Thursday, June 09, 2005

Selfish and Begrudging

How selfish and begrudging of me is it to want to give priority to geekish and nerdly activities over having drinks and dinner with B’s Aunt Helga and Uncle Slim tomorrow evening?

Tomorrow is the annual George Morlan Plumbing/1190 KEX Festival of Bands, a high school marching band competition that is part of the Portland Rose Festival. I know it is a completely uncool thing to be interested in, but since I competed in many a high school marching band competition myself--bring on the shakos, busbys, and white shoes! I need my fix!

Not only am I going to miss all the “fancy footwork”* and the grand finale massed-band rendition of "America the Beautiful," I am also missing the opportunity to go to a one-night-only screening at the Hollywood Theatre of some very intriguing local documentary-film shorts:
  • The Secret Life of Clowns by Seth Ring
  • Sweetly Dispensed: The Heart of a Pez Collector by Parisa Akbari, Kathy Schaeffer, Alina Wrona-Eden
  • Diggeridu Didjeri Who? by Christopher Reed
  • Finding Rev. Phil by Marie Deatherage
Don’t those sound great?


Instead, I will be the dutiful girlfriend and help B entertain Uncle Slim and Aunt Helga while they are here in Portland. Actually, I like both of them, it just would have been nice if they breezed into town on a night when there wasn’t such an embarrassment of entertainment riches on offer.

We will probably have dinner at an indifferent steak-or-fish restaurant and witness Uncle Slim get muy tostado on Manhattans. He’s a garrulous, entertaining drunk, not a surly one, and we’ll be the ones driving, so I guess we might as well let him. I don't think we have a choice. The last time we got together (about five years ago), a parboiled Uncle Slim spent most of the time trying to persuade me to write a history of the Democratic Party, “because no one’s ever written one before” (?!) and I, Rozanne, “would be the perfect person to do it.” A completely preposterous idea--I have no interest in writing such a book (nor am I qualified)--but I humored him.

Knowing that it takes Uncle Slim 18 months to get around to answering an e-mail, I was pretty sure there was little chance he'd ever get around to sending me the Democratic Party research materials he’s been storing for decades--probably in the room where he keeps every issue of Time magazine published since 1963. (Think of the silverfish problems that must exist in that room!) Sure enough, I've never heard another word about it, although, who knows? Maybe he'll show up tomorrow with a sheaf of silverfish-infested research documents for me.

I'll let you know.

*I always get a kick out of how the whole marching band thing baffles writers or announcers who are dragooned into writing or talking about them. Announcers invariably refer to the bands as “teams,” and writers come up with locutions like “fancy footwork.” Huh? It’s not hopscotch or interpretive dance! It’s marching. There are basically two steps involved. Marching (pistoning your knees up and down while standing in place) and moving, which is done (in layman’s terms) by walking forward, backward, sideways, or diagonally. Not so mysterious, really.

**Thanks to Average Jane for reminding me of this fine G-rated expletive.


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