Thursday, July 30, 2015

Flash Mob Induces Tears. Huh??

A friend posted a link to a flash mob on Facebook this morning, so I watched it.  I love musicals because, let’s face it, we all burst into song and dance every now and again when we’re having a serious moment or discussion.  Don’t we?

Really?  We don’t? 


Maybe it’s just me.  Well, me – and Julie Andrews, of course.

Speaking of Julie Andrews, the flash mob was in Central Station in Antwerp as the song “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music began playing.

According to the information provided on YouTube, the flash mob only had two rehearsals before their performance in 2009.  And more than 200 dancers participated.  Link to flash mob. 

The song begins booming over the speakers and a father steps into the middle of the massive floor and starts dancing to the music.  His young daughter joins him.  And then, as the name implies, the number of dancers grew into an eventual mob. 

I love those things. 

When I watched this one, though, I had a strange reaction.  I got choked up and a little teary-eyed.  What the heck is that about, I wondered. I was enjoying it, so I couldn’t figure out my response.

Maybe it was because The Sound of Music is one of my favorites.  Or maybe it was because I have an affinity for tea, a drink with jam and bread? 

No…that couldn’t be it…

But then realization hit.  First of all, a mob was gathered for something completely lighthearted and fun.  Cameras caught images of passengers who were not part of the flash mob dancing on the sidelines.  Some faces showed surprise while others wore expressions of sheer delight.  People clapped along to the music and cheered at the end.  Strangers smiled at each other and looked as though they were thrilled to be a part of something special.  Certainly, it was a break from the routine.

And, to me, it was a wonderful sight.

So often these days, mobs are gathered in protest for some cause or injustice. There are angry protesters and sometimes angry mobs protesting the protesters.  And there is usually a phalanx of officers in uniform attempting to enforce crowd control. 

There seems to be a lot of anger out there lately.  Maybe it’s just me and I’m spending a little too much time on Facebook, or something.

But I sometimes worry about the state of the world we live in.  Why are we so angry lately? 

Often, it involves an issue of where people are polarized either right or left and everyone is sure their opinion is the correct one.  There is no middle ground.  There is no grey area.  And one side certainly cannot see the other side and vice versa.

Or we’re angry over the actions of a group. There are some people these days who are sure the police are the bad guys and other people who are one hundred percent behind the “boys” in blue. 

Or we’re angry that a dentist could spend ridiculous amounts of money to kill a beautiful creature so he could, I don’t know, prove himself a man?  Well, that plan sure backfired. Seems like he’s the one being hunted now. 

But you know what I think it could be?  We didn’t used to live in a world where stories could go “viral.”  