29 Jun 2011

Come Dancing — It’s Only Natural (To Be Humiliated).

Written by sally @ 3:16 pm — Section: sally

From Kindergarten through fourth grade, I was always in the school talent show. I would essentially just do the jazz routine I had learned in dance class as my audition and I was let in. (Now is also the time to tell you that my first career aspiration was to be a tap dancer on Broadway.) In 5th grade, with the swagger associated with a talent show veteran, I didn’t bother to review my jazz dance the night before the audition. I was a pro! I had not only been in tap, jazz, and ballet for the past 5 years, but my mom was president of the PTA and there was no way I wouldn’t make it past the audition process. Except about 30 seconds into my routine, which I performed to the Steve Miller song “Abracadabra,” I realized I did not, in fact, have a routine, and thus, just did a series of jazz moves over and over. I remember a lot of spinning, clapping, and running about the stage while wearing a leotard. Also, you may not be aware of the fact that “Abracadabra” goes on for at least one thousand hours. Unsurprisingly, I did not make it into the talent show, which was awesome because I was spared having to dance in front of my entire school to a song that includes the lyric “black panties with an angel’s face.” To this day — this literal day, as it happened this morning — I can’t hear “Abracadabra” without blushing.

I had to take four p.e. classes in college — yes, for an English degree — and so I took tap dance, social dance, folk dance, and modern dance. Tap dance was great, folk dance was fantastic, modern dance was gross because we were all barefoot, but social dance was taught by a lady who did not think it was funny when we screwed up the cha cha. Also she made us perform various dances in the student union in front of other humans. While I was doing the mambo in the union one day, concentrating on pressing my thigh into the thigh of my partner, we were talking about how there was actually a fairly low chance of anyone we knew seeing our humiliation. At that moment, I looked up and saw this cute guy from high school watching our dance performance from the second floor balcony. I thought, maybe he didn’t see me! but then he waved and shouted, HI SALLY! This kind of thing is why I am rarely seen outside of my home.

I was pretty serious about ballet from sixth through tenth grade and went multiple times a week to ballet class, where my teacher had a fake Russian accent and would pound out the beats with a wooden stick as she screamed ONE-two-three TWO-two-three THREE-two-three. In other words, it was fantastic. After barre work we moved to the floor, and occasionally we would do this horrible stretch that required us to lay on our stomachs, bend our knees, and put our feet together. Can you picture this? Then the teacher would come around and press down on our feet, which sucked. I will not put a lot of bells and whistles on what happened one day: reader, when my teacher pressed on my feet, I farted. And do you know what my teacher said? In her fake Russian accent? “I’m sorry, did I hurt you?” I laughed so hard out of embarrassment that I started crying. Then she kicked me out of class for the day for being disruptive, which was great because there’s no way I could’ve pulled off a decent √©chapp√© after that.

17 Jun 2011

Ten Things! I’m Rusty at This.

Written by sally @ 2:07 pm — Section: sally

1. I read Olive Kitteridge last weekend. Do you enjoy saddish stories held together by a brash, bossy lady? If so, you’ll love this book. That description doesn’t adequately tell you how much I enjoyed it, or how I wanted to underline every other sentence and then print them out and tape them to my office walls, only we are not allowed to use tape on the walls at work, but that is beside the point. The point is this: Olive + me = several ohmygodthat’smylife! moments.

2. If you want to know how it is to live in Jackson, Mississippi, here it is: the new Woody Allen movie is playing at one theater, once a day. At 1:00. The last Woody Allen movie (THE MOST HORRIBLE MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN) played at the planetarium at midnight. That about sums it up. We’ll give you access to some stuff, but only under our bizarre regulations.

3. The other day my coworker became obsessed with the memory of the McDonald’s fried pie — the old school fried pie, not the new baked pie. She read that the only McD’s to still have fried pies were the ones located in Wal-Marts or malls because of the equipment blah blah et cetera. So after I heard her typing in her office for awhile, I then heard her pick up the phone, dial, and ask someone, “Do you have any of those old fried pies from the 80s?” which made me laugh, as I imagined a giant storage container full of rotten, rancid, 20+ year old pies. The McDonald’s worker apparently thought so too because he said, “FROM THE 80S???” before she clarified, “Mister, are your pies fried or baked?” Maybe this story is only funny to me. I laughed aloud.

4. This afternoon as I was driving back to work from lunch there was a truck in front of me with many bumper stickers. They all had the word “liberal” in them but they were also all anti-liberal stickers. I thought this was an interesting way to go about professing your beliefs. Don’t promote the thing you like; promote the thing you hate. One was “Annoy a Liberal: Work Hard, Succeed, Be Happy.” This sticker doesn’t offend me, but it did make me wonder about what it is he thinks he’s against. Then I tried to think about what the accompanying Annoy a Conservative sticker would say, but then I thought that the very act of boiling something down to bumper sticker level AND incorrectly for humor’s sake was kind of hard, and then “You Sexy Thing” (by Hot Chocolate) came on the radio, and then I forgot about it.

