Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Public Display of Singing

Lydia and I have this friend Charlotte who is nauseatingly beautiful and tall and thin and naturally blonde.  If you can get past the gorgeousness, you'll find she's also kind, smart, funny and unfailingly gentle-voiced with her adorable kids.  And, because that's not enough... She can sing. Like sing sing. 

I won't sit in the pew either in front of her OR behind her at church. Because if I sit in front of her, I hear that perfect voice and then I have to suppress an urge to smack her for being perfect. Or weep from the beauty of her song.  Both are inappropriate.  But if I sit behind her, then she is forced to grimace through every song because of my cat-caught-in-a-broken-harp screeching that I call singing. So now we sit all the way across the sanctuary and wave happily at her like she's in the Macy's Day Parade. You go Charlotte, bust out those pipes and sing us some Hallelujahs.

But it's too late. I don't sing anymore. I mouthe. I look all emphatic and I take a big breath when everyone else takes a big breath, but there's no sound coming out. I'm half a bad Japanese movie. All lippy, no soundy. (Editor's Note: Just like the Cap'n! - Lydia)

So it was of HUGE relief to me when Charlotte confessed that she got caught singing in the Wegmans the other day. In the bread aisle. By herself. Just busted out some random song and strangers were like "Huh? What's that lovely sound? Am I in dream sequence?"  It was probably totally like the part in the Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne played the song from Figaro and all the inmates just stopped and listened and cried and the guards were trying to bust down the door but he just put his arms behind his head and closed his eyes. And it was all perfect right up until they came in and kicked his ass...  But it was a grocery store and not a prison and there were no inmates - that we knew of - and no one kicked Charlotte's heinie afterwards.  So, it's really nothing like the movie. Except that it's still awesome.

She got all blushed and said it's usually no big deal when she forgets herself and finds herself singing in Wegman's because she has her Little Man with her. So, typically it would be like she's singing to him. But on that day, the Little Man wasn't there, so she was just this maybe-crazy lady singing in the grocery store. To herself.

(Editor's note: I do this, too. All the time.  Except that I can't sing.  I blame Glee.  Damn you, Mr. Schuster and your bizarre, curly hair.  This has to STOP happening.  Don't make me get all Sue Sylvester on you because I WILL KICK YOUR TACO. - Lydia)

And then I realized that our kids give us cover. We can do silly things, like play tag at the park and vroom Tonka Trucks around the living room of a neighbor's house (well, you have to be invited over for another reason...like a dinner party. Geez, you do that one time and the whole world never lets you forget. They were cool trucks, dammit.) and sing in the grocery store. Or, in my case, much much worse:
  • I've taught McGee to play seat belt guitar. You know, at stop lights you yank the shoulder part away from your body like its the neck of the guitar and the buckle part serves as the -- ummm - other part. And then you rock out. Like you're Slash. If it's a particularly good song, you get your hair involved. And if the guitar solo is more than thirty seconds, you roll down the windows and do a high kick out the window. When you're with your kid, you look like a fun mom being silly with your child playing '80s Hair Band. When you're by yourself, there's not a song on earth that can save you. Not even Stairway to Heaven. Geez, you do that one time...although, if I am alone and I get caught, I totally rock out harder. They already think I'm crazy. But if I keep going, I'm eccentric.
  • I've gone to a meeting with playdough in the pocket of my suit jacket. It was 4:30 in the afternoon and the kids had been in school all day. And I had been at work all day. Some questions just shouldn't be asked. Like, "How did you wind up with playdough in your pocket?" Let's just move along, shall we?
  • Skipping. With child? Perfectly fine. Without? Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy. (Editor's note: The Cap'n often makes reference to a serious ailment that certain men suffer from called AMS or Adult Male Skipping.  AMS is creepy and also hilarious. - Lydia)  
  • When you play MakeUp with the kids, it's probably best to remember to clean your face before you go to a church event. Particularly when you're not bringing the equally-Bratz-inspired-eyeshadowed-children with you. It gives you that Soon To Be Living With 900 Cats aura. However, the meetings end so much sooner.
  • The people at the Lego store tend to prefer that, if you're going to be in there for two and a half hours building the greatest castle in Legoland, maybe bring a kid with you. Or, buy something. And then they call you "Ma'am."
  • Ball pits are kinda scary. Happy usually demands hands-on supervision. To keep from drowning in a sea of plastic, germy orbs. Easy part: Practicing my Greg Louganis inspired dive in. Hard Part: Remembering to get out when he gets out.
  • Even if "I Don't Dance" from High School Musical is a cool song -- and  it is -- walking to work with your iPod on full volume and doing the choreography...? There also possibly may have been singing...
  • Same goes for "Before He Cheats" -- Carrie Underwood is famous for a reason.  Kate is not for that very same reason.
McGee is hitting that age where I embarrass her pretty much just by breathing. Well, with the exception of Seat Belt Guitar. But then there was this one time that we were doing Freebird [Editor's Note: Yes, of course the windows were open. C'mon. It's not like we were doing Barry Manilow...even though you can totally play Seat Belt Guitar to him. But you have to be alone. Really alone. Like, rural road at night alone. Trust me. - Kate] and we were possibly too close to school and maybe the radio was too loud and we didn't notice the car next to us. With Ron Burgundy, the boy she like likes, in it. Staring at her. The way you stare at a pig wearing a bonnet and a 2004 campaign bumper sticker as a tube top.

