Maps that plot my location on a Westjet flight make me question why I didn’t just walk that far…
I mean, I get it. It’s not as though they could make the image of the plane to scale. But really? According to some of my past live maps, I have travelled in airplanes twice the size of Florida. If the back of the plane is in Washington, and the front half is down in Utah, where am I exactly? Do they expect me to remember my seat number?
Consequently, this development was sparked by a recent trip to Edmonton, Alberta to visit my grandparents. Canadian Thanksgiving takes place in the middle of October (severely displanting the relevance of a Black Friday sale), so I missed two full days of publicly-funded, condom-stomping Catholic school to hang out on my grandpa’s hobby farm, shooting unlicensed guns and racing retired army jeeps from the Second World War. Often by mid-October, Edmonton’s snowy season is already in full swing; one year, I now recall with nostalgia, we used snowmen for shooting practice.
But unlike the snowmen, each year unfailingly we do things like play flick-stick hockey, eat borscht soup, and a have a piñata (in fact, it’s been the same piñata for five years running, sporting more duct tape and looking less recognizable each year; my grandparents are a little cheap!) This year, though, that poor multi-confetti-colored donkey finally met his match in the form of a Winchester 1200. Instead of hanging the piñata so that the younger cousins could try their luck with a stick, we decided instead to blindfold my father, hand him a shotgun, throw the piñata in the air, and run for cover. A shower of bullets hit it on his first try! The only downside was that all the candy inside was subsequently filled with lead fragments. All things considered, a small price to pay for such an awesome occurrence.
Another new development is that, after the piñata, my grandpa surprised me with a green Volkswagon Beetle for my 16th birthday! He collects cars, and has always been determined to buy one for each of his grandkids. His generosity and kind spirit did not stop him from adding a small clause to a pretty sweet deal, however: a “spoiled rotten” license plate must be worn on the front of the car at all times. A prime example of his malevolent sense of humour… I suppose those lovable old saps aren’t so cheap after all!
Most of my Tuesday was eaten up with travel and allowing myself to be rocked slowly to sleep by the discombobulated jostle of a plane and the fuzzy, impassive voice of Sheila our airline hostess over the PA system. It was for this reason that I felt particularly well-rested as I boarded the bus today for my triumphant return to public education. As I had only returned to school this morning, I could barely stifle my startled squawk when I was called out of History before lunch and summoned to the drama room. The last time I had stepped foot in that room was months ago for musical callbacks, and those didn’t quite go as planned (think actual squawking). Now, to understand the sheer intimidation I felt as I walked into that den of arts performers and theatre junkies at 11:45 AM on a Wednesday, it is important to realize that the drama room looks less like a conventional classroom than the gorilla enclosure at Calgary Zoo. Its overhanging spotlights and intricate networks of wire cables and pulleys squinted down at me from three storeys high, while low-lying lamps draped with Boho-chic scarves provided most of the understated lighting. Red velvet curtains had been pulled back far enough to allow students to work and create on the black wooden floors, marked up with tape and peeling paint, but still their muted presence was unwavering; noticed and deliberate. Props from musicals past were placed randomly about the room as if to represent little inside jokes; the ultimate manifestation of this collective’s superior and exclusive nature. It could have been a hoarder’s nest, and yet each item seemed to fit mystically with the others in perfect synergy.
Yet, the atmosphere was not abrasive or standoffish, as one might expect. Rather, everything in the room worked to welcome and excite me as its visitor, leaving me with a profound sense of belonging and adventure.
None of the other drama students acknowledged my presence, as if it “gelled” with what they were doing, and I was thusly absorbed. I made my way over to the Mrs. Gerund, who sat making large, ecstatic hand movements from a cross-legged position on a table in the corner of the room. At first, I thought it was odd that I hadn’t noticed her immediately, as she was speaking loudly and moving her arms about wildly. I now realize that the room had been absorbing her, too.
I was halfway to her table when she saw me and leapt up to greet me. The sullen form I remembered seated conventionally at a table and chair during my musical audition two months ago did not match the fountain of energy now before me. She cupped my hand in two of her dainty ones and pumped it up and down, then led me through the curtain-cloaked doorway of her office to a couple of mismatched chairs.
Her smile was mischievous as she asked me how I was, and why I was still in class.
“Advanced placement.” I said dismissively.
“Ah. You know, I don’t see how they’re allowed to do that. That’s why I could never teach a real class.”
I seemed to recall the lectures I had heard over the years from every other option teacher I knew after their elective was referred to as “not a real class.”
“So anyway, I don’t know you very well, but I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately. As you know, we gave Jakob Holden one of the leads in the musical, and he has not been putting in much effort these past few weeks. Mr.Rachel and I have decided to replace him. Now, when we discussed our options, you kept popping into my head. I know, it’s weird, because I barely know you at all! Anyways the more I thought about it, The more I realized that Jakob’s role could be converted into a girl part without much effort; all his relationships are platonic! We’ve thought about it a lot, and are prepared to offer you the part!” She gave me a long look. “Don’t feel pressured to respond right away! I know it’s a lot to ask. You can let me know on Friday.”
I felt my heart leap up into my throat. I somehow found the words. “Can I say yes right now?”
So, basically, I have one of the lead parts in my school musical! What makes it even better is how deliciously random it is! It must have been my going away for two days that did the trick; after all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
What’s more is that Peter plays the title role in the musical this year! (If any of you remember him from my pathetic, dreamland rant about his accolades in my first-ever blog post.) He came up to me today to congratulate me, and no-one else knew what was happening. Mrs.Gerund is going to tell the rest of the cast tomorrow at rehearsal, but for now I have the smirk of a private joke semi-permanently plastered across my face.
This is going to be so awesome! I cannot wait to have my first practice on Monday!
Bye for now,