Chaos Attraction

The Nutcracker

2015-12-20, 8:54 p.m.

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So apparently the notifylist stopped working and nobody said anything about it to me and I can't find anything about it. Grrr.

On Sunday, we went to see a production of The Nutcracker in Antioch. The fact that I was even at this was kind of weird because as far as I knew, I didn’t even know anybody in the production. My mom wanted to go to this because her new boss’s kids were in it, which seemed....really strange to me. She wanted to go on Saturday, but because I wanted to go do the other things we ended up doing on Saturday, that didn’t happen. Then somehow, we concurred that fine, I’d go with her to the earliest performance on Sunday.

I should probably say at this point that I went to ballet school for like ten years and if you do ballet school, you end up doing Nutcracker for four months a year, so I am pretty bored and jaded on the subject, plus the show pretty much has no plot in act 2. I’m not saying I hate it, but it wouldn’t have been my idea to go see it.

But that said, they did a pretty good job of it. They apparently have quite a large ballet school there, with SEVERAL dudes there, at least some of which looked like they had been doing it for quite a while and weren’t just dragged in as someone’s boyfriend (which was how it worked at my school). They were doing five performances in a very fancy and pretty large theater. And they had the money to bring in a GIANT GUMBALL MACHINE on stage at one point. Seriously, that happened! Not to mention that you could buy flowers for the performers, win a raffle for prizes, and buy yourself a nutcracker.

Anyway, the plot of the show is that the very German Tannenbaum family throws a party every year at Christmas, and they have a kooky inventor/magical (?) uncle Drosselmeyer who shows up to make things cool and froody and bring in some giant dancing dolls for entertainment value, because either he has making androids down to a science in the 1900’s or else it’s magic. Apparently Clara, who’s about 12 or so (this is a very just-at-the-budding-of-puberty story), gets gifted with a big ol’ Nutcracker doll, which she’s delighted about until her little brothers (there’s 2 in this, they wear sailor suits and at one point straight up get bags of coal for Christmas) run around and cause the doll to get injured. But no worries, Drosselmeyer fixes it and Clara passes out on a couch in the living room after the party’s over. Then she wakes up to find mice and rats fighting around her, which is random, including a giant Rat Queen (who bears no resemblance to an actual rat, but has some nice bling).. Then Drosselmeyer does some magic and makes the nutcracker grow three sizes bigger and more or less ward off the rats as best one can while wearing a giant nutcracker head on yourself. (And, alas, what Robin Williams once described as “pants so tight you can see what religion you are.” Oh man.) Anyway, after that somehow Drosselmeyer takes Clara off on a tour of...some kind of candy fairyland in which everyone dances and gives her free stuff. (Normally in these productions the Nutcracker basicallly hangs around as Clara’s date for all of this, but not in this one--looks like the guy playing the Nutracker was doing double duty as the date of the Sugar Plum Fairy.) I had many deja vu moments watching the performances, and at one point cracked up at the baby angels reminding me of the ones in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, i.e. they’re so small, the wings are so big, and the kids can barely walk. Anyway, eventually the fun is over and Clara is put back on the couch at home to wake up to normality again.

But here’s a little something I didn’t know about the production: as they say, somebody that I used to know was also in it.

So after the show, we go off to get a nutcracker--they had a lovely blue and pink sparkly one that is going with my sparkly tree collection-- and we ran into someone that we used to know.

Okay, so I have a strange knack for getting into conversations with people and I may not necessarily remember off the top of my head as to who they are for awhile, just that I know them from somewhere. And I know two people named Tammy, and this is the time of year I see the Tammy that works at my eye doctor’s. So this one had similar hair and was around similar size and has kids, so we’re talking about how her daughter was in the show, her son’s in junior college now, what jobs everyone has now, etc. etc....but I’m kinda thinking things like “What happened to Tammy’s glasses? She got contacts?” and “Huh, I didn’t remember that that Tammy’s kids have the same name as my cousin Tammy’s kids....that’s a weird coincidence...”

You get where this was going, right? YUP, I WAS SPEAKING TO MY COUSIN THAT I HAVEN’T SEEN IN ALMOST EIGHT YEARS. (To be a bit fair to me, she’s had a bit of change going on since then...looks really good, btw.) And it took awhile for me to figure this out. Because well, after my dad died we no longer got invites to anything his side of the family did, so there you go. And one girl in the show was my baby cousin and I hadn’t seen her since she was small and in her Hannah Montana obsession phase. Now she’s doing dance competitions and wants to go to my alma mater in four years.

GO FIGURE. The mind boggles.

And after all of that, we briefly dropped by Angelica’s to give her some Christmas presents and make arrangements for after Christmas, and then I eventually left to drive home. It’s probably good that I left when I did, but as I drove on and on, the weather got worse and worse until there wasn’t a whole lot of visibility by the time I made it on to the 80 freeway, what with the driving rain and the water coming off the cars and the dark. I could barely see what lane I was in and it was pretty scary for awhile. I made it home safely, which was a relief, but usually I try to avoid driving on nights like that.


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