Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I've noticed a couple of things about myself recently, not all of which are particularly pleasant. Back when I lived in the Fast Lane, I used to love to share little tidbits of news with a select group of friends who knew of and/or cared about my end of the business.

I guess my recent brush with actual money from an actual job must have gone to my head, because I found myself dropping just that sort of information again -- triggered perhaps by the fact that the Goat has decided that if I won't toot my own horn, he'll toot it for me, which is a decidedly mixed blessing.

Anyway, there I was, expatiating on some little news item that only held interest for someone interested in the decidedly unglamorous neck of the woods I am now in, professionally, and to people who knew just enough to make an occasional comment, but who might have been less than completely interested.

What was I doing?

Am I really that desperate to be on the inside, to move with the "in" crowd? I am afraid I am. I had hoped that I had buried all of that along with my so-called "career." It turns out it is as undead as Dracula, and came rocketing out of the grave at the first sign of an actual connection... Oh, well.

Last weekend was graduation weekend, and my first appearance as a semi-official Faculty Wife. The Goat was on his best behavior, considering that he had endless report-writing to do, and I did my best to be unobtrusive in a Very Small Space, not a talent I have cultivated with much success so far.

Friday night, we went to the spring musical [rather oddly, it was a show I had performed in myself some thirty-five years ago]. The enthusiasm and the talent of the young people was captivating. The kids made the worst bits seem marvelous. Was our production as good as this one? I think it was.

There was the occasional dull or painful stretch, so I had some time to think about what makes amateur productions wonderful, and what makes them ghastly.

What made this one ghastly were the things the teachers had inflicted on the poor show: weird casting [non-singers in major singing roles], and endless, repetitive intrusive choreography, where it would have been very pleasant just to be able sit and listen to some of the songs. At least it would have been, if the band [especially the drums] hadn't drowned out most of the people singing on their own... It seems to me that it would have been so easy to have attempted less, and done it with more grace. Some of the scene changes took as long as the scenes they separated [a cardinal sin in my book] -- and no one had tried to set a tone or a style for the cast to conform to.

Was our production as bad as this one ? It probably was.
Why can't people leave well enough alone?

Well, the music was wonderful back then, it remains wonderful now, and the kids put it over the top, as I guess we did then. Thank God for youthful enthusiasm.

Saturday meant dorm clean-up, from which I was excused, and was glad to be. Even after the Goat came home, there was a constant stream of kids looking for signatures to close out the year and pave the way, in many cases, for actually getting the diploma their parents had paid so much for.

Then Sunday morning, the main event: orchestra, chorus, grand entrance of the faculty in full academic drag and the graduating seniors in lesser academic drag, but with some inventive variations. A mercifully short program, featuring unmercifully long speeches by both the One Called Headmaster and the invited speaker, someone smart enough to have seen -- or so I would have thought -- that a little judicious pruning would have made her speech actually memorable as well as merciful. Well, the kids had invited her, and they got what they asked for: uplift. Just several minutes more of it than they had bargained for...

Am I getting cranky in my old age?
I'm certainly getting crankier, whether it's age or not...

Then the dining hall recovered from the glory of the dinner the night before by presenting a choice of unappetizing sandwiches, there were many tears and hugs all around, and it was all over. The Goat returned to turning out reports, a process I am glad to say I do not have to undertake, as I would surely drop all pretense after the first hour or so and start telling parents what their kids were really up to. The Goat is more of a diplomat than that...

Another weekend of stress and deadlines, another weekend of not much time for me [and why had I come, anyway, knowing that this was bound to be a repeat of last week, minus the romantic competition?]. The high point was a lecture I got the morning I got up to go, on how much noise I made during the night, how much I twitched and jerked, and an exact count of how many times I had woken him up. Not the send-off I had been hoping for, especially after another action-free evening the night before.

Why did I go? It certainly wasn't because I enjoy being exposed and paraded as the Latest of the Goat's Squeezes, or because I needed to go to graduation, or because I really needed to see one more high-school musical. No, I wanted to be there for him, but it seems doing so did not have an entirely positive effect on the local wildlife. My face was tired from all the social smiling -- mostly I suffered from the fact that it was such a huge event for everyone but me, everyone was very emotional about saying goodbye to everyone but me, and generally I felt like I didn't belong there.

Well, I guess if I'm moving out to the Big Woods, I had better get used to it. But it is a bit of a downer nonetheless. Maybe once I know all the players, or have gotten to know some of the kids as people, it will all feel less daunting and less distanced. As it was, I felt Very Uninvolved, and Very Old. The Goat doesn't. But then, he is seventeen at heart anyway. It never ceases to amaze me, given how superficially similar our stories are, how far apart the actual experiences are.

We watched a great movie Saturday night, though. A great gay movie, something I had begun to despair of ever finding:

Boy Culture [2006].

A credible and well-written story, real characters, and professionally put together. It's also fun to watch. A real find, as far as I'm concerned, and almost enough reason not to think that the director has a problem because he calls himself "Q. Allan Brocka." [Q? What's that about? Is he being played by Judy Dench these days?] Anyway, it definitely goes on our Top Ten list of movies both the Goat and I are willing to watch -- there's not much overlap, actually...

He fell asleep during my all-time favorite...

Hang in there, all.

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