The Nutcracker and the 5 from downtown.
Published 12-24-2008 on my old wordpress blog.

I have been going crazy, it’s no secret. Sitting around the house for an entire week is not good for anyone. Watching the first four seasons of The Office (American version) while sitting in a comfy green recliner: also not a good idea. But I do have good ideas from time to time. Or recognize good ideas when they are presented.

My BFF offered me her spare ticket to The Nutcracker. I have been to Marion Oliver McCaw Hall once. To see an opera. That’s how good of a boyfriend I am, thankyouverymuch. It was cool, actually, so shut up. Anyways, when my BFF offered to get me into the ballet for free, I accepted. Who knew what an adventure it would be?

Since it is the middle of Snowpocalypsageddon, I took the bus. Walked down to 85th and Greenwood, waited 15 or 20 minutes and got on a 5 downtown. The bus was full of colorful characters, all of whom I liked very much. Except the guy who was having a minor wardrobe malfunction. You know how pants are actually four pieces of fabric? Two for each leg? Well, the legs were staying leg-shaped just fine. But they were having a hard time getting along. I was sitting on the right side of the bus and when I saw this dude’s left buttcheek, I was suddenly very interested in my yuppie phone. And a little bit grossed out.

But, I successfully navigated the snow-covered streets and found my way to my BFF and then to Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. We had seats in the third row (better than at the opera when I paid like a million dollars for what was it, 10th row seats?) thanks to a charming young dancer that carved the best pumpkin I have ever seen in my entire life. A pumpkin with the word “cupcake” carved in the side. Seriously the best pumpkin ever. I still laugh about it whenever I think about it. Before the show, I gave my BFF the X-mas gift I had been super excited about (I love giving gifts!) and am just now thinking that I should have checked with her Mike to make sure the gift did not conflict with his gift, though I’m sure his gift will be much more special and thoughtful than mine. At any rate, ballet.

My bassoon teacher was the principal bassoonist on this lovely afternoon, but I didn’t talk to her because I was a horrible bassoon student. Seriously, probably the worst ever. I just don’t like to practice. Which is probably also why I’m no good at piano. That and I don’t know what I’m doing. Once, I played the bassoon parts for The Nutcracker, actually. I did pretty poorly if I remember right. But I couldn’t see the dancers getting all screwed up by it, so it must have been okay. Plus, it was just kids and they don’t care.

The best thing about The Nutcracker at M.O.M.H. is the sets. Designed by Maurice Sendak, the guy that wrote that children’s book you all read. They are pretty bad ass sets, if such a thing can be stated about sets for a ballet. The dancers are all pretty good and what not, and I completely understand the first half of the thing, but the second half is just crazy. And then at the end, stupid Tchaikovsky uses the lamest ending ever. I won’t ruin it for you by posting a spoiler here but just think about waking up in the morning after having the weirdest dream ever. Like everyone was dancing and wearing costumes and Maurice Sendak designed it all. And a professional orchestra was playing.

So, BFF and I parted ways, her with her Mike to battle traffic, and I with my beanie and three layers of warmth to battle cold and waiting for a bus. Turns out that the bus is hard to catch at Mercer and Aurora at about 4:25 PM. A 358 passed us, a 358 stopped and let about three people on, a 358 stopped, let two people on, then kicked them off for standing past the safety line, a 16 stopped but goes completely the wrong way, a 358 passed us, another 358 passed us, another 358 passed us, a 5 waved cheerily as it passed us, a 358 passed us, a 358 passed us and then I got frickin’ tired of the whole thing and when some guy said “Hey, we’re walking. Anyone want to come along?” I volunteered for the Bataan Death March of 5.1 miles (according to my yuppie phone) to my house. In the snow. Uphill both ways.

In my continuing quest to be awesome, I spent some time talking to each of the prisoners marchers commuters. Christopher was the ringleader and had apparently done this the day before. David was his co-worker and also plays drums in several jazz ensembles around town. A nice lady who worked as a secretary (“Oh cool, like my mom!” I exclaimed) and whose name I did not catch walked as far as 45th and had actually had dinner at The Canlis once.

When we reached 45th, we left our compatriot to fend for herself in the snowy tundra of Fremonty Aurora and split off onto Fremont Ave to continue the climb to civilization. David had informed us that Aurora was basically impassable through the zoo area and I was under the false impression that one steep but relatively short hill would be better than a gentle-sloping long hill. Right in front of B. F. Day elementary school, the Texan, Chris, had his boots serve him warning about their willingness to proceed on this adventure and promptly threw him to the ground. I quickly told my shoes who was boss and they did not attempt a similar feat. Heh heh, feet.

At the top of the hill, we met another group of bus commuters (also walking, of course, but they got to ride the bus a little ways, at least). They had caught the bus several stops before our stop and therefore guaranteed themselves a place on the bus. More or less. As we continued to walk north, they peeled off one by one to their North Fremont, West Wallingford, East Ballard, South Phinney Ridge homes and by the time we passed the Zoo, it was down to just Chris and I. Even David had disappeared into the night in an attempt to make a gig he was playing.

Chris and I trudged on, discussing philosophy and politics and music and geekiness (I did not inform him that I went to The Nutcracker. I saved that tidbit for you guys.). His boots reminded him about the treachery of snow and ice once more along the way, of course. We made our way steadily onwards after that. Discussing many things and deciding on a stop at the new bar on Greenwood near 85th. The name is not so great, but it’s a nice enough place and they have a significant selection. I got a C*ke. (No name brands here. Remember UN*X?) We continued to discuss various topics and we exchanged contact information sort of. I then proceeded home, heated up some leftovers and finished season three of The Office, the one where [spoiler deleted].

Man, today has been an adventure. Let me summarize using units of time and short descriptions: 0.5 hours of successfully waiting for the bus. 0.5 hours of riding on the bus with some guy’s butt. 0.25 hours of walking to meet my BFF and give her a Xmas present. 2.5 hours of ballet. 0.25 hours of walking back to the bus stop. 1 hour of unsuccessfully waiting for the bus. 2 hours of insane walking. 1 hour of hanging out in a bar talking about stuff with a new acquaintance. Several hours of watching TV in a vain attempt to regain feeling in my toes.

So that’s about it.

See you all after Xmas.

If you like this page, you can buy me a coffee.

Keywords: adventure, ballet, nutcracker, walking

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