McGee screamed. And totally dropped her guitar mid solo.

It was the longest two minutes at a red light in the history of ever. And she refused to play anymore. Or let me play. And made me promise not to play when I'm alone.

Two days later, Ron called. About five minutes into the conversation I heard this: "Oh...yeah...my mom's crazy...it's called Freebird...I don't know, it's really old.......yeah [laughing]...you just pull the seatbelt out and pretend you're playing...but it has to have a good guitar part.....you play drums on the glove compartment? That's so cool..."

They're totally going to start a band! I think we know where to find the lead singer. She's hanging out at Wegman's.


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  1. OMG, the "I Don't Dance" had me rolling. I have "Fabulous" from HSM1 on my Zune, and was out on my deck the other day singing along with it. Thankfully, none of the neighbors saw/heard me, but this totally made me think of that. And I regularly randomly burst into song in public. My kids are used to it. And singing with the radio driving through downtown and hearing my voice echo back off the buildings/getting strange looks or applause from pedestrians on the sidewalks. It's beautiful!

  2. Husband and I freely admit that J is going to think we're awesome for a while... and then that we're not-so-borderline psychotic for a LONG time. Poor kid has no chance at being cool. None.

    Also I love seatbelt guitar. I'm totally incorporating that into my morning drive.

  3. My daughter loves Fraggle Rock. We watch it daily. When she starts to spazz out at the grocery store I sing one of the songs from the show and dance like an idiot and she claps and lauughs. It's totally okay when she is there. Lately I do this when she isn't around. I also occasionally blow a raspberry on my husbands cheek instead of kissing him hello. I think I need help. lol

  4. I used to get caught belting out B*tch by Meridth Brooks at lights all the time.

    Have you heard that song?!?! Hello!

    I'd be singing along - very loudly with the music up, totally forgetting that after driving on the highway for the bulk of the drive I had to enter city limits to get to my job... where other drivers do drive.. and stop at lights... and may possibly have their windows down... and mine would be down... and I can't sing... I'm REALLY bad...

    Thankfully, when my daughter was born I had to stop. We now sing together, and we don't care either - we just don't sing THAT song.


  5. Mercifully for the public, I don't sing while I'm out in it (but do in the car with the windows up). Around the house is a different story, though.

    And then there was the time we were having brunch with a childless friend and the kiddies weren't even around, and I made my habitual "Fly In" sound when serving him his plate. And didn't notice until he said, "Yeah, you're officially a Mom."

