you're adorable. But earwigs must die.

Blackadder, ya think? ;-) ;-) ;-)

David, next time I'm wearing a hula skirt -- and blaming it on YOU!

Alena, glad you liked!

Jordan, hey, at least you got McDonalds. I'll never forget the moldy PB & J my mother packed for me one day -- from then on, I packed my own lunch, dammit. ;-)

Keef, (((HUG)))

Welcome, Amethyst Rising! You sound like my kind of human.

Hey Professor, thanks! As I said to David, the hula skirt is next on my agenda. My poor, poor kids...

At 7:40 PM, Blogger RobinSlick said...

If it's any consolation, I continue to humiliate my kids every day. I need to take Julie shopping tomorrow for her up-coming tour and I had to promise her ten times I'm not going to tell any clerk in any store why we're shopping for dresses.

I lied, of course. The first salesgirl who asks me what the dresses are for is going to get the entire story...

And you'll love this. I did the devil horns at my son's last concert only I did them wrong and he saw. For some reason, I find it impossible to get my fingers in that position naturally and I insist on using my thumb and pinky. Anyway, that was both of our humiliation that night as I realized I was doing it wrong right away -- as soon as I saw the kids snickering to the left of me and the appalled look on Eric's face.

Anyway, hilarious post as usual, Lori. You always make me want to write you a mini-series back. Sorry!


At 12:15 PM, Blogger Katie said...

You are SO cool! Rock on, Ms. Lori!!

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Robin, I, too, become confused while performing the devil horn. In fact, I wanted to check just to make sure my fingers were not betraying me, but felt self-conscious that someone would see me check, so quickly averted my eyes and hoped for the best.

I would not have admitted that had you not just done so yourself. And now I feel like an ass. Thanks a lot, Ms. Slick!

Katie, no, YOU are the cool one (I still want to trade lives with you, even for one week). I'll bet *you* don't get confused while doing the devil horn, do you? ;-)


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