We had a great weekend in The Big City, my daughters and I. First of course we had to get there. I did not have to do any of the driving, so it wasn’t that bad, but it was bad enough that I thought, during the weekend, about avoiding the return trip by a) staying in The Big City and getting a job there, perhaps living in #2 daughter’s sewing room, or b) riding home in the trunk.
I’m reading Terry Pratchett’s Bromeliad Trilogy. The protagonists are “nomes” who have lived under floorboards all their lives and are very freaked out about the size of “The Outside,” and especially with the sky. One character, keeping his eyes shut because he is in a field, says, “There’s nothing higher than us for miles! If I open my eyes, I’ll fall into the sky!” I don’t have trouble with the sky, if it is overhead, but I have a lot of trouble with horizons, and especially with visual edges, which are like horizons but closer. I feel just like that nome did. Oddly enough, I am not bothered at all by horizons with water. I know that a horizon with land is probably a safer place for a human being most of the time than a horizon with water, but the part of my brain that is in charge of the phobia doesn’t believe that. Apparently, water isn’t a flat surface, and land is. Yes, well, we got there and back and I survived.
We moved #2 daughter into her new apartment, which is not in the big city, but in a charming little town right outside the big city. Then, armed with a list of things she needed for her apartment, we went out to do shopping.
Let us admit right off that we didn’t get anything on her list. In addition to the things on her list, you see, we also needed to get breakfast and visit the Franklin Covey store and visit a bassoonist and throw a party.
So, since both breakfast and the Franklin Covey store could be had in the shopping center, that was where we began.
#1 daughter was bothered by the crowds, but I figure it is Thanksgiving weekend in a big city, we’re in a shopping center, there are going to be some people there.
We got our organizer pages and some things for the boys’ stockings that aren’t available where we live, and enjoyed roaming around being tourists, and had breakfast while listening to these musicians. They were playing songs I associate with Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra. I thought it would have been wonderful if some of the couples around us had gotten up and danced, but none did.
There was a harpist on another floor, too, and a raggedy-sounding children’s choir. It was fun.
We left, talking about the museums we would visit if we had time. We did not.
However, we did visit the bassoonist, who gave us tea and excellent conversation and tickets to the symphony.
We had such a good time at the bassoonist’s place, in fact, that we only just barely made it back to the apartment in time for the party.
The party was fun, too. One of the guests was a fellow who is famous in our family for his role in a really funny YouTube video about trying to trap a bat. He and #1 daughter have been online friends for some time, and had their first physical-world meeting there at a cooking show party.
We teased him mercilessly, but he was a good sport.
The cooking show in question was the candy-making one, so we headed off for the symphony having eaten crackers and cheese and candy for dinner.
Some people don’t see the point of going to watch an orchestra, and would just as soon stay home in comfort and listen to a recording, but I like going to the symphony. The conductor in his tailcoat looking like a somber beetle, the twirl as all the violins come up from their resting positions, the flash of light on the brasses, the darting bows — I like the look of it.
We do not have any tall buildings where I live. When I first came here, I used to take pictures of the snow, just because it was new and foreign and exciting simply for being snow. Now, if I go to a city, I take pictures of tall buildings just because their whole tall building nature is foreign and exciting.
#2 daughter is not embarrassed by this behavior on my part.
We heard Mendelssohn and Brahms and what the bassonist called “a new piece,” and sure enough I can’t remember the name of the composer either, although he spoke to the audience before the performance and I liked him a lot, and liked his piece as well. He did some wonderful things with percussion. The conductor had some oddities. At the time, I kept thinking that it only seemed odd to me because I am not that knowledgeable about conducting, but the others persuaded me that it was in fact the conductor and not me. The bassoonist texted #2 daughter during the performance, a new experience for me. A high-tech, grownup version of the little wave to your friend in the audience, I guess, though he did that, too.
Then next day, we sang in the church where #2 daughter is the music minister, and here it is. It is a nice old building.
It is a nice church, too, and the sermon was quite good. It was Christ the King Sunday, so we sang “The King of Love My Shepherd Is,” as well as “”Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I had fallen in love with the arrangement of “Come Thou Fount” that we sang in our fall concert, but it couldn’t be readily adapted from SATB with brass, organ, and timpani to a duet for a couple of altos, so we sang it out of the hymnal. Not as lovely, but it was okay. Next came fellowship time, where the people I met kept looking astonished. After a surprisingly long time, it occurred to me that they were surprised that I was white, since #2 daughter is not. To their credit, none of them asked whether she was adopted.
I think that all the other people we met were not astonished because they already knew our family virtually, if not physically, or because they were young enough not to find an ethnically diverse family astonishing.
We packed the cars, drove back into The Big City, had lunch at a very chic salad bar, and headed home.
We had a good time, and it was a good break from the routine. I will be getting back to work today, and I have rehearsals every evening this week and performances this weekend. So I am pretty much hitting the ground running.
I like to have my Christmas preparations (shopping, decorating, etc.) well in hand before Advent, so that I can observe Advent properly, but we still have our house dressed for Thanksgiving. I may take some time today to change that. Maybe not.
In any case, it was good to be in The Big City for the weekend, and it is good to home.
5 thoughts on “Monday November 26, 2007”
Very happy here that you and the daughters got safely to your destination and are all safely at your assorted homes…. and glad you didn’t decide to do the trip in the trunk of the car. Not recommended.
🙂 When my sister and I were up in Wellington earlier this year we also spent a bit of time snapping photos of tall buildings because we don’t have any really tall ones down here. We also felt mildly alarmed by the crowds of people on the street but we got quite good at walking fast and dodging when we were up there.
Your comment about land horizons is interesting. While I did not get phobic about it I admit that seeing land horizons was something that amazed me when over in the US. To me they emphasized that America is only very lightly inhabited when one takes into account its size. The land horizon of middle America gave me a feeling of solitude – similar to what the much smaller plains in Canterbury and Otago do here. To me they also partly explained the American obsession with the right to carry guns – your country could be huge, lonely and scary outside of the cities I believe (different sort of scariness inside the cities of course) Too long staring at an infinity of flat plains might encourage the darker phantoms of the imagination to rise to the surface of consciousness.
wow – you managed to pack a lot into a weekend. glad it was fun and that you’re home safe and sound.
big cities are quite fun to roam.
We are an ethnically diverse family as well. Our daughter is hispanic and we are white!! We don’t notice since we live it everyday – we often forget how others must view us! Of course, we wouldn’t change a thing about how we became a family!!
I truly enjoyed your descriptions of everything you saw. It was almost as if I was along for the trip. Thank you for sharing your experience.
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