  6. It seemed like Lydia was threatening to kick Mr. Schuster's taco....which he has not, :)

  7. The excuse to act crazy may be the only logical reason to have children.

  8. I totally do this. My biggest transgression is dancing. Especially at church. We sit in the cry room with my son and I sway and dance with him. Or if he's not in my arms, I still sway and dance and my hubby looks at me funny. Then I ask for him back, so I don't look so stupid.

  9. I'm always singing in public.... with or without the kids. Sometimes they ask me why or to stop, sometimes they join in. The kids range in age from 13 to 1. We don't drive but we ocassionally play air drums or guitar. Then there is playing superhero.... though I don't think i have been caught playing that solo.

    everyone nows I'm eccentric... they've seen me in faerie get-up walking down the street :)

  10. I have sung and danced to the musak in stores since I was in college, before I had kids. Now I try to limit it to one particular store--the local thrift store that is legendary both for its local pervasiveness and the "quality" of its clientelle. I take my friedns with me just to embarass them. My kids are still all 6 and under, so they think I rock.
    We don't sing HSM, never seen it, but we do sing a lot of Glee. My six-year-old son believes "Don't Stop Believing" is "our song" and demands that I play it and sing it with him every time we're in the car. He sings the boy parts, and I pretend I'm Lea Michelle. It's awesome.

  11. Awesome! I totally play air guitar like I'm Slash!! I never thought to use my seat belt though...

    Oh, and I've been caught singing in the supermarket, all alone, long before I had kids... Now I have my little guy to blame it on, but, I know that I've been doing it all my life...

  12. YET AGAIN I'm love with ALL of you for giving me much needed exercise in the form of rolling on the floor laughing and holding my abdomen (do you think I could gain a six pack this way? I'm thinking about patenting a new version of abdominal workout).

  13. You made me miss Wegmans! The one in Gainesville VA had a train that ran around above your head in the dairy dept. Even without kids, I would stand there, looking up, with my mouth open, watching that thing go around and around. Good times...

  14. WAIT! You mean other 'normal' people dont sing in grocery store, mall, etc??!! My whole 'famn damily' does this (including my sisterfriend!)and has my whole life! Well, that explains a lot. Am I gonna stop? NO! So, Suck it, Fancy!

  15. I totally sing in puclic, car, etc, (even on the airplane once cause it had been a bumpy ride and i was seriously nervous) but I have sung in weddings and won a couple contests, so you'd probably just want to smack me. I gotta try the seatbelt guitar with my 11 year old. He'll defo like that one! ;o)

  16. I talk "to the kids" in the grocery store all the time while shopping. I haven't done it yet, but it's just a matter of time before I talk "to them" in public on a solo trip.

  17. My husband reworded the Barney "apples and bananas" song to "Poopy and Bananas" He was singing it with our girls in his truck with all the windows down at top voice. Looked over to his left to find a carfull of teen girls laughing at him.

  18. I'm so not a big blog reader but this is the best. blog. ever.!!!! Love love love

  19. I would totally get behind an all car instrument band.

  20. Hey, the best part of singing along with Musak is noticing other people who do it too. I was singing the refrain to a Phil Collins song in Home Depot last week when a young dad passed me also belting out the words. Rock on my brother!

  21. W E G M A N S! My first job, my first love. All hail King Danny who can do no wrong!!

  22. When I was home on maternity leave I spent a lot of time narrating everything I dis so my baby would get used to the rhythm of my speech and whatnot. When I went back to work my coworkers didn't appreciate the running commentary...or that I referred to myself in the third person...as Mama. Oops.

  23. Wegmans is my second home away from home--Target is the other. A few years ago the New York Times travel section did a piece on spending a weekend in Syracuse, and one of the suggestions was to stop at "my" Wegmans and listen to one of the cooks who sings while he makes omelets on Sunday mornings. If he can sing in the store, I see no reason why I can't. But I tend to be a lot quieter.

  24. OMG!!! THIS IS TOTALLY LOL-SNORT-OUT-LOUD AT WORK FUNNY!!! The visual of the red-light scene was hysterical! Mom should have honked and waved with a loud "Hey, y'all", that would have been icing on the cake....AND as a bonus, your preteen daughter would not have spoken to you for days...weeks even!




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