Friday, November 06, 2009

The Color Of My Parachute

I have a Friday once a month which is kind of an ideal day for me. I mean, it's not always an unmixed delight--sometimes I'm crabby and pouting like on other days. But the day is set up the way I'd like days to be all the time. Today was one of those Fridays.

It began with an adorable almost-5-year-old throwing her Disney princess slippers at my head. Wait: rewind. That actually did happen, but that's not part of the ideal day. I ended up face down on my bed squeezing a couple tears into my pillow because of the aforementioned slippers, a tantrum culminating in "I don't care for you!" and a silly spat with my better half. But then the latter saw my distress and managed to get the former dressed and out the door.

I had breakfast and read the paper in complete silence. I have long believed this to be the only civilized way to begin a day, and in my current lifestyle, it's not that practical. But sometimes I make it happen. Then I stood under some hot water for a while while I did some thinking, which I do well under hot water. What should they write about? Oh, I know. How about a time they told a big, fat lie and what the consequences were? Yeah. That'd be good.

Soon, I was in the car, belting out "Bohemian Rhapsody" and soaring up the 15. I teach a writing workshop to retired UCSD administrators, and the students host in their homes. Today's host makes really excellent coffee, and told me she buys Hazelnut creamer because she knows I like it. So sweet! She had also made brownies. With peanut butter chips. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Her kitchen table and chairs are capacious and comfy. While waiting for others to arrive, I gazed dreamily out her sliding glass door at a veritable aviary of lovely little birds diving in and out of a city of feeders. I love watching birds. If only the bird feeder at our house wasn't like a welcome mat for mice.

In the workshop, I get to feel smart. And useful. And appreciated. I get to read people's fascinating life stories and ask questions about them. And best of all, I get to make jokes to a captive audience. And then they PAY me. Am I a lucky girl or what? Today most of my callbacks (that's joke talk for "returning to the scene of the joke crime on one or more occasions") revolved around a former student who--though this is the first I've heard of it--apparently left us a couple months back because I insulted her.

Readers, I confess: I insult my students all the time. Not on purpose. I just have a mouth that travels a little ahead of my brain. I am always sincerely remorseful, and seek to make amends immediately. But today I was flummoxed. Because you know what I did this time? I called her a lesbian. Allegedly. None of the other students have any recollection of this smackdown, and I don't, either. For one thing, her husband drives her to all the meetings. More to the point, that's not even my idea of an insult. Maybe I said "Back in high school, you were a thespian!" or somesuch. I really have no idea. But you better believe I handled the issue with the utmost sensitivity, making jokes about it for the next two hours.

Then to school, and lots of "hellos" and "how are yous?" with the crowd of Friday afternoon parents, the one day when we're all picking up at the same time. A moment of reflection to realize how many people I know now, after three years. There was a time when I wondered if I'd ever get to know anyone. Jarrah was cheery, and gave me a big hug, and one of her teachers gave her (ergo, me) a lovely compliment, all the sweeter for being totally unsolicited. She said that Jarrah is a great friend, very generous and loving with the other kids. Being a good friend is important to me, so if I've had any part in encouraging these tendencies, that makes me happy.

Fridays are park days. A bunch of preschool moms (and one delightful dad) go every week, and cluster our blankets on the grass while the kids go on safari, climbing hills and running for miles across the wide, wide grass. Then Jarrah and I head home for a brief rest, which usually includes Sponge Bob and a bowl of strawberries "with brown shuh-guh." I change into my dance clothes and pack up my duffel and my music.

Then David comes home--early on Fridays--and I head out again. Time to teach my Nia class. Nearly every week, I am dragging a bit as I drive, thinking "Oh, I'm too tired to do this today." And every week, after I've punched my time card and shoved my stuff in a locker and walked into the dim, cool, quiet studio, I think: "Was I on crack before? This is the best job in the world. They pay me to do this?"

That's the truth. I get to play music really loud and dance around like an idiot for an hour and 15 minutes, and whenever I make a move, everyone tries to copy it. It makes me feel like the head chorus girl in a 1940s musical! Or a Broadway show! It's such a rush.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, these are the ideal days because I am doing something I love with my mind AND my body, and on top of that, there are people appreciating both. Because I don't really like to do anything without sharing it with other people. And in between is a sweet outing with my daughter in which we both enjoy ourselves without spending a cent.

And that's the kind of day I'd like to have every day. The only thing that would make it even more sublime would be appearing in a show in the evening (and that will happen soon.) That really takes it over the top, when it comes to the perfect day.


Suzy said...

Beauty in the simplicity of life. I love it! Loved hearing about your China adventures today....sorry I left without saying goodbye. Once I miraculously wrangled my son from the rabbit hole, I had to take advantage of the opportunity and head out quickly. See you soon!

Sam said...

@Suzy: It was great hanging out with you! I could get used to these birthday party weekends. ;)

Anonymous said...

One hopes J. Dust will not start wearing Doc Marten's anytime soon . . .


Prosy said...

I do my best thinking in the shower...this post was very relaxing for some reason, but I got kind of distracted at the mention of brownies with peanut butter chips.

Marlene said...

I'd buy you hazelnut creamer too. You deserve it.

Aunt LoLo said...

Oooh....I offend people all the time, too. I actually had a dream about it the other night. But it's ok, because the cute guy (who represented Seattle) still wanted to see me.

We should start a support group!