Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why I will never be more than a chorus girl.

We saw a very good local performance of Oklahoma last night at the Thanksgiving Point Barn. I was a member of the chorus in my high school production of Oklahoma, so all through the show I sang along in my head, pretty much word for word, until Act II, scene i, when I realized, in a blinding flash of prairie lightning, that the line I had belted out exuberantly practice after practice, performance after performance, was supposed to be

"Cowman dance with the farmer's daughter, farmer dance with the rancher's gal!"

and NOT

"Cowman dance with the farmer's daughter, farmer dance with the rancher's cow!"

The real lyrics make a lot more sense, but a lot less humor. I like my version better. Now that I think about it, I really did give Rodgers and Hammerstein way too much credit -- I mean, anyone capable of writing an icky stand-by-your-man battered wife aria is of course incapable of appreciating the entertainment value of interspecies dating.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ten years ago today...

...I stepped on a plane and it landed me in a realm that altered my reality forever after. My hair was newly shorn into a pixie cut (I wasn't going to waste a moment of my Grand Adventure messing with my stupid hair.) I was quite sure that I would make no friends, but I only half cared.

I thought that I would be studying Hebrew and reveling in the history and traditions of the Jews.

I ended up studying Arabic and reveling in the history and traditions of the Arabs.

I watched a Jewish bris being performed in an ancient mosque under armed guard.

I was mistaken for a man and pulled into the men's dance at a Muslim wedding. It felt more privilege than insult.

I was served Thanksgiving turkey at a Jewish kibbutz. It was garnished with lit sparklers and red, white, and blue streamers, which is only charming when you're on a Jewish kibbutz.

I lived in a date palm grove and gathered white clamshells from the Sea of Galilee. I'm quite sure young Jesus liked to gather shells there, too.

I stood in the ruins of synagogue where Jesus had blasphemed. I finally understood: he was a radical and rebel. It blew my tidy little Christian mind.

I visited a school for orphans funded and run by Palestinian women.

I watched Jewish children sweetly blessed by their parents over Sabbath candles.

I was ushered into a cab by young men trying to spare clueless Americans the violence that was about to erupt in the streets.

I picked a pomegranate from the tree in my balcony garden and ate it while looking out over Jerusalem's temple mount.

I discovered that having to scrub pomegranate juice out of your white Sunday shirt almost cancels out the romance of eating exotic fruits while looking at exotic views.

I rode a camel named Michael Jackson.

I learned that camels, like Las Vegas, are more charming from a distance, though still worth a try.

I met an Egyptian cab driver who only charged once you'd found fun in his city. Told us about his children while we ate ice cream. Wouldn't let us buy him any.

I was henna tattooed in a dimly lit perfume shop by a veiled woman with lean, elegant hands.

I considered visiting a Turkish bath, but chickened out. Don't regret it.*

I failed to master the high art of shofar blowing. Do regret it.

I floated in the thick vinaigrette that is the Dead Sea. "Medicinal" my a--. Ohhh, what a rash.

I almost met George W. Bush. Thankfully he flaked out at the last minute.**

I almost saw President Clinton. He parked his airplane next to ours.

I was told by a Jewish woman that Israel was becoming the same racist, insular menace that the Jews were fleeing after World War II.

I was taught by a Palestinian professor that the minute you think you know who is right in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you know that you don't know the whole story.

I saw the bottom of the Red Sea. It's covered with coral reefs and shimmery fishies. Much prettier than the Charleton Heston version.

I watched the sun rise from the top of Mount Sinai, and craggy eternity caught fire.

And after the fire, a still, small voice.

*My more courageous fellow travelers told harrowing tales of violent exfoliation practices...

**Though I confess I was miffed at the time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

At midnight I turn eggplant.

It ain't no mean feat finding a reasonably attractive dress that covers all the necessary bits of the she-Mormon physique. That is why when dress-hunting for Rachel's dance party I finally gave up trying on the *&%#!! things in dressing rooms and instead decided to buy every last dress that might conceivably suit and then try them on in the comfort of my non-fluorescently-lit home. By the time I found and fell for this little orange number I had already purchased $500 worth of lesser dresses. (Which will all be returned, of course -- if you have ever worked in customer service I hope you can forgive me this evil, evil shopping stunt -- I never got to go to the prom, so maybe we can call this my delayed D├ębutante Phase? Please?)

Yes, an orange dress. A shiny, solid orange dress. Stop laughing, you! I like orange. And I would have you know that They are calling orange the new black. Which is funny, because aside from a lady in green and a lady in red, I was the only lady not in black. For once ahead of the fashion curve? More likely fast-tracking to fashion obsolescence. Come to think of it, I found the dress on the clearance rack with some other orange items, so this no doubt means that my Bold Fashion Statement was no such thing. Pooh.

Oh well. I had much fun even though my second-rate fairy godmother allowed me to show up as a dancing pumpkin. That Rachel sure knows how to throw a party, and she knows how to dance, too, as you can see:*

She's a visionary hostess, that one. Great invitations, great choice of band, great job convincing substantial numbers of men to dance. I wouldn't be at all surprised if she also arranged for that lovely summer thunderstorm. A little less wind next time, though, Rachel. Some of us forgot to wear slips under our flimsy orange wrap dresses....

*See the pillar and A-beam behind the dancing Rachel and Kendall? That is the very pillar that Rachel had climbed earlier in the day and the very A-beam that she bravely sidled out upon in order to A) thread the supports for the Chinese lanterns and B) get herself covered in grime. I doubt she'd admit to intentionally getting covered in grime, but I'm quite sure she did, if only subconsciously, because it sure added drama to her Cinderella transformation at nightfall. Cleans up nice, don't she?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Fresh boiled 'nads.

Information on our upcoming 3-day singles' ward activity at Lava Hot Springs:

"The spring's temperatures range from approximately 102 to 112 degrees."

Ummmmm......we only have about 20 men in our ward, and now we're going to mass-sterilize them? How do I register a complaint....?