10 September, 2004

Accidentally Expected

...my fire/The one desire/ Believe, when I say/ I want it that way....

Today is the first anniversary of CrushWorld. It's been here a year today.

I didn't get to the beach; bad weather: goddamn hurricanes. And not even enough blow left at this point to do anything other than spoil potential beach baking.

And so I reap an unexpected benefit, which is happening so frequently that I am learning to expect the unexpected benefit, and not sulk when things don't go the way I think I want them to.

Though I'm achey on Tuesday, and Wednesday also, by this morning, I feel up to a good swing on trapeze, if the weather cooperates. Website says morning session's on, with a weather warning. If it spits a bit, well, no problem: we're used to working in the rain. We head out, a bit of water sloshing in the roof well from the spot where the back windshield leaks.

Me: Will a couple of paper napkins do it?

Fluffy: Uh, no, I don't think so.

Me: We need a towel, do we?

Fluffy: Yep, that's what we need.

I spy something on the road, stop a yard or so short of the Stop sign, and reverse for a few feet. Open door, snag item lying on the asphalt, return to pilot position.

Me: And the Universe provides, once again.

I hand a small striped towel to Fluffy. Despite the rain, it's barely even damp.

Arrive at TSNY, greet the instructors. It's the three of us, and Dancer Dan. Or Scientist Dan. Or Kickboxer Dan. Take your pick; he's all of them. So the four of us have a really intensive lesson. The kids work A LOT on their "tricks," hoping to "get caught" sometime in this lifetime. I work on my swing, and on my set-split, trying to get "catchable timing"

In tiny silver and black G-string sandals, I walk in my neighborhood, dog sporting his "I Gave Blood" gimmie kerchief from the Veterinary Blood Bank, Fuzzy on her tricycle and Fluffy on his bike. We look ordinary. I pass a couple of elderly people, arguing in the street about presidential candidates.

I wonder again whether it makes any difference.

I wonder how many swing states have Diebold machines, or other similarly designed devices, working to assure voters that their votes will not be tampered with, bought, sold, spindled or mutilated, despite a notable lack of paper backup confirmation.

I wonder how many dollars it takes to buy off the Diebold votes, and how many dollars more the similarly designed devices make by others.

I wonder if I send one of these fabulous T-shirts to my dad in Minnesota, if he will wear it, and if he wears it, will it have the impact I seek.

I wonder if I can be any more cynical and still be described by people who know me as "a fucking Pollyanna."

On that note, please visit Tim Kreider's new cartoon, and buy the T-shirt, and send it to someone living in a swing state and cross your fingers and pray to whatever deity you believe in that G. W. Bush will not be leading our nation for another four years.

And visit The Political Animal, if you're the least bit curious about Truth In Journalism.

Of course, he could be lying. In fact, he often is.



Air lies moist and heavy on the entrance. Blue-grey cast of sky fails to dim the bright faces of arriving guests. This is perfect Bubble Weather, and even I am entranced by their spherical brilliance. A well know face snaps a shot, warns gently, "You be careful up there."

At day's end, we skim down to the elephants, performing an act of Kamikaze Kindness. Frank is unsure what to say to his gift. It's a beautiful vest, embroidered with elephants and tiny bits of shiny. I couldn't not get it for him. His wife Gail assures us that he's thrilled with it. We are pleased.

We have fallen into a schedule we love, though it's an "ish" schedule. I think you know what I mean by that.

10:30 to 11ish, Bubbles at the front gate: Mimi

11:00 to 12ish, Ephemeral Experience, throughout the Village: Gigi, Mimi, Max, Lili

12ish to 1:00ish, Silent Lunch: Mimi and Gigi

1:00-1:30, Set up for stage show: Max and Mimi
1:30-2:00, Mimi Flambe show: Mimi and Max
Bubbles atop Middleton's/O'Shucks: Gigi and Lili

2:30-3:45ish, Family Stilt Parade: Gigi, Mimi, Max, Lili

4:00 to 4:30ish, Bubbles at the Gate: Mimi

4:30 to 6pm, In Search Of Tasty Treats: Lili, Max, Mimi

So now you know the What and When parts of our day. Where? We don't know. Somewhere in the village. We're not hard to spot.


For being Singles Weekend, there sure are a lot of families.

