Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Critical Mom Writes

And nobody reads. But that's okay. I'm learning my trade here, and from time to time surprising events teach me what grabs readers. When I wrote a post about Chelsea Manning and titled it "The Unmanning of Bradley," I reached many a poor soul who was looking for something considerably more titillating. I was merely reflecting on Manning's poor timing, in my view. When Bradley announced that he was really Chelsea, she was heading to prison, where bad guys are sure to give her a tough time indeed. I hope Chelsea is protected, and I hope somebody's getting her the hormones she needs to remain herself.
Meanwhile, I've reached a milestone: I'm actually getting paid for a personal essay. An entire forty bucks. Ten more than Judas made, is what I'm thinking. I want everyone in the world except for my mom and my kids to read that essay. My kids can read it when they're old enough to understand that Mom is also human--make that forty: a nice round number (and ten more than those thirty pieces of silver that keep coming to mind: I hope the kids don't feel betrayed by Mom's confession, which is not about them, but about Mom when she was younger than they are now.)
Forty dollars would just about replace the forty euros I got fined for forgetting that the month of June had begun: here in Germany, you buy your tram card every month, and you have a grace period until the third of the month. But I'd spent the preceding two days in dress rehearsals and performances, tap dancing. There's nothing lovelier than being onstage except, perhaps, being backstage. I love peeking in from the wings and seeing my very pretty daughter's profile as a lilac fairy; the contrast of the extraordinarily hideous Carabosse waving her arms around plus the glimpse of the audience's rapt faces was lovely. It would be so much fun to go out onstage and be evil! I wish I could play Carabosse, or a vampire, or anything flagrantly outrageous. When you're onstage the lights are so blinding that you don't see the audience or anything else--you're just trying to keep your eyes open while you dance. I love standing in the hallway and jumping back so the young ballet danseur, having completed his tours jet├ęs, can vault offstage, grab his bottle of water, glug it, and vault back on. Plus the opening bars of Cinderella keep marching through my head.
But the lady who checked my May ticket was, naturally, not interested in all these explanations that came to mind . . . . I burbled away showing all my previous receipts for monthly tickets: I do regularly buy my ticket. But oh, they looked in their computer and found that I had actually failed to buy my ticket on time One Other Time, eight months ago. Who gets off on finger-wagging? People who don't get to go onstage or write personal essays, that's who. Or, as the lady said to me while taking my information (and even my kids have the sense to invent phony names and addresses when they are caught!): "You have your work, and I have mine."
You'd think somebody who likes being onstage and writing would have the presence of mind to say her name was, say, Miranda Schulz or Emma Stein. But no, I blurted mine right out.
And paid the dang forty euros.
But when my essay is published---I still can't believe that it will be--I'll post a link to the magazine and let readers guess which writer might be, in another guise, The Critical Mom.

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