I am Jack’s Holiday Program
I just got back from watching Nolan’s holiday program at his school.
Nolan is in 5th grade this year, so it’s the last elementary school holiday program I’ll see for quite some time.
Well, I guess I could just go hang out there, like that guy who graduated in 1995, but still hangs out on the football field at the high school…c’mon, you know him…but that’d just be lame.
Anne and I were actually very excited to see the program this year, and I felt badly for all the years I sat there for an hour, enjoying it when it was one of my step-kids up there, but really just wanting it to be over…so let this be a lesson to all of you who are the parents of a 3rd grader: You only get 2 more of these, and you’ll miss them when they’re gone…so enjoy it.
So I’m watching today’s show with a certain sadness, but excitement, because I love to watch my boys do things like this, so I’m even more hyper-aware than I usually am about the awful behavior of the people around me. (Oh, yeah. You don’t want to see a movie, play, or performance with me. I’m that guy who gets super pissed at the people who talk, or leave their cell phones on, or eat that popcorn with their mouths wide open…I have actually gotten so pissed in theatres, that I’ve left the movie, gotten my money back, and waited for the damn thing to come out on DVD, so I can watch it alone. Dammit.)
The cafetorium at the school is filled to overflowing, and it’s 50 degrees today in LA, so everyone is bundled up in their finest parkas, taking up twice as much area as they normally would, and the place is just, well, stinky. Imagine a subway in winter, during evening rush, and add to that the smell that is unique to an elementary school…and you’ve got it. Anne got there before me, and staked out a good seat, because every year, we end up getting there right as it starts, and standing in the back, with all of the other parents who overslept, or took too long for breakfast, or who had to grab a quickie once the kids were at school.
Anne got really good seats, as far as being able to see the stage goes…but as far as people you’re sitting by? Not so good. In the running for most annoying audience member are the woman sitting next to me, who kept loudly farting (really awful, stinky ones, that just linger…but they sounded good, reverberating off the metal cafeteria chairs), the two little kids sitting behind us, to the right, who did not stop talking the entire time, except when their mother told them that a good way to stay occupied would be to stand on the floor and bang on their chairs in time to the music, and the kid immediately behind me, who had one of those little kid colds, and coughed and sneezed throughout the whole performance. I especially loved it when he sneezed all over the back of my neck, and his mother didn’t even make a showing of apologizing, or offering something to wipe it off…so I used my sleeve. Nice.
All of the classes were great, and the kids were just adorable. The theme this year was Peace and Diversity, which is very funny, considering that I live in the most reactionary, demagogic Republican area in the freakin’ world. (All of my neighbors had those offensive “Protect Marriage” signs last year, when the homophobes were trying to make it certain that marriage should only be between men and women. Because those marriages always succeed. And we have to keep the gays from soiling that sacred, unspoiled institution, right?) Sorry. mini-rant. I’m back now.
My absolute favorite moment was when these kids were reading poems about winter. I think they were 4th graders, maybe 3rd graders. Anyway, there are 4 kids up there, all in their holiday finest, reading poems, like “The Snowman” by Shel Silverstein. The last kid, who looks a lot like Dewey from “Malcolm in the Middle”, and is wearing a checkered shirt and non-matching clip-on tie (it was so damn cute, I couldn’t stand it), and he recites, from memory, a poem by elementary school staple Jack Prelutsky. No small feat for a 3rd of 4th grader, okay? This kid does a great job. I mean, it’s really, really good, and he is doing it from memory. When he’s done, he looks towards where I guess his family is sitting, and he shrugs, like, “Well, that’s about as good as it gets”, and picks his nose and eats it.
It was awesome. I realized this morning how much I’m going to miss these things, and I got to enjoy farts, sneezes, metal-chair-drums, and the nose-picking kid.
All is right with the world.