5. God this is interesting

6. He may eat too many popsicles and wake me up by jumping onto my head, but my little child knows all the words to “Blackbird.” I’m teaching him “Norwegian Wood” now.

7. You will be disappointed to learn that I wussed out and did not mail the Sarah Vowell book to my dad.

8. I swear to God this is what everyone in high school looked like.

9. I’m not going to my high school reunion after all. I know. I’m missing out on many potentially awesome encounters with weirdos. There’s a work event the same weekend, and blah blah et cetera, anyway, I’m not going. Part of it is that I already know which jokers weigh 400 pounds and which ones married each other (SO MANY; IT’S WEIRD) and which ones still live in Garland (again, SO MANY). It really boils down to me wanting to see three people, all of whom I could just go have dinner with the next time I’m home. The only pang is that I will not see my very first little boyfriend from 10th grade, who has ONE photo on Facebook and never updates. But I’m relying on the magic of Facebook to rectify this and that everyone who does go will take 80 million photos and post them. My best friend from high school and I have decided to make a phone date to discuss the photos in detail, which is what we used to do when one of us would get a roll of film developed: get two sets made, then stay on the phone for 3 hours and discuss every individual dandruff* in each photo.

10. *I will give you a dollar if you can tell me what movie that’s from. Don’t cheat, Googlers.

8 Jun 2011

Gift Horse, Et Cetera.

Written by sally @ 3:31 pm — Section: sally

Buying gifts for my dad is always difficult. He buys every book he wants to read; he’s retired, so ties are out; his hobby is woodworking, and it’s really hard to find woodworking-related mugs/tshirts/bumper stickers/trinkets/tube socks these days. So as each holiday approaches, I kill myself trying to think of something cool, and then end up giving him an Amazon gift card…which is what he wants anyway. I have a moral objection to giving my parents what is essentially spending money, but whatever.

Besides the Amazon gift card, I got him a fleece thingie from Lands’ End and some other junk last Christmas. He’s into history (at least, I think he is — aren’t all dads into history and SEC football?) and even though he’s more of a Shelby Foote no-nonsense history person, I got him a Sarah Vowell book [that cost me one crisp dollar in a remainder bin]. I didn’t expect him to love it, but whatever, it was something to wrap up and remotely matched his interests.

So when he was making plans to come visit for Spike’s third birthday, we had this conversation:

Dad: Hey, I found some book in my study. I think you might have left it here when you were here for Christmas. It’s called The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell.
Me: (silence)
Dad: Is it yours?
Me: Mmmm….no.
Dad: Well, you can have it. I’ve just got no clue where it came from. I’ll bring it when I come.

Let’s see…it’s Christmastime and suddenly there are NEW THINGS IN YOUR HOUSE. Where on earth did they come from? Shit, we better call the police to report an unrobbery! Check behind the pillows: the perp could’ve left precious metals or rare maps.

I don’t know why I didn’t just say something then, but I didn’t. And so, The Wordy Shipmates came back to me, and again I heard all about the MYSTERY of the items MAGICALLY APPEARING in his house after the holiday where everyone gives each other presents.

I let him go on and on, and then I finally said, “I wasn’t going to say anything, but aaaaaaactually I gave you that for Christmas.” And my grandmother, who can usually be counted on for her stage reactions, was a champ who offered a series of sound effects and faces that registered her disappointment.

My dad didn’t even act embarrassed — like it was such a totally insane thing that he would read that book — which made me embarrassed and also made me write a mental note about what to include in the “gift giving” chapter of my etiquette book.

Father’s Day is coming up. You KNOW what I’m giving that man.

7 Jun 2011

Family Reunion.

Written by sally @ 11:17 am — Section: sally

Last Sunday Gorjus and I went to the Dairy Queen in South Jackson — as you do — and in front of us in the drive-thru line was a car with its door open. You know, standard window-don’t-roll-down-nomore style.

That’s a pretty newish car for the window to be jacked up, Gorjus said. What is that, a 95 or so?
Eh, it’s probably later than that. My Honda was a 99 and it was much boxier than that.
Did you say foxier?
No. Boxier.

The driver of the car with the malfunctioning window got out of her car to retrieve her dipped cone.

God, what is she, 100 years old?

And it was! She’s my grandmother’s sister. I only had a moment to decide if I wanted to say hi, and maneuvering cars was going to be tricky.

You want me to pull up next to her? Gorjus asked.
Nah. She’ll probably shoot us.

And like that, the moment passed.