Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wherein I am betrayed by nature, now with more Shakespeare.

People who know me know two things about me, definitely. The first is that I hate nature. Oh, don't get me wrong. I love the brook that babbles, the eagle that soars, the fields of grain that ripple like a horse's skin when a fly lands on it. I am ALL ABOUT the purple mountains' majesty and all that crap. It's just that I only want to see all of it through a window.

The second thing people learn about me rather quickly is that I have the attention span of a gnat. Which would explain why, when going into the bathroom for a wee, I'm sometimes distracted by my own reflection in the mirror and how it looks like the blush on one side of my face is darker than the blush on the other side and then I wind up with wet socks.

That would explain why my husband, while we were waiting to go through the international border last Thursday, was gazing around at the cars around us and then sucked in his breath and let it out again in an enormous whoop of laughter.

"It's YOU," he wheezed as the girls and all all chorused "What? What? Whatso funny?"

"It's perfect! It's like it was made for you, but on someone else's car." He pointed to an SUV in another line, about two cars ahead. On the tailgate of the vehicle was a large bumper sticker that read:

I don't have a short attention span, I just....Oh, look! A squirrel!

The girls started chortling, "Oh, Mommy! That's TOO perfect! You have to get one, because, you know, you're SUCH a DOPE."

"Humph," I said, glowering at the three of them. "I do manage to get dinner on the table every night, don't I?"

My husband looked in the rear-view mirror to meet the girls' eyes. They all traded a silent glance and seemed inclined to start laughing again. "Well, sort of," said my husband. "Unless it's Friday night."

"Or Saturday," said Meelyn.

"Or Sunday," Aisling chimed in.

"If any of you ever want to eat anything without having to suck it through a soda straw ever again, we'll just cut this conversation short right now," I threatened.


So that brings us to Friday night. My group was at the Festival theater, upstairs on the balcony, waiting for the performance of As You Like It to begin. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening with the sunset and the flower gardens and the trees; all the adults were sitting around at one table (except for Katie, who was taking a thousand pictures) and all the students were sitting at another.

I'd just finished telling my sad story to everyone about how my family thinks I'm stupid and the "Oh, look! There's a squirrel!" bumper sticker and all, drowning my sorrow in a bottle of really tasty pilsner from the Stratford Brewing Company. Katie came back to the table to show us a message that had just come up on her camera.

"Look at this," she said, turning the camera so we could read what it said. "'Warning! Camera battery is exhausted.' Like it's the only one that gets tired. Has it been the one walking around all day and getting up at the crack of dawn to go on the Costume and Prop Warehouse tour?"

We all laughed and then started going "Ooooh!! Look!" because the troubadours who come out to the balcony with their drum and trumpets to play the fanfare that announces the beginning of a performance were walking by. Katie was cursing her camera's exhausted battery and went closer to them so that she could maybe coax a couple more pictures out of it; I gave my camera to Meelyn so that she could go get a few pix for us.

The troubadors finished tootling their welcome to the crowd and Gary, Katie's husband, said, "Well, I'd better get Katie."

"And I'd better go get my coat," said our friend Gloria, whose jacket was draped over a chair at the kids' table.

"And I have to finish my beer," I said and tipped the bottle up to get the last swig.

Gary waited until I was in full gulp before he said excitedly, full of mischief as usual, "Look! There's a squirrel!" He pointed to the other end of the balcony.

I tore the beer bottle away from my lips and squealed, "Ooohh! Where is it?" I'd noticed that Stratford has quite a few black squirrels -- we have them here, too -- and they're just so cute, all silky and dark like little chimney sweeps with their bushy tails. I looked where Gary was pointing and I didn't see any squirrels at all, so I looked back at Gary, who was exchanging a good, hearty laugh AT MY EXPENSE with my husband, the man who vowed before God to cherish me and buy my theater tickets until death separates us, which looked like it was going to be coming sooner rather than later because it's a pretty steep drop over the railing of that balcony down onto the cement sidewalk below.

"Gary, I LOOKED," I said indignantly.

"I know," he said smugly, giving my husband a fist-bump. "And it was really funny, too."

You think that Katie, Gloria and Dwan, as my friends and fellow women, would have been on my side, but they were laughing their heads off, too. If they go again in 2012, I'm going to put nothing but gummy worms and Tootsie Rolls in their treat bags. And if they want some cold, refreshing bottled water? TOO BAD!

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