Why You Shouldn’t Sit Near Stacey

 

I know a girl. A sweet, wholesome, beautiful girl. Fresh faced and rosy cheeked, she has that natural kind of beauty that needs no adornment. Her soft spoken manner is accompanied by kindness, gentleness, and helpfulness. She’s the kind of girl who would make ANY mother proud.

You’d never take her for someone with cosmically bad joo joo.

She looks so innocent.

But I am telling you: if she walks up to you, and mentions she’s saved you or your daughter a seat? Think twice before you allow that sweet countenance to beguile you.

This girl’s trouble.

You think not?

Let me tell you a story or two.

I first noticed Stacey a couple of Christmases ago. She was standing on stage in the church sanctuary, on the first row of the youth choir. In front of Jabar.

Some people come down with a touch of stage fright when it comes time for the big performance, and I guess Jabar did that day. Either that, or he’d crossed paths with one of those stomach bugs that our kids trade like Pokemon cards right before the holidays. Because Jabar, with all those bright lights shining on him during Joy to the World? Jabar lost his Pop Tarts, right there in front of God and everybody. And right behind, and on top of,  Stacey.

Poor kid!!!

Poor STACEY! Talk about standing in the worst spot in the Western world on that particular Sunday morning.

But Stacey, because she is the ray of sunshine that she is, helped poor Jabar off the stage, down the aisle, and back to the bathroom. And then, probably attempted to clean herself up, too.

I wish you could have seen the horror on the faces of the other choir members surrounding them. The way their bodies recoiled. The hugeness of their eyes, the way their nostrils flared, and how their lips curled upwards in bad imitations of Elvis.  Really, that was half the fun.

It’s hard to sing Joy to the World when the smell of throw-up fills the air around you. At least, it’s hard to sing it with any amount of convincing sincerity.

OK, so that was a fluke, right? I mean, sure, I was wishing I’d had my video camera rolling so I could have collected that $10,000 from America’s Funniest Home Videos, but these crazy, isolated incidents happen, and it’s hard to be ready 24/7, am I right?

Which leads us to my second encounter with Stacey.

Unafraid to sit near Stacey

Each year as the holiday season begins, my daughter and I have a standing date to go see the Nutcracker, with two of her best friends and their moms. We’ve been doing this for close to ten years now, and it’s fun to dress up, go out to dinner, and marvel over how much the girls have grown and changed. And since our girls all danced together, it’s interesting to listen to their observations on the dance, itself.

It’s true, that I have mentioned my notoriously bad luck in terms of who sits near me at these events. I may have gone so far as to refer to this as The Curse of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Somehow, each year, the tights on the “Cavalier” (the squire of the Sugar Plum Fairy) become just a little bit more outrageously, absurdly…well…TIGHT. I mean: how much tighter can tights get??? Because if “tight” is a “10”, this guy’s tights are an “11”. Each year, I think, “Oh…I was just being a prude last year. I’m sure they’re not really that bad.”

Oh…no…they’re really that bad. I can see stuff that the Cavalier’s physician needs to know. Coughing would be unnecessary, if you know what I mean. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was his tights that actually were the inspiration for the title of the ballet: “The Nutcracker”. 

So, anyway, full to the gills after a somewhat greasy Italian dinner at Carrabbas, on a chilly last night in  November, our little party of six arrived at the theater at a local private school to witness this year’s performance of “The Nutcracker”. 

Whoever was in charge of the thermostat at that school was excited about the fact that cold weather had finally come to Nashville, because that theater was nice and toasty warm. And as I shed my jacket, I noticed that it was beyond toasty warm. In fact, it was bordering on oven-like.

As we looked for our assigned seats, lo and behold, there was our little fresh faced friend from church, Stacey! She greeted us warmly, and my daughter was delighted that her seat, at the end of our little party, was right next to Stacey. Conversation ensued among the girls, and down at my end of the row, the moms and I chatted about who would be playing the major roles this year.

The lights dimmed and the performance began. The heat,  fueled by the size of the crowd, was becoming quite oppressive. It was a humid heat, tropical in nature, filled with the moistness of too much humanity packed into too small a space. Since my coat was off, and underneath it I wore a turtleneck sweater, there wasn’t much for me to do but push my sleeves up, and fan myself with the program. The toddler behind me began rhythmically kicking my seat. And then I began noticing the coughing, the sniffling, the sneezing that was going on around me. What I was hearing was The Sound of Mucus. I felt like I was trapped in a Human Petri dish, surrounded by whiny, wiggling, overly-tired toddlers who wanted out of there almost as much as their dads did.

“If I don’t get sick from sitting through this, it will be a miracle,” I thought.

And then, someone down our long, long row was pushing past me to get out. “Poor thing”, I thought. “Some kid is pretending like they have to go to the bathroom to get out of here, I bet,”. Well…it SEEMED like a logical conclusion.

But I was wrong.

Oh, so wrong.

Remember Stacey?

She of the bad joo-joo?

That was Stacey, trying to slide quietly up and out of our row.

When the lights came up, I found out why I had started to smell…what was it?

“What is that I smell? Pizza? Warm Italian food? Why am I smelling Italian food again???”

The heat was too much for a ten year old young man who was seated down the row from us.

Next to Stacey.

Upchuck Chuck unloaded during the second act.

And that was sweet Stacey, moving down the row in front of us near the end of the performance, to try and find Chuck’s mom, who was seated a few rows in front of us, to get him some help.

That girl is too kind for her own good.

And has all KINDS of bad luck going on.

So if YOU ever meet Stacey? And she asks to sit next to you during a performance?

Well…do ya feel lucky?

P. S. The names have been changed to protect the unlucky. And the nauseous.


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