Last week of rehearsal before Hell Week. And I'm already feeling nostalgic for something that's not over. A few days ago, our music director cut through the arrival hub-bub by plunking out the first few notes of "525,600 Minutes." Not only did a hush fall as thickly as snow, 40-odd voices rose with instant recognition: "How do you measure a year in the life?" It was the most beautiful, spontaneous thing, and one of those moments of sheer perfection that remind me there are others as sentimental about musical theater as I am.
I'm probably a little tired or stressed or something, though. A few days ago, I got this hive-y rash all over my arms and legs that itches like the dickens. I mean, so bad that I couldn't sleep through it. I went to the doctor and aside from saying "Any new stress?" he wasn't much interested. Told me to buy some Claritin. I didn't. It's getting better anyway.
Today we went with the Daisies to tour the El Cajon Police Station. It's brand new and gorgeous, filled with sunny workout rooms and terraces overlooking the mountains. But I actually got a bit scared when they took us into the jail. That gate clanging shut behind us. The big shower by the door which they said is used to rinse off pepper spray. And this great big wand on a hook--"Anyone know what this is?" our friendly Captain Tour Guide asked. "A taser!" I shouted. "A metal detector." Oh. And then the long bench inside with cuffs attached to the back of it, for check-in. "Sit down," he pretend-snarled. "Wanna know what it's like to be in jail?" Um, no, Officer, now that you mention it. No, thanks.
Then he took us to the cells. First he checked with a plainclothes detective: "Got a body coming through?" Yipes. A body. He guided pairs of girls into the plain white cells and shut the doors, showing us how if you're really naughty you get your food through the little mail slot half-way down. The cells almost threw me into a panic attack. They are really small, with just a hard bench, a metal toilet and a concrete floor. No windows. I am severely claustrophobic and if I'd been inclined towards a life of crime, the sight of that cell alone would have deterred me.
Jarrah was eager to ask the most important question, in her opinion: "What do you feed the prisoners?" Happy Meals, as it turns out. "With the toy?" she pressed. She's a hard-nosed investigator, that one. But her question was not the most fabulous of the day. That prize would go to the little girl who had been examining the orange outlines in the bullet-proof indoor shooting range.
"So, they just ask the bad guys to stand in front of these?" she asked, casual as a summer breeze. I snort-laughed into my arm but not before the girl's mom heard me. I think she was laughing, too. Priceless.