12 December, 2004

Altitude Factory

...I don't normally break into spontaneous dancing. - Martin Ewen

He tells me he's leaving his large duster.

"I only ever use it at Ren-nay-sance, anyway."

It sounds like a promise.

The children watch the video, then ask to watch it again immediately. I, mezmerized, agree, happy for the opportunity to stare, without risk of embarrassment.


They insist on leaving tonight, immediately after workshop. I'd rather they start fresh in the morning, but Izzy's got a point about traffic. They consent to tea and biscuits before they leave, and I give directions that (I hope) will cut twenty-five minutes from their trip, though they both seem easily as expert as Hilby at getting lost.


He shows us his trademark moves. I watch, unable to copy. My body is stiff from weather and more effort than I've expended since MotionFest. Though the stilts are light, I am less able than I'd hoped. Martin instructs me to smooth out my walk before I try any fancy stuff. I am surprised by how much control this takes. She watches, copies, modifies. I wonder if I'll be able to catch up.


Sun slinks across the porch; she blossoms from her sweater, revealing a top that clearly doesn't support the wearing of any bra.


Glittery branches embrace a streetlight, break murky velvet of rapacious fog. Once more into the mists, into the studio, to wrap ourselves with towels and tape, hoping for grace and agility. Wyatt Jaster is excited. The three children learn a fun little fancy thing that should reap a few laughs, if they can pull it off. It involves the two boys gently lowering Fuzzy to her knees and leaving her, in order to pick her up later. This presupposes that the well-meaning patronage will let the little girl sit on the ground without attempting to 'help.'


To combat the day's drear, I serve hot soup, bread, cheese. I make apologies for the peasanty meal, but the crowd of avid eaters seems well satisfied.

"You're a C cup!"

Yes, and?

"We're supposed to be the same size!"

Really. Are we?

"I went rooting through your underwear drawer, to steal a bra, and you're a C cup!"

Her indignation is palpable.

"I say I'm a B, which is a lie, because I'm really more like an A and a half."

Sorry for the inconvenience. (And a little surprised that she doesn't describe herself as an A-plus.)


Through unshuttered windows of the dance studio, grey mist streams in to wrap around us as we work, watching our reflections in silvergrey mirrors. The fitting process is awkward, hampered by lack of a stable stand. The windowsill works, but crowds our shoulders and we contort into disfiguring positions to remain balanced, which throws off the balance of the stilt. This is fine precision tuning, the likes of which I've never experienced on a pair of stilts. Or anything, for that matter.


"Honey, why does it make me crazy that Izzy calls me 'Sybil,' but it doesn’t bother me at all when Martin does it?"

"Because you think it sounds cute in the Kiwi’s accent."

"Yeah. I do."


December does not preclude top-down days. Izzy and I ride, searching for a particular sort of screw, with the top down all day long. In the long run, do self-routing screws make a difference in stilt quality? Only Izzy knows for sure. His standards of construction are incredibly high.


The gig, while not quite a clusterfuck, is annoying enough all around to be only very slightly fun. Still, I am grateful to it, for providing impetus for the Altitude Factory, which currently resides in my basement in form of lengthy chunks of hickory and assorted mysterious noises.


We wait for, and receive, a call. It is earlier than I expected. The boys are lost. Quelle suprise. They think they're in a bad neighborhood, but they can see St. Agnes, so I know they're safe. They'll be safer yet, in a bit.

I like being thought of as 'home.'

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