Thursday, 9 September 2010

Down but not Out

I've heard of doing things as a family but this was ridiculous. I'm thinking about our group trip to the doctor's yesterday. Thing is, our bodies seem to be grieving the end of our Californian summer what with the start of an autumnal breeze wafting up from the sea n' all. The three of us are sneezing, coughing like bronchial chain smokers, croaking when we talk and knee deep in chicken soup and tea (go Bimby go!). So it was that wednesday morning saw short, shorter and shortest take a trip to Urgent Care. Put aside everything you know about NHS waiting rooms. We were greeted by a smiling (?) dare I say it happy receptionist, who had a psychedelic nurse scrub outfit going on presumably to make her unthreatening to children, though, from the look on Sam's face I wondered if it was having the opposite effect. She tells us, beaming, they do not accept traveller's insurance. This did not seem such a problem till the $350 bill at the end of our meeting with the doctor. He, olive skinned, broad and muscular, a cross between George Clooney and Jeff Goldblum, breezes in, all sexy efficiency. I feel intsantly a little better. Perhaps this is what they mean by placebo effect? He talks without commas or breaths, in little over 3 and a half minutes he has found out what we are doing adn why and we know he took acting in college and isn't it amazing how actors can transform themselves. Cory tells him that if he said he recognised him from the show he would be seriously worrie. Then he looks over his shoulder whilst doc sticks a light in my ear to catch the baseball game on the tv. Hung on the wall. In the room. In stereo. I look around to see if there are any complimentary low carb low sodium no trans fat baked wholewheat pretsels but no such luck. Seconds later (Cory dragging his feet for wanting to know about that last hit) we are back out and waiting for a cab back to the hotel, leaving George Goldblum flirting with the nurses. Now I get why the smiles.

This is a car town. I know this because the other day (more fool me) I took poor boy and I on a couple of mile trek to the local playground. Several times the sidewalks just simply stopped. We had to zig zag in and out of parking lots - ma with groceries, boy teetering on his bike. Course the cool, cloudy day suddenly turned up to a mid summer morning all of a sudden so that probably did not help my mood. What with me dressed like it was autumn and my arms falling off with bags full of apples and then a bike because boy just looked exhausted. Bless him, he just that morning learned how to ride it. All proper like. No training wheels. He looks hilarious. Surreal like those two year olds you see zooming down the black runs in Austria, or those 5 year old pianists thumping out Liszt. I'm not saying he is a genius, more so the clever people who decided balance was the trickiest thing for kids to master, and so, why not make a bike with no pedals first. When the tykes get the hang of that, then adding the pedals is just like the cherry on the cake. We weren't so sure after Nicole and Austin fixed on the pedals backstage and Dad took him out. I received three accidental calls from Cory, or "butt-calls" as he so delicately puts it. If I'm in a bickering mood I kindly point out that the term is inacurate seeing as people are not calling for butts. Or bottoms. Or derrieres for that matter. It's a loose loose conversation. On the first of these calls I hear Cory with encouraging tones, an unsure Sam in the background. The second, I hear that slightly more forceful coach tone creeping into Cory's peptalk. The third call tips me over the edge as I hear Sammy wail disconsolately in the background but Cory carrying on with the final call to arms. I ring him back and tell him to call it a day. Immediately. When they arrive home a few minutes later they are both all smiles boy positively beaming under his helmet, his two big eyes look up at me like chocolate lanterns "I did it! I did it! I did it!" I would congratulate him only I am crying so hard. In the time it took for them to get back I have watched the video Dad has sent me and can't believe that little chap, whose head was once smaller than my boob (mind you they didn't half get big when it was time for milking) is now venturing into those new found feelings of independence and freedom. I tell him, after I have collected myself almost, that he is almost ready to leave home, only he needs to perfect his cooking and sewing first. Reading might help. Ah, perhaps he ought to stay another few years at least. Daddy is red with pride.

