Monday, February 14, 2011

SUNRISE - February 13, 2011

February 13, 2011 Sunrise 6:58 am
  "The meeting of two eternities, the past and the future, is precisely the present moment."  - Thoreau

  Remember this?

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call: The Twilight Zone.”

This last weekend hurled me through space and time and connected me to a small Twilight Zone episode of my own.  Thursday night, Lise and I headed off on an eight hour drive to Anaheim, leaving about 6:00 pm to arrive about 2:00 am on Friday morning.

Carnation Plaza Gardens Stage
The main reason we went on the journey was to see Sarah perform on the Carnation Plaza Gardens Stage. It is the longest-running big band stage in the world with many big name bands playing the little stage.  The roster includes Cab Calloway, Bob Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Lionel Hampton, Les Brown, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Harry James, Eartha Kitt, and Benny Goodman--whose orchestra was the first big-name group to perform on the stage, back in 1961.

"The stage itself is about 20 feet wide and can accommodate 35 to 40 musicians; larger groups spread out onto the terrazzo dance floor. They perform for audiences of up to 150 people under a canopy of gold and burgundy, which adds to the festive atmosphere. The history and the surroundings only enrich the experience for the student bands, orchestras and choruses that perform on the Carnation Plaza Gardens Stage" 
I digress.  Back to the Twilight Zone.  
The other reason we went on the trip was to help the orchestra get ready to perform.  Lise helped tune the instruments, as there was no warm-up time on stage - find your seat, get announced and start to play.  People do, however, judge a book by its cover (marketing), so in addition to sounding good, the orchestra had to look good.  That is where my part came in and started me down the path to the Twilight Zone.

The attire was 'black'.  Black shoes, black pants, black shirt and of course a black tie with the Natomas Charter School for the Performing Arts logo on the front.  Very cool.  These are twelve to seventeen year old students that wear attire like purple and silver Sketchers (a tennis shoe brand), low-cut, skin-tight, bleach spots and holes in the knees, pants to school every day.  Very rarely anything that requires a dress shirt and tie.

My task was to help everyone tie their tie.  Impossible in the amount of time between getting dressed in a prep area behind ToonTown and traversing the back lot of Disneyland to pop out on stage in Carnation Plaza across from the Fantasyland Castle.

So, with a lot of time to kill on the long drive in the middle of the night, I set the box of forty ties on my lap in the front passenger seat and proceeded to tie the ties and, leaving them still tied, slipped them off over my head and tossed them into a black silk pile in the back seat.  
The idea was to have the students just slip the pre-tied tie over their head when they got dressed and cinch it up - ten seconds start to finish (it did work very well, thank you).
Lise and I stopped somewhere in the God-awful wasteland of windmills and barren pastureland in the dark to have a bite to eat and get gas.  Dutiful mule that I am, I jumped out, gassed up the car, popped into the all-nite mart, grabbed some drinks and snacks, jumped back into the car and as we sped off into the night, I finished fixing the ties.  About thirty minutes later, with just a few ties left to go, Lise asked me a question and I didn't hear her.

That in itself is not so strange.  I have been accused of selective hearing by many.  This night's issue was especially unusual because we had just invested $2400 in auditory enhancement devices (some say hearing aids) earlier last week.  I reached up to see if my left AED (my new term) had come loose.  Much worse.  It was gone.  The process of repeatedly pulling the ties backwards over my head and tossing them into an ever-growing pile in the back seat had apparently pulled the AED loose and out of my ear.
My Auditory Enhancement Device

I freaked out  - just about $1200 dollars worth.  I went over every square inch of the front seat.  Under the seat.  Between the seats. Climbed into the back seat (we are still driving at 70 mph away from out last stop). Felt around, over, under, etc. everywhere.  I gently caressed every damn tie in the pile, placing them, ever so gently, back into the box.

Nada.  Nothing, Gone.  The only thing I could think of, was the device had loosened with the tie pulling action and unfortunately fallen out at the gas station out by the pumps or in or around the convenience store in the dark.  This was turning out to be a much more expensive trip than just Disneyland tickets, a hotel room and travel expenses.

I sulked the rest of the trip to the hotel.  I finished the ties along the way.  We arrived, went to our room, unpacked and got our four hours of sleep before seeing sunrise over Disneyland.  
After I scoured the car very thoroughly, one more time in daylight and worked on how I would make this into a half-full metaphor for my life, we walked a half mile to Disneyland, helped with the mini-concert (wow, did those ties look sharp) and in the course of the day, walked and additional 10,000 miles through Disneyland and the sister park, Disney California Adventure (enduring an act-your-age defying flight of gut busting, eyeball snapping,  roller coaster rides) and then the I-can't-feel-my-legs-below-my-knees half mile trek back to the hotel.  We got ready for bed. It was now midnight Friday night.  I finished my short but sweet 'SUNRISE and Time' entry for Friday on my miniature laptop.

I turned out the light and slid, exhausted, down into the sheets.  Having worked at hotels before, I have long been suspect of the quality, or lack thereof, of prepping a room after one guest leaves and another arrives. It wasn't without total surprise when I felt something in the sheets at the foot of my bed.  Like a bug.  I leaped out of bed, turned on the light and ripped back the sheets to catch the little intruder.
There was my hearing aid.
I have not a clue as to how.  I was jubilant in my now overflowingly full,  optimism glass.  I just saved $1200.  Rod Serling is my long lost friend.  Can't explain it.  Lise cannot either.  I fully expected to see it not there when I woke up Saturday morning.  Like I had dreamed or imagined it.  I am wearing it now.  It works.  I can hear you laughing.

Sometimes it is best to not question God's mysterious ways.

Yes, I can hear you now.


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