Monday, January 23, 2012

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Giant Dancing Cows or Body Cavity Searches?

It happens more often than I care to admit.

People stop me on the street and say, "Wow. Do you really live the life of unbridled excess and hedonistic debauchery that you describe on your blog?"

To which, I am forced to reply, "You bet."

Because, otherwise, how could you explain this?

You cannot explain this.

Face it. You're jealous.

You see me and you think, "Wow. That guy is so lucky. He gets to go to the food court at a mall and play the djembe drum while a giant cow in a tie-dye shirt hops around."

And you are correct.

And, while it is not technically my job, it is as close to a job as I have at times. As an author/illustrator/back-up drummer, my life is a thrilling, non-stop adventure of thrilling, non-stop adventures.

Let us take, for example, last Thursday, a fairly typical day in my life:

6:10 a.m. Slap vigorously and impotently at alarm clock for several seconds.  Attempt to convince Kerri to get up and put the kids on the bus for school. Fail. Get up. Get kids on the bus.

7:20 a.m. Drink coffee while sitting on the couch, reading over the manuscript of the chapter book I'm working on. Decide that the insane, brainwashed squirrel sub-plot may be a bit esoteric for fourth grade readers. Substitute mushroom fart sub-plot. Laugh until coffee spits over my computer keyboard. Lament the fact that, at 40, even the thought of farts still makes me laugh out loud.

9:30 a.m. Answer some emails. Arrange two school visits. Update my calendar. Do some boring business stuff. Lament the fact that I am doing business stuff and not writing about farts. Laugh out loud, because I thought about farts.

10:00 a.m. Answer phone. Hope it is a telemarketer because I am dying to try to convince one that he has just called a murder crime scene and, as a result, is now a prime suspect. It is my buddy Steve. Try to convince him that he has just called a murder crime scene. Fail. Resort to telling him about the fart scene I wrote in the book. Steve pities me and laughs in a patronizing way because he doesn't want to hurt my feelings. Steve tells me that he is playing some music at the food court at the mall at 1:00 and invites me to join him. Ask Kerri, and she gives me permission to go out and play. Then she gives me a list of things to pick up at the mall, "since I'll be there anyway." Curse life. Curse the mall.

11:30 a.m. Make a delicious lunch.

11:45 a.m. Eat delicious lunch, though deliciousness is dulled by the thought that I will be digesting it at the mall. Curse mall again.

12:00 Leave for mall, second only to Wal-Mart for places I never go. Continue cursing mall. Also curse Wal-Mart simply for existing.

12:15 p.m. Pass NH Women's Correctional Facility en route to mall. Rubber-neck to make sure that there are no exciting prison breaks underway. Spot sheriff's van in rear-view mirror. Stop rubber-necking.

12:15:30 p.m. Notice that sheriff's van has lights on. Pull over to let it pass.

12:15:40 p.m. Sheriff's van pulls over behind me.

12:15:42 p.m. Say a very, very bad word. Several times. Loudly. Curse mall while I'm at it. Also Wal-Mart.

12:17 p.m. Watch as two sheriffs exit their van and walk warily up to my extremely threatening 1993 Toyota Camry. Become extremely nervous as one sheriff posts himself at my passenger window, while the second approaches my window and says, "License and registration."

12:17:30 p.m. In state of extreme nervousness, hand sheriff my Visa debit card as I lean over to get registration.

12:18 p.m. Laugh in lighthearted way as sheriff returns Visa with witty comment, "I don't take Visa."

12:19 p.m. Attempt to exit vehicle when sheriff explains that I do not have a rear license plate. Am told in a firm manner to, "Remain in my vehicle." Remain in vehicle. Say a very, very bad word. Several times. Quietly.

12:19:30 p.m. Wonder who stole my license plate while sheriffs return to their van and chat about me with headquarters.

12:22 p.m. Watch as both sheriffs once again flank my vehicle. Say a very, very bad word. Several times. Silently. Prepare for extremely unpleasant body cavity search. Listen politely as sheriff explains that I should report my plate missing to my local police department. Thank sheriff for not searching my cavities.

12:45 p.m. Arrive late for show with Steve.

12:46 p.m. Walk into mall food court and experience chaos and pandemonium in toddler play area, where we will be playing. Say a very, very bad word. Several times. In my head.

12:46:30 p.m. Attempt to weasel out of show by feigning own death. Fail.

1:00 p.m. With no idea of what songs we will be playing or what I will be doing, we begin show.

1:01 p.m. 18 month old kid begins rooting through my backpack as I play song. Smiling mother watches child poke through my belongings.

1:06 p.m. Toddlers begin to dance and twirl to Steve's hypnotic grooves. They spin and jump and slam into each other as all the parents sit along the periphery, texting people who are not at the mall.

The audience gets a rare chance to be close enough to step on the performer's toes.

1:07 p.m. Same 18 month old finds my car keys. Mother smiles contentedly and tell girl, "Good job." I think that this kid may have stolen my license plates. Check my pocket. Wallet is still there.

1:16 p.m. Steve tells audience that we will now play a song that I have never even heard before. I do not even bat an eye, because Steve does this to me all the time and I am a professional.

1:18 p.m. 18 month old kid begins collecting spare change from my backpack. Mother says, "Good job!"

1:35 p.m. Gurt, the giant tie-dye clad cow appears and crowd of toddlers is absolutely terrified. I am terrified, as well, but I wear a brave face.

I know Gurt will not harm me, but still, I am fearful.

1:37 p.m. 18 month old has now taken my camera and is taking pictures. Mother says, "Remember to watch the composition, sweetie."

Toddlers are generally fairly lousy photographers. This is just awful.

1:40 p.m. Toddlers begin getting braver about giant, dancing cow in their midst. Steve reminds audience that Gurt does not need to be milked.

"Please don't milk Gurt!"

1:45 p.m. We play final song. Gurt goes away. Young audience members are sad to see Gurt leave and wander disconsolately back to their texting parents, who are completely unaware that a show has occurred.

1:46 p.m. Steve asks me if I'd like to join him for a post-show cocktail at a chain restaurant in the mall.

1:46:03 p.m. Steve and I are considering the many choices of libations available.

2:45 p.m. I begin to see poor judgement in my decision to partake of a cocktail before attempting to drive home with no license plates on my vehicle. Curse mall.

2:50 p.m. Ask mall security guard if he might have string or a zip tie so I can put my front plate on the rear of my car. Am told that they are forbidden, by their lawyers, to supply motorists with anything, lest the supplied item fail in some deadly manner, rendering them liable. Curse mall security guards.

2:50:15 p.m. Steve makes hilarious, snarky comment about security guard and his daily meeting with his lawyers.

2:55 p.m. Despite the security guard's reluctance to help, I have gathered the necessary supplies from my car and have managed to secure my license plate using a small length of speaker wire and my pen knife.

3:30 p.m. Arrive home safely.

3:32 p.m. Phone police to report stolen license plate. Give them a description of the 18 month old at the mall. Demand an immediate arrest.

4:00 p.m. Spend the rest of the afternoon drawing pictures for chapter book.

6:00 p.m. Tasty dinner. Then more drawing.

9:30 p.m. Go to bed.

6:10 a.m. Wake up. Await the day's phone call.


Nicole McInnes said...

This is hilariously brilliant and brilliantly hilarious. I've linked to it - hope that's okay. Thanks for the laughs!

Nicole McInnes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marty said...

Thanks for the comment and the link, Nicole.