Just Another Manic Saturday
It had already been a lively Saturday by the time we arrived at the school for the Bangles concert. That morning, a little girl from Elijah's class had celebrated her birthday in a sylvan Silverlake park. Elijah enhanced the affair in a number of ways, but one incident stood out prominently. He climbed a hill, went behind a tree, pulled down his pants and underwear, and unleashed a thick, solid, grown-up-looking turd from his anal cavity. I scrambled up the hill, desperately shouting "do not step to your left, Elijah!" Fortunately, he stood still. I picked up two large handfuls of pine needles. These I dropped on the telltale dookie, and I added another layer of leaves. The other parents found this hilarious. I consoled myself that at least he hadn't taken his dump in the jumpy castle.
We got there close to the 4 PM start. I began to grumble because there was nothing going on yet. Then someone told me that an opening band would play , and I really got grumpy. There are few things on earth I want to do more than watch Game 7 of a Phoenix Suns playoff series, yet here I was, TIVOing the big game so I could go see The Bangles.
The decoration committee had done a charming, tasteful job of garlanding the school, mostly in deep pink, with accents of brown and orange earth tones. There were Chinese lanterns strung above the schoolyard, and tasteful cloth ribbons tied all over the front gate. The stage had a lovely, whimsical backdrop that recalled an old Good & Plenty candy box, without all the lettering. A professional sound system played old R.E.M songs, and various numbers that encouraged people to get funky.
Refreshments were available with the purchase of drink tickets. I spent $6. Regina and I drank cups of peach apricot oolong tea, while Elijah got a strawberry lemonade and a cupcake. Also for sale: Bowtie pasta with salmon and quinona salad with fruit.
I saw a mother I knew, sort of.
"Dude," I said. "they put something in this peach apricot oolong tea. I'm feeling kind of craaaazy."
She laughed, so I ventured again.
"I'm totally getting high off the quinona salad."
Quickly, I realized that I'd gone too far, something that I realized again when I went up to a guy I'd met once at the park, flashed him some devil hands, and said, "ROCK!" He laughed nervously and weakly, and I knew I'd never speak with him again.
Elijah saw his friend Ariel, the girl whose aunts comprise half the Bangles. As always, he threw his arms up in the air and shrieked.
"ARIIIIIIIIIIIEL!" he said.
"ELIIIIIIIIIIJAH!" she said.
Ariel and Elijah have what Ariel's mother wearily describes as "passionate relationship." When it's going well, they shriek with hand-holding glee, united in their mocking disdain of the rest of the world. Occasionally, they spend the entire day smacking each other around. They have no internal checks on their emotions or their actions, or at least not many. I see them as a sort of Id of the middle-class American marriage.
The Id couple decided that it would be fun to run around the schoolyard shrieking at the top of their lungs, only occasionally stopping to bury their faces in the lost-and-found clothing bin. We've recently determined that Elijah is a "spirited child," a new psychological term that I will attempt to define over time. But one thing we know is that spirited children, when overwhelmed with too much sensory input, will experience a brain short-circuit and must be removed to a place of quiet and calm. Twice we removed him, yet no it had no effect. The Bangles show totally freaked Elijah out.
The opening band, for which Ariel's father played drums, was charming and peppy, and Elijah danced enthusiastically for a couple of songs. Suddenly, he bolted for the stairwell, and I found myself chasing him up and down the same flight of stairs for what seemed like an hour. The other children were playing nicely on the playground, but Elijah and Ariel were running into bathrooms and closing themselves in a stall. Somebody please help me, I thought. But Regina was busy talking to another mother about their mutual love of Battlestar Galactica. Today's chase was mine alone.
Between sets, the chase continued. But it was a short break, because the Bangles were going acoustic, with a small drumset, and required essentially no load-in. Our evening's host was dressed as a hip variation on goofy embarrassing dad, wearing a thin-striped white suit, an open-collared shirt, and a white straw hat. He took the microphone.
"Hello, everyone," he said. "And welcome to the JCC. Kids? Are you ready to walk like a drunk Scotsman?"
"A what?" I said to Regina.
"Noooooooo," the kids said.
"Are you ready to walk like a Mexican?"
I looked around to see if there were any offendable Mexicans present, but couldn't detect one.
"Noooooooo," said the kids.
"So what are you going to walk like?"
At least 10 kids, most of them girls, said,
He then introduced the Bangles, including Susanna Hoffs and everyone. And they launched into....an acoustic version of Manic Monday.
I'd been behind the stage while chasing Elijah, and had seen the set list, so I'd had an inkling of what was coming. The group's one super-fun nostalgia hit was buried at the bottom, followed by a cover of Yellow Submarine. Ellijah was squirming in Regina's lap, arching his back, raising his head to the sky.
"He's gonna blow," she said.
Thus, we left, missing all the fun because of our spirited child. In the parking lot, Elijah began to calm down.
"There's too much people," he said.
"I know, honey," said Regina.
So we took him home, and I acted the same way he had at the school, only this was acceptable, because I was watching basketball.