Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I shoulda been a derby girl

It's not every family that will follow up a night of elegant tapas food, fine wine, the ballet, symphony and symphonic choir with a night at Roller Derby, but that's just how the Reeds roll.

We squeezed so much into Fathers Day weekend that it's taken me until now to set it all down in prose and pictures. That, plus I got a little excited over my roller derby night and set out on my roller blades Sunday morning. I hobbled home and have been doing the stiff walk ever since. Damn crazy roller derby girls....

We didn't really plan the juxtapositioning of our recreational activities. Our friend Lisa is much more artsy and cultured than we are and she suggested we join in for the Daphnes & Chloe performance. Lucky for us, Lisa's mom, Lynn, joined us and we pre-gamed at our house with lovely small plates of fun food and a few cocktails.

On the way to Clowes Memorial Hall, Lynn was in full story telling us of a failed jazz date she'd been on when Lisa went roaring up a hill where a stop sign lurked. Without missing a beat, Lynn yells at Lisa to stop, pushing her hand up between the front seats to be sure she got it. Having saved our lives, she went right back to her story.

It was hilarious. Also, we'd had cocktails. Jeff smuggled in a flask of bourbon and he and John giggled like small girls both going in and out. We ladies, however, were perfect ladies. As a farm girl at heart, however, I have to say I was glad I'd read up on ol' Daphnes and Chloe so I could keep up with the story the dancers and musicians were spinning.

And while it was lovely, I did have a few flashbacks to the last Lord of the Rings movie. You know, the one where it seems like it ended about 15 times, but they just kept adding another chapter?

But really, it was lovely and we got all dressed up and had a really fun night out. It was Alison's last night at sleep-away camp so we lived it up a bit.

The next morning we set out to get her -- this time being sure to get on the right interstate. I'm not sure if Jeff was still inebriated from the night before or just giddy from actually getting to place in a direct line, but he asked Ali if she'd want another week there later on in the summer. 

After ensuring that he didn't mean an extra week this year would deprive her of next year with Jenna again, she was happy to say yes. The girls made a new friend, Julia, and Ali will go back the week Julia is already scheduled to return.

We'll have to see what kind of grown up event Lisa has that week, too. Get ready, Lynn!

A few of my friends at work have been talking up their roller derby league and we've been talking about going for a long time. We snagged Alex Ogden to go with us and I think he's now in love with Vivi Section -- one of the Circle City Derby Girls jammers. It might be Bomb-Chelle he was most enamoured with. It was hard to tell.

Jeff pulled up the official derby rules up on his phone and Vivi came by to give us the real scoop before the bouts. "That's your friend, right?" Alex said at one point at the pack rolled thru, Vivi elbowing and almost dancing her way through a core of other derby girls determined to keep her behind them. "She's really good!" he said, never taking his off her.

If you've never been to roller derby, you should really go. There's a whole host of sizes, shapes and ages down there on the floor. It's stripped down action. Raw and heady. The women really test themselves mentally and physically. You can get carried away and think, "Well I can do that."

And then, when you're on your nearly 20-year-old roller blades pushing off with your significantly older thighs downt the Monon Trail the next day, you realize you're no derby girl. You're just wearing their shirt. 

Once I'd staggered home, we made our annual foray to the Talbott Street Art Fair, an event we've attended as long as we've been dating. Alison was less than a month old the first time we took her through the booths. Every year I fall in love with something. Sometimes it's a big something. Sometimes it's small.

In all our years going, we've never dropped significant cash there. Until this year. I don't know if Armando Pedroso will ever be a hallowed name in the art world, but I love the painting we have in our living room right now. 

I'd gone ahead of Ali and Jeff, who tend to linger over things, and I'd found his booth a good 20 minutes before they came along. I had nodded but not really engaged in conversation because I always feel like i'm letting the artist down if I don't then buy what I've admired. 

Jeff and Ali came charging in and I could hear them from my spot outside. Alison was pointing out something she liked and was describing why to Jeff.  "You must be an artist," too, Armando says to Alison. 

So they engage in conversation. They ooh and aah inside. I grab Jeff and say, "but look at this."  He agrees with me that the piece is striking. We talk more with Armando. And we walk on.

We talk about it for the next hour or so as we look at other things. Jeff points out a thing here or there and asks my opinion. "I like it but not as much," is my standard reply. As we near time to leave so we can head to Victory Field to really celebrate Fathers Day, Jeff says, "OK. Let's go back."

The piece I like is called "Field of Possibilities" and I can't fully describe what I like about it. it's just amazing. His story, is too, which I discovered later when I went to check him out. (Yes, I know that's backward investing...) Don't care. I love it.

When I went in to make the purchase, Armando asked more about Alison and her interest in art. He talked about how taken he was with the way she and Jeff had talked so deeply about what they saw in the different pieces and what that meant to them. Now, I know you're going to say he was the artist making a sale, but there were other pieces there with little red "sold" dots on them and they were larger, more expensive pieces.

I told him of my reticence to really engage artists' time because we so rarely buy, he said he never minded talking with people who had an appreciation or curiosity about his work. And, he said whether we'd come back to buy or not, we'd already made his day with our interest in the work and hearing the discussion between Ali and Jeff. 

We might even look him up next time we're in Chicago. You should, too.

So this brings us to the Indians game and Victory Field, or "church" as Jeff calls it. We had great weather, good ballpark food and the Indians won.

Leaving the game, Alison asked if I had spare change for a couple of guys with cups. "You're a good person," I said. She shrugged and said, "That's a Democrat, right? If you can help someone, you should." 

I posted that along with a note that "I love her little soul" and set off a firestorm of "kindness isn't political" on Facebook, which I tried to extinguish with, as Paul Harvey, would say, the rest of the story. Alison had gone on to say that Republicans tend to think people shouldn't ask for handouts out but should instead help themselves up. Then we agreed that we, too, believe people SHOULD help themselves up but that everyone needs help now and again.

Ali was repeating a line I tend to trot out when she or Jeff ask me why I sometimes mow my neighbor's yard. I tell them, "If you're in a position to help someone, you should." My neighbor's had a tough time and if I'm already mowing, it's not a big deal to take a few extra swipes next door.

My neighbor on the other side just tonight asked me if we needed our tree debris hauled away. I'd mentioned something to a group asking if anyone wanted to team up because we don't have that much to haul. He's got a truck, a farm and a small pile of yard waste he'd been planning to haul away and asked if I wanted to toss our pile in, too.

That's not a Democrat or a Republican action. It's what neighbors/friends/familie do, right? (Mark and I are generally opposite ends of the spectrum politically, by the way.)

So I loved it that Ali wanted to help those guys. Just because she thought we were in a position to help. I hope that's always her first thought. And before you get confused and think I'm PollyAnna (as if you could) I don't ALWAYS help even if I can.

And I do think that there may come a day when I might need a neighbor to mow my yard.

Probably it will be the next day I strap on those damn rollerblades...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It wasn't the sentiment that was the issue, it was attaching a political position to it. As I consider myself one who follows and represents the better parts of both parties and vote for the person I feel best qualified, or unfortunately all too often least offensive or dangerous, regardless of political party, that just struck a nerve. You know I am a huge Ali fan and I even love you unconditionally as we've mellowed our head butting and as you said, agreed to just disagree sometimes. The bottom line is you have taught your daughter that helping others is an important part of being a self-respecting human being, and that's the most important point of your story. I hope!