SHE SAID: DJ or band?

April 29, 2010

Jeremy and I have already posted on our love of attending weddings and I can vouch for him being one of the more entertaining wedding guests OF ALL TIME.  Actually, I lie.  Jeremy and I have never attended a wedding together and so I cannot regale you with tales of his chicken dancing, his talent for toasting, or about that time when he tripped while coming off the dance floor and had to be rushed to the emergency room to get a splinter taken out of his palm.  But we both have some weddings under our belts and I know that he enjoys partaking in the merrymaking as much as I.

This past weekend I went to a family wedding and was a little disappointed, at first, to see a DJ’s table in the reception hall.  I don’t mean to offend any DJs or aspiring DJs out there, but I have to confess that when I get to a wedding, seeing a DJ setting up is almost as bad as seeing that the lead singer of the band is sporting a serious mullet and white platform patent leather boots.  You can’t help but start conjuring exit strategies and calculating how much time is appropriate to spend tolerating the music before you can ease out the side door without offending the new couple.  Things could be worse, I’ll admit; a cash bar or some Disney theme …

After the cocktail hour (during which my date and I dominated the bar and thusly were the most obvious candidates to welcome a DJ enthusiastically), we headed into the main room to welcome the bridal party fresh off their photo shoot, toast the couple, eat, and ultimately, dance dance dance.  Only, before the toasting commenced, the DJ had us twirling our napkins over our heads while he paraded around the room in a chef’s hat and managed to get one unlucky fellow (who happened to have said yes when I suggested attending a spring wedding in Connecticut) doing the twist as a demonstration for the whole table.  I was downing drinks faster than a pre-teen who had just discovered virgin piña coladas and anticipating high tailing it after the cake.

And then somewhere in there, the DJ became totally okay.  It was fun hearing songs I hadn’t heard in forever.  It was fun spending the entire night dancing.  I saw my date’s face light up with unbridled enthusiasm when a country favorite was played, my niece jumped at the chance to dance to some Train, and my mother almost cried when Lady in Red started to play.  There was some line dancing, some twisting, some Charleston-ing and some confusion explaining to my mom that it’s okay for two women to dance together – thankfully she got over it and I was able to throw her around on the dance floor a little.

And all of a sudden, my anti-DJ stance went out the window and I owned that dance floor, despite the pain my being out there caused any innocent bystanders.  And maybe the lesson here is that alcohol can make anything fun.  Maybe it’s that we shouldn’t let our stereotypes stop us from having fun or changing our hell bent stance on something.  Maybe it’s that with a little help (be it an informed friend, a strong drink, or an unexpected encounter), an experience we weren’t anticipating or even one that we were dreading, can be a hell of a lot of fun and even memorable.

Although, and this is the one draw back of a DJ, I come from a singing family.  An overwhelming, enthusiastic, and very loving family that happens to love to jump up on stage and start singing, especially at weddings.  My sister has one of the best voices I have ever heard and thankfully, it’s usually her that’s up there.  The one draw back of a DJ is that were one to sing, it ultimately sounds like karaoke.  No matter how stunning the vocals.  And that is where the band comes out the clear winner in this comparison.  Because while karaoke is fun at a dive bar with friends and a healthy sense of confidence, a wedding is neither the time nor the place.

And yes, I was most definitely trying to convince the DJ to let me up there for a few songs on Saturday.

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SHE SAID: Superstition

April 15, 2010

I was heading out of town recently and at the last second, a black cat went screaming across the road right in front of my car.  While relieved I hadn’t hit it, I started thinking it might be a bad sign and it did make me wonder – if I had hit and killed the cat, would that still have been bad luck?  Since, technically, it wouldn’t have been able to complete crossing my path if I had been able to … stop it.

While not the most superstitious of people, I did spend one soccer season exposing myself to numerous potential infections and social spurning by refusing to launder my socks for the entirety of the season.  We lost in the state finals and I’m pretty sure I lost my faith in being superstitious somewhere around there.  Other than it being somewhat cool, in only the way it would be in the early years of high school, that my socks were formed to my calf and could stand on their own without any support or help, I had dedicated a lot of time, risk and general nastiness to superstition and without the somewhat instant gratification I sought, I wasn’t able to commit more long term to the notion.

But years, perhaps decades, later, I was wondering if I would regret not nipping the cat were I to have an accident or some unfortunate event occur later on that day.

Where is the line between healthy superstition and overt obsessive compulsive disorder?  How many times would we have tolerated Nomar Garciaparra adjusting and readjusting the velcro on his batting gloves for it to be diagnosed as superstition and when would that number have convinced us he was suffering from OCD?  At what point do I stop thinking my son’s resistance to stepping on cracks in pavement is endearing and start worrying that he has a bit of an issue? The line is fine, and the gray area is wide.

And if there is a line between superstition and compulsion, where is the line between superstition and desperation?  After my father passed away, my mom started seeing a lot of cardinals and now she believes that their presence or visibility in her life is my dad’s way of staying with her.  He passed away in the Spring and so there were a lot of cardinals around, but I also know that during important times in her life since his death, she has often seen a cardinal.  Is that the desperation of looking for a sign that someone we love is still active in our lives?  Or is that maybe something more than coincidence?  superstition, belief, flailing for a sign … call it what you will.

I feel more comfortable heading off into something unknown or risky, or even something I’ve done a million times but still want to do well or have go successfully when I can control some aspect of it.  When I was in high school, I was sure that controlling the skankiness of my socks was going to determine the outcome of the game.  It was a small contribution and one that brought my teammates much consternation during long van rides, but I wanted to believe that I had some control other than my performance on the field.  Nomar, having no idea what pitch is coming towards him or how the outfield is going to handle his hit (despite being an incredible player and being able to control a lot of that) felt that tightening his gloves a certain number of times was going to affect his performance.  My son probably feels more comfortable, more at ease, when his foot is squarely in the center of a piece of tile or pavement.  And my mom, devastated from the sudden loss of my father, needs to feel that he is still with her, because after choosing to live your life with someone, who wants to live it without them?

I understand that my considering killing the cat, even though it was after the fact, is insane and twisted.  But, I guess my point is that while some are more superstitious and compulsive than others, I believe we all have our little rituals.  And who wants a cat’s unintentional travel path to determine whether or not they are going to be in a massive 25 car pile up later on that day!?