who dat? contest.
(yo stee. i know
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So after my ruinous flight and hour long wait outside SEA-TAC, I ended up having a very good 36 hours in Seattle. As I said, the sole reason I took the trip was this: my friend Shana is in Cirque Du Soleil and has been on tour outside the country for years. This is the first time her tour is playing America (only two cities before heading to Japan) and she made me promise five months ago to go. Well, in the midst of my increasingly busy schedule and chaotic headspace, I one day realized I only had three weeks left and absolutely no time. So I bought an insanely expensive ticket (with no advanced purchase - grrrrrr...) and went for the short amount of time. I don't get to see her that often and I still consider her one of my best friends. We met in high school. She was two years older than me and directed me in a show. A lot of my friends were in love with her, but for some reason I never was. I actually considered it a point of pride that for some reason I never desired more from her while many others did. To this day I can't explain it. It was just never there.
I stayed with her at the sterile little apartment where they put her and her French acrobat boyfriend up for the run. After a nap for her (circus people on tour stay up all night and thus, sleep a lot) we went out for dinner and spent the night talking. There was a lot to catch up on, as there always is with us. There always is with those friends you see every once in a while, who mean a lot to you but you just never get to see. There is that wonderful total lack of any feelings of hurt or resentment in the shared absences in your friendship. You just pick up from where you left off every time. It's easy. You talk and they remember that person from the last update they got and they met that one friend or read that one story you wrote and now this is happening with it and you can see very literally the progress of life and the ways in which while our histories create themselves, certain friendships can adjust and deal with the constant change. It's reassuring. She's part of my family, and that's something I find myself craving and cherishing these days more than ever.
Her French boyfriend is a nice guy and didn't at all annoy me in the way a lot of French can. (I'm sorry but y'all are pretty rude. It's not just a myth.) However, they speak French to each other since his English isn't that great (it's good enough though) and so I spent a lot of time doing that blank, half-smiling in anticipation but really you just feel awkward and dumb for not knowing the language thing that you do while waiting for people to translate for you. Occasionally I would pick up words or phrases from my numerous failed attempts at learning French. The first night a bunch of us were playing some Mario game on the Nintendo and they were talking about something regarding the game and I said, "Ooooh, Le chapeau du Bowser! The hat of Bowser! Bowser's hat!" And my excitement just made the already ridiculous phrase all the more ridiculous, and it was decided Le Chapeau Du Bowser will be the name of my fifth album. The odd thing about hearing people speak foreign languages is that I always assume that just because I can't understand them they must be talking about really deep and important things. In Seattle I realized that this isn't the case at all, as generally it would turn out they were talking about his forgetting to clean the lint tray in the dryer or how much she felt like having an Orange Slice and wishes they weren't out of them. Here I thought they were trading quotes from their favorite Faulkner novel or expressing love for each other so profound a mere unilingual American couldn't begin to understand...
Aside from talking and more talking, that really only leaves the show. I went during the day on Sunday to the Cirque site in a big lot near Boeing. I got a pass and walked into the practice tent, where Shana had to get something. I basically ogled a few of the performers, jaw open. Beautiful people, these are. Well, beautiful bodies, at least. Here's what I learned about Cirque people (and there are now like nine Cirque Du Soleil shows at any one time all around the world): they have gorgeous bodies, usually speak French, pair up as couples on tour almost without fail, smoke (all of them), train very hard, are friendly but rather guarded, and generally put crap into their bodies (junk food everywhere) while somehow making some of the most ridiculously difficult shit look very very easy. I left the site and did some work on my own for a while before coming back for the show.
Shana had gotten me a really good seat and I sat next to these two women who were Cirque junkies. They'd flown up from San Diego or somewhere just to see the show and were incredibly impressed when they heard I was friends with the blonde trapezist / semi-famous columnist's daughter they had heard so much about. We chatted until the clowns came out to do "animations" - which is basically where they fuck around with the audience. Now over the years I've heard so much about the way Cirque really works, the politics and artistic choices and greed and such, so that some of the "magic" is gone for me. However, the minute the show started that all went out the window and I was simply watching what is undeniably a pretty incredible piece of live performance. All the elements fit very well. The music, the singers, the "house troupe", the individual acts, the thin but detectable story line. A few of the more tacked-on acts, I wasn't crazy about. The Chinese high-wire act left me cold for a lot of reasons, as did a Polish strong-man twin act. And though beautiful, there is a three-girl rhythm gymnastics act that doesn't work at all.
Two things got to me the most. First of all, there is a sixteen year-old beautiful female Russian juggler who is just amazing. She's apparently considered one of the tops in the game, is very sweet and humble, and never misses. I was asking them after the show, and they were like, "No. She NEVER misses." And then Shana's routine. Solo trapeze is a bit strange in that it's not the leaping and flying thing people think of when they think of the trapeze. Most of her act is fixed, with a swinging section at the end. So what is so wonderful about her routine is not the death-defying nature of it, but the artistry. It's hard to describe the feeling of watching someone you love making a crowd of 3000 people fall in love with her right in front of you. It's pretty damn cool. When she ended, by letting go of the trapeze and "falling" via safety cable down to the ground where her "lover" (who happened to also be her actual lover) waited to wrap his arms around her as the lights went down, the two women next to me shrieked and grabbed me with tears in their eyes. "She's SOOOOOO good!!!"
"Yeah," I said. "She is."
Well, I thought about the army. Dad said "Son, you're fucking high." And I thought, yeah there's a first for everything. So I took my old man's advice. Three sad semesters (It was only fifteen grand) spent in bed, I thought about the army. I dropped out and joined a band instead. Grew a mustache and a mullet. Got a job at Chic-fil-a. Citing "artistic differences" the band broke up in May. And in June reformed without me. And they got a different name. I nuked another Grandma's apple pie and hung my head in shame. I've been thinking a lot today. I've been thinking a lot today. Oh, I think I'll write a screenplay. Oh, I think I'll take it to L.A. Oh, I think I'll get it done yesterday. In this time of introspection. On the eve of my election. I say to my reflection, "God, please spare me more rejection." 'Cause my peers, they criticize me. And my ex-wives all despise me. Try to put it all behind me, but my redneck past is nipping at my heels. I've been thinking a lot today. I've been thinking a lot today. I've been thinking a lot today. I thought about the army... speaking of which. Hey y'all. Y'all. I've been thinking a lot today, too. I have. I have. I was thinking about... oh man, that guy. That guy, y'all, what's his name? That guy with the show on the TV. I met him at a party once. I did. I did. He was all, hey. And I was all, nice party, why did they let you in? See! And it turned out to be his party but it was sooooo funny when I said it and everyone laughed. They did. They did. He was... you know that guy- Hey! Get me a martini someone. OK? Ha. Just a small one because I have to work tomorrow. I'm doing a movie with Jan Michael Vincent. You know him? He was on that helicopter movie. He was! With the... where's that beer you were going to get me? Ooo hey, are those Cheetos?
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