Later when we go to the "local" park we find Leah. A beautiful hispanic 5 year old with most of her front teeth missing a few replaced with shiny silver ones. Her black hair wisps in the wind and the two frolic under the setting sun. She makes Sam giggle. I watch him tease her. Occasionally she looks over to her aunt who is playing one on one basketball with her boyfriend. Under a tree a group of youths sit hunched in conversation. The only person who unnerves me is the lonely drummer man in the near distance tinkering out rhythms on the metal table. He plays hard enough to be heard but sits far enough away to imply a need for privacy. The juxtaposition makes me uneasy. THen again, I think parents have a plugged in unease for lone men near playgrounds. It almost got Cory into trouble when I think back to a day when he sat outside a playground watching some children during lunch break as he thought about how much he missed his nieces and nephews. It was during drama school in London. Next thing he knows a policeman is walking over to him asking him if he can help him in any way and what is he looking at exactly. Cory cringed with embarrassment and still does to this day when he tells the story. Anyhows, lonely drummer man and his pencil moustache left soon after Sam and Leah got embroiled in a complicated creation in the sand.

Now we are all on day two of antibiotics. This has meant that I essentially cannot share any observations of Costa Mesa itself hibernating in our little home as we have been. All I know is that the gardens surrounding the arts centre across the street have a sign on them informing us that they have been irrigated with reclaimed waste water and please do not touch. Green as anything. I also know that we live outside one of the few "traffic circles" in the country. Brits are familiar with roundabouts. Here there are yellow signs explaining how to follow the flow which makes it to my mind infinitely more confusing than they already are. I also know that there is a cab driver nearby with the most piercing sea-green eyes Cory or I have ever seen, and that every morning, after we get passed that cattarhy cloggy feeling in our brains we marvel at the view of palm trees swaying outside. One fat trunk is directly outside our window. It looks like a projection so clean are the windows. I have come to realise I can play shops for hours on end and that chocolate cravings during mild illness is normal, and gives brief but much needed relief to sorry-for-ourselves family. I think I get the better deal what with not having to sit in technical rehearsals for ten hours a day in a darkened theatre. The director gives his instructions from the blackness in the stalls on what they call the "God mike" over this way. Spark debates in some circles I am sure.

It has been a few days of introversion. I have lost myself in a book, The Help, literally reading it at every chance, even on the loo. It was a gift from our friends in LA. She also gave me another novel which like the first has the character of a writer at the centre and her indecision, fear then ultimate determination, bravery and truth that lead her to her successful published book. It certainly has shed some light on my own writing. Nothing like a great book to inspire and terrify you into finishing your own. Perhaps not tonight though. My body, free of excercise but full of nutritious soups, brews and medicines needs rest. Much as I like to think of myself as, inertly invincible there comes a time when a work out is not what the doctor ordered, even if he does look like a film star.

One thing that has sparked much excitement this week, taking us out beyond our mounds of snotty tissues is viewing my second column online. It is just so wonderful to see your words in print so to speak. Course I wonder at the seeming self importance of the style, and this blog for that matter. The way our little journey may appear so terrifically more important than other more sobering things going on on the planet. I suppose I can live with being perceived as a person who lives on the lighter side of things. In true in part I suppose. I think I have had a taste of challenging episodes during my time on the planet so far to know that if you just keep standing and breathing things change and grow and level out eventually, just as perfectly as they ought to. There I go. Trying to be clever again I suppose. Should of learnt that does you no good back in 96 when, arriving late to a seminar, having just booked the main auditorium for my final year piece on Italian women, I catch the tail end of our professor announcing that people who put on their shows in the large auditoriums have inflated egos and little else to substantiate them. I might as well have gone home right then and there. Instead I rode a three week journey to writer's/choreographer's hell and back when I was told I suffered from near incurable written constipation as she so succinctly put it during one of our teacher student meetings. If only she could see me now. She'd prescribe me immodium right away.

Sposing the broken night sleeps and antibiotics are addling my brain even more than usual. Resting up for the big opening night in a few days time. I'm thinking I might even squeeze myself into a cocktail number. There. Bit of dress day dreaming soon absolves the danger of trite ramblings.

Mmmmm. On second thoughts....

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