I leave the Wall, pass a family just my scale: It's Michael Rosman, his son Ethan, his daughter Sofia, his wife Heddy. Sofia has grown tall- I bend just a little to kiss the sweet spot on her forehead. Pass behind Michael, stretch on tiptoe just a little to kiss the sweet spot on the back of his neck.

On our opening promenade, a wizened patron gifts me with a bag of marshmallows. Mime treats. Many thanks.

The answer to the question, "do you remember me/us/that thing you did last year/two years ago/when my teenager was a baby?" is of course always Yes, but often more truthfully Not At All. A furry looking man says, "I read you sometimes" but fails to identify himself. That you, Quasi Bear? Three little girls, and a wife with a braid that reaches the back of her knee?

We see over 17 thousand patrons today. Before stilts, I walk to the Costume House to retrieve a prop I'd promised to Garrett. Taking long steps, I feel stretch and flex in the muscles of my thighs, underused as I indian-stepped through the summer in my Foolish Shoes. I've bid on boots to match my unitard, because the soles of my Sandlar Forest Boots have gone paper thin over the years.

Afternoon at the front gate: the entryway is hazy with dust, smearing the scene into an Impressionist painting. A slight breeze blows my bubbles backwards over the wall, so children shriek in delight at the crazy kaleidoscope orbs following them as they exit.

Simple. Dramatic. Happy accident.

I'll take it.


For being Seniors Free day, there certainly are a lot of families with young chlldren.

Atop my post, flinging bubbles for the populace, I am poised to witness the arrival of my Tribe: Coco, Sparkey, Mollie-Mollie, TechChik, BuddahPat, the Prince, his princess, Braless.

Shortly afterwards, I see the owner of TSNY-Baltimore walking in. He seems distracted, and does not notice me. It's funny how many people don't look up. I often wave and blow kisses to babies in strollers, their oblivious parents all unknowing.

Ginny stilts up on a rickety wooden ladder. She says she needs to mark it somehow, so that it doesn't get moved, removed, borrowed, or covered with other people's props. I said I'd make a sign for it, hang it on the cross piece.

"What, Stilt-Mime's ladder, Do Not Remove?"

Oh, no. Much simpler.


Because this is where the angels come from.

And yet another metaphor emerges.

"I love it. I LOVE it. Heaven is a rickety wooden ladder."

Sure. Requires effort, balance, and grace to mount. It's a humble ascent, not a grand gilded staircase. You can find it most anywhere, but in its weatherbeaten browngreyness, it's easy to overlook.

Vendors making a point of telling us how much they love the Ephemeral Experience, which is very nice of them; makes us feel loved, and that our creative efforts are appreciated. We float on a cloud of indrawn breath.

Amazingly, all the people I know find one another, by miracle of accident, or cellphone. This would never have happened were it not for the patron count being low, in the neighborhood of ten thousand. I experience a few Watergate Moments. There's Nixon...and Haldeman, who was also Woodward...and Franko, and Villo, and the Concierge. Oh, look, there's Heidi, and G. Gordon Liddy, and Tony. Here's the director, the set builder, the writer. I introduce the TSNY people to the Tribe, insofar as I can.

Suddenly, I am connecting dots: because of Fest, I know Michael Rosman . Because of Rosman, I know of Motion Fest , which I attended because of Tony Montenaro. At MotionFest, in Tony's class, I met Steven Ragatz, whom I saw years before in a Cirque du Soleil show, Quidam . Because of Steven, I work for Academic Edge .Because of work for Academic Edge, I went to Bloomington, IN , where I tried and loved Trapeze, leading me to Trapeze School.

Because of MotionFest, I visited Performers.net, where I learned to love Martin Ewen, the man behind the face of Lurk. Martin auditioned for the Maryland Festival after my notice on the forumD a couple years ago. Martin brings me Hilby, who brings me Keith the Leaf. Who teaches algebraic equations to my son on paper napkins, using juggling combinations as variables. Two more weeks before Martin brings his lovely self my way. He's promised to stay with me. He thinks it's me doing him a favor. Hah.

Because of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, I know Coco, and because of her, Sparkey, the Prince, BuddahPat, GracieGoddess, and many others I hold dear.

GracieGoddess would be ashamed of me. I washed, brushed, braided my hair on Wednesday, and haven't bothered it much since. After three days stuffed in my muffin hat, I don't wonder that it's a rat's nest. Someone hand me a pair of scissors.

Accidental dreadlocks. Now THAT was unexpected.

(I Want It That Way; Backstreet Boys )

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