My Festivus Pageant

I got dressed up for this and the fancy pants I chose are causing my shorts to ride up just enough to be distracting, but with the full house that turned out for this show and my coat loaded with camcorder and keys, cell phone and camera now wedged into the modest theater seating I can’t quite get comfortable.  I should have just worn my work clothes: jeans and a t-shirt.  It’s not like I’m trying to impress any of these people.  I barely recognize anyone in the dim lighting of the auditorium.  I figured I could suck it up for one night out and dress like an adult.  Just glad I don’t have to wear this stuff to work every day, which is a nice perk to the stay-home-dad career path.  My mind starts to wander as I shift in my seat… 

… I flip the power switch on the video camera, but nothing happens.  Did I do that right?  Flip it off and on a couple times, but nuthin’.  Just fuckin’ great.  I thought it was charged… 

…Mommy is quietly waiting for the next act and thumbing through the program… 

…Ok, how about the camera?  Yah that’s got power, but the memory card is full so I’ll have to try deleting a bunch of pictures to make room to record some video.  “This is a great little camera,” I congratulate myself on its purchase as I zoom in on the risers.   I can get a High-Definition picture of their nose hair from back here.  Just wish this thing had a viewfinder.  I kick myself for not thinking of that in the store.  In bright sunlight the display is hard to see clearly, but in a concert setting like this, everybody for 10 rows back gets to see exactly who and what I’m zoomed in on which limits the photographic opportunities when I’m trying to act like a responsible adult…

…What are they singing now? I don’t recognize any of these lyrics… 

…If I point out the horrendously festive sweater on the woman two rows up, I know discretion won’t allow the Mrs. to entertain my whispered humor, lest I be discovered for the ill-mannered scoundrel that I am. Is my wife really that much more mature than me? …

… I swear to St. Nick, when we get home I’m throwing these pants in the trash!  Would it be wrong if I undo them to give the ‘fellas’ a little ‘breathing’ room? I’m not sure I can get the zipper down without alarming the stranger who just sat next to me…

…As the next song begins, I scan the risers looking for something remarkable in the sea of black and white… Hey, now she’s pretty – And so it begins. Yes, I admit it.  When I get bored at these wonderful little concerts, I inevitably find myself conducting my own private little beauty pageant from the 5th row of the elementary school auditorium. Now, before you think me a monster, hear me out.  When I attend a school concert, I want to be entertained.  I want to see the kids dressed up and I’d like to hear a couple of familiar Christmas carols.  Unfortunately, as I sit here in the audience for yet another Christmas Winter concert, it is all too clear that I’ll have to entertain myself. For some reason there’s an asinine dress code for concert attire.  As described in the Parent Handbook, concert dress consists of a white shirt, black pants or dress, and black shoes with a special note: “Concert attire must adhere to dress code standards and students should refrain from festive accessories.  Light, reflective material is not permitted”  Seriously?  No festive accessories for children in K-8th grade… performing for their parents… the week before Christmas? Yah, I said it – CHRISTMAS. Perhaps this’d make sense if they were performing with an orchestral accompaniment at Carnegie Hall.  Otherwise, I think this formality just makes for a neutered performance, a weak representation of  the “rich learning experience” they’re supposed to be getting at this school.  Where’s the fun?  Where are the pretty little dresses?  Where’s self-expression.  If they’re going to strip away all the individuality and creative expression by dressing them up like mimes, then I am not gonna be bashful about trying to find America’s next top models or Hollywood’s future power couple (a-la Branjelina or Brennifer) among my son’s classmates while they sing some unintelligible rendition of a classic European folk song in French coordinated with a complete set of obscure hand gestures. I don’t understand any of this pretentiously intellectual music selection.  And if they’re gonna demonstrate cultural diversity with foreign languages, sing Feliz Navidad or something familiar I can hum along with.  

Quite frankly, the girls manage to push the dress code limits a little better than the boys and generally seem to get into the performance with broader smiles and more animation.  There’s often one or two that really stand out and I wonder how pretty they might be in a few years when they grow into those pretty, yet gawky features.  I got mommy to agree that there are a couple remarkably pretty girls among them, but now she’s trying to ignore my search for starlet genetics.  Then of course there are a few girls on the other end of the spectrum. We can’t all be 10’s right?  Personality goes a long way when you’re hovering around a 5+, so let’s just be optimistic that all of these youngsters have got a lot of growing up to do before the final verdict is in, if you know what I mean.  Better luck next year sweetie.


Now don’t think I’m just some chauvinistic monster, here.  I’ve got three boys up there at one time or another throughout the evening so I’ll surely end up comparing them to their classmates as I search for the next Brad Pit to escort little Angelina and Jennifer to the prom in a few years.  There’s not a lot of self-expression in little boy’s haircuts so it comes down to seeming charisma and how well they wear the uniform.  Is little 007 on the end of the second riser wearing black sneakers instead of dress shoes?  You’ll lose points for that, Mister!  An over-sized shirt that hang loosely on their little shoulders is a major faux pax, and nobody seems to know the proper length for a 1st grader’s neck tie.  If their shirt looks clumsily tucked or the pants are hoisted uncomfortably high enough that they remind me of my own discomfort as I continue to fidget in my seat, “fahgettaboudit, kid. NEXT!”  …

…How many song we got left???…

…  What are they singing now? Awww, crap – What is that,  Latin?!…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s