Day 11 In The Land of Corn

Praise Jesus, the world did not end today.  Whew!

There were no earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, hurricanes, pestilence, or famine.  It was just another typical day in Iowa.

So I need to catch you up on all the things that have been happening since last we spoke.

Yesterday started out with a bang.  I set my alarm for 11:00 p.m. not a.m. and didn’t wake up till 1:00 p.m.  Which was the exact time I was supposed to be at school.  Whoops.  I grabbed my phone called to tell them I would be late and went through my daily ritual.  And yes, even though I was late, I still dropped by the Kum & Go for a Diet Coke.  I have switched to bottles over the last several days because their fountain soda tastes like ass.  And unless it’s the ass of some hunky corn-fed Iowa boy, it ain’t my thing.  So bottles it is.

And off to school I go.

Not much to report from the afternoon.  We worked through notes, I focused some lights, and finished up things so I could start cuing.  And then it was time for rehearsal.  This is where things got interesting.  Rehearsal was supposed to start at 4:30 p.m.  It was the last rehearsal for this particular dance piece in the  show before tech starts.  And once you are in tech there is little time to work things.  There’s a lot of pressure to get all the cues into the board and run the whole thing.  And here’s the catch…at 4:30 there was only one dancer present.  At 4:35 there were two dancers.  You might get my point if I mentioned that there are 12 dancers in the piece.  The last dance did not arrive until almost 6:00 p.m.  Rehearsal ends at 6:30.  The choreographer was very nice about it.  I would have been much less so.  And the icing on the cake was that at 6:30 he told everyone to get into place to do a run of the dance.  And one of the girls looks at me and the artistic director of the evening of dance,  who is a friend of mine, and says, “Excuse me, but rehearsal ends at 6:30, I have an appointment.”  To which my friend replied, ” You should have thought about that before you and everyone else was late.”  And so the girl huffed off and the run of the dance started.  It was really bad because no one was into and the huffy girl looked like she would rather be doing the dishes.  She was approaching the choreography half-assed and barely even doing it.

And here’s the fun part.  My friend got an email from the huffy girl today saying that no teacher had ever disrespected her so much and been so rude to her.  When I was told this I burst out laughing.  No one had been rude to her.  She was direct and to the point but not rude.  And in fact if anyone was rude it was this girl for showing up late.  My friend has asked me to write an email stating what happened in case this girl makes a fuss about this.

And this is a perfect example of the crap that goes on here.  The students are coddled and babied and are allowed to behave any way they want and there are no consequences.  The stage manager was fired from her position because she chose not to do the job, although she volunteered for it.  And there were no consqences for her actions.  When I was here last spring I had a girl in my class that missed seven days.  I got a million phone calls from her academic advisor asking what this girl could do to still pass my class.  I proposed that perhaps she could start coming to class.  And then I was asked to assign extra work to make up her assignments.  And I said no.  It’s my job to teach the class.  It’s her job to show up to class.  I would have been more than flexible if there were some reason that she missed, but I was given no reason.  And so I flunked her.  And even after I got back to NYC I was getting phone calls from the school trying to make sure that she indeed had deserved an “F”.  As I said then, and I say now…I’ll take a state school program and students over a fancy liberal arts college any day of the week.

Enough about that.

So last night the wife of the choreographer from Africa made Indian food and invited my friend over who had the student trouble, her husband and son.  I was at school and had told them to call me when dinner was ready.  When these people cook it usually takes about three times longer than they estimate it will.  So around 7:30 I was called and told dinner was ready.  I got here and I realized I should have been a little bit more involved in of the process.  These people do not know how to entertain.  There was no wine nor beer.  The only cold drinks in the house were my caffeine free Diet Cokes.  They hadn’t even bothered to chill the bottles of water that were sitting in a box on the floor.  The living room was lit by the ugly overhead fluorescent lights even though there are three perfectly good table lamps in the room.  There were no fresh flowers.  There was nothing.  They threw some plates on the table and said come eat.  If you are going to entertain, then entertain.  If not, we’ll go out to eat.  On Friday night everyone is supposed to be coming to our little place after the show for a beer because all the bars (one) will be smoky and crowded on Friday night.  So I have decided that on Friday afternoon I’m headed to Wal-mart to buy beer, and wine, and flowers, and muchies and all the things you need to throw a little shin dig in Iowa.  I’ll take pictures.

And so today, guess what I did.  I set my alarm for p.m. not a.m. again.  Luckily I woke up about 45 minutes before I needed to be at school.  So it was fast to it and I made it with a couple of minutes to spare.

And I’ll leave with this.  I drove passed McDonald’s the other day and saw this on the side of their building.

Yes, that’s right boys and girls you can drive up and put a dollar in a machine and rent a DVD…at McDonald’s.  Maybe this is happening all over the place but if so it hasn’t happened in NYC yet.  At least not that I’ve seen.  So I had to drive up and take a picture.  I got a double cheeseburger while I was at it.  Of course this was back when I still had a car.

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7 thoughts on “Day 11 In The Land of Corn

  1. Lemuel April 20, 2008 / 05:57

    Maddog, you are my hero(!) for your handing of the girl in your class. You are precisely correct- your job is to teach the class; her’s is/was to come to class. You are not her private tutor. That costs extra. 😉

    Secondly I had to laugh at your comments about entertaining. I’m not sure I would pass the muster on that either, but I would be better than your friends. But I’ve known SO many people from my boonie past that would do exactly what they did – and not have a clue where you were coming from.

    Finally, those dollar rent-a-flix boxes are popping up all over around here. I’ve not seen one yet at a MickeyD’s, but then again, it has been ages since I was at Mr. D’s place.

  2. Mike April 20, 2008 / 07:44

    Just remember: when this production is done, each and every performer gets a bouquet of roses and a standing ovation.

    In this country all the children are winners.

  3. Kelly Stern April 20, 2008 / 07:50

    You are so dead on with how we treat kids these days… and the school is probably all scared that actually standing up to a student will provoke some sort of Tech tragedy again…. crazy world we live in… and we loved NYC… wish you would have been there… We secretly fell in love with Rawhide…

  4. Sarah April 20, 2008 / 09:26

    Next time they arrive late they shouldn’t get to rehearse. Nothing is worse for a performer than being unprepared on stage. If that “dancer” thinks someone mentioning her lateness was rude, I can’t imagine how she’d handle a bad review and the jeers of people who expect to see a high quality production.

    I saw a news program about this coddled generation in the workforce and they were all proclaiming that they would quit a job if they were ever denied a vacation request. Bunch of pussies.

    Hope this isn’t full of typos. The laptop I’m using has a wandering cursor.

  5. urspo April 20, 2008 / 21:38

    We have a DVD box like this one in front of the local Walgreens. I wonder how it does in the 120 degree weather out here.
    I am losing patience with kids these days. One comeuppance is they will be harshly awakened when they get out in the real world.

  6. Rick April 21, 2008 / 05:37

    RedBox is popping up all over New England too. BlockBuster no more.

  7. Bill April 23, 2008 / 20:41

    When I was in Spain at a tiny town on the Med coast they had these DVD vending machines. I think they’re a brilliant idea, since you can grab a movie at any hour on the clock.

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