Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Facebook Correspondence with a Friend about My Daughter's "Ballet" Recital Here in New Jersey

I have a friend from college who's originally from Long Island and lives in Wyoming now. We recently found each other on facebook after being out of touch for 15 years or so and are corresponding almost daily. I know, facebook actually served a real purpose! Weird! Hi C! So here's a letter I wrote her maybe a day or two after what turned out to be a traumatic event for me. I should also say that immediately after I came home from this event, as my sister recently reminded me (oddly I never made the connection), I went outside in my nice-ish clothes and proceeded to sand-blast the back patio. I didn't talk to anyone, just went straight out there and did that for about two hours.

Although I normally don't want to use this blog as a space to rant, I think I need to get this out. Alright. Oh, and also, I curse a bit.

Without further ado, the letter:

OMFG, I have to tell you about the ballet recital. Hi, btw. How are you? Recovering from your overnights? Did you make pancakes? Did that help? Does it help to know you're almost done with the overnights? Hope so. Are you getting excited about NYC? Me too!

OK, you would've died. Really. I kept thinking about our college's Women's Studies. And crying. Really. I cried and it had nothing to do with being all choked up about how beautiful and sweet Mary was (although I did do that too when she came out).

I cried because I live in New Jersey. I cried because the only time the crowd really went wild was when the 5 year olds shook their asses or did rapper video moves. You know, the times when I was cringing. The inappropriate times. I cried because 3 year olds did a dance (well, for brevity's sake, let's call it a dance) to All the Single Ladies by Beyonce. I cried because for the teenagers, I wasn't sure if they were training to be on Broadway or to be strippers. Could've gone either way.

I had no idea. I assumed it would be a ballet recital, because Mary's class's dance was a ballet type number with a ballet costume. Thank god her midriff wasn't showing (that was the made-up 7 year olds). To a song called "Freedom" about, you guessed it, loving America. I'm despairing. And I'm exhausted. Weeping for a half hour does that to you!

Good things? Mary was beautiful and sweet. Her number was "classy". Mary's friend from school was in a similar number and her mom and I talked and if (IF!) Mary stays at this dance school, they'll be together next year.

Yea, so I have to stop calling it ballet. And I have to do some soul searching. These are not my people. Not at all. Am I projecting on Mary though? She really doesn't care one way or another. I don't think I could handle another recital at this place. Yea, I have to sign her up for proper ballet if she's going to dance. This shit is ridiculous. Capital R, actually.

One last thing. *sigh* Hold onto your hat. For reals. There was one number with a single dancer. A maybe 14 or 15 year old girl. Overweight (but not so very bad, but still, on stage... you know?) and her teacher was on stage with her and she did a kind of a tap number while watching her teacher the whole time. It was extremely bizarre. Because there were tons of other teenagers doing stuff that was memorized. Kind of wonderful horrible, actually - the lone dancer, I mean. I had all kinds of flash backs to junior high and high school talent contests and that one girl who made you want to crawl under your chair.

And the finishing touch for you? At the end, when I went to go get Mary and everyone was walking around looking for their people, I saw the girl again. And you know what she was carrying? A fucking Twilight New Moon tote bag. Yea. Couldn't make this shit up. That's why I wouldn't dream of writing fiction.

Alright. Hopefully you're doing ok. I did get caught up in SATC madness at one point, but you're right. Totally empty crap. Like cotton candy or something. Looks kind of good, maybe tastes good initially, but makes you want to vomit after a little bit.

Did you read that article? Did you want to punch Megan Brown in the face too? Or at least bitch-slap her? Just me? OK then. TTYL - Penelope

PS Oh and omg my mom would've had a fucking stroke. Seriously, she would've stroked out. I'm actually afraid for her health in my imagination.

So that's the letter. In the last paragraph, I'm referring to this article I came across in the local paper. I wanted to kill someone. See if you can guess who and why.

Since this time, I've told the recital story to another friend and she reminded me that it's not solely a New Jersey phenomenon. It's national. She's right, of course. I've just had so many eye-opening experiences here (many of them extremely painful - and I'm including the births of my two children, lovely as they are) that it's hard to distinguish what's painful due to NJ and what's just generally painful and would be so anywhere. Quite a sentence there.

Until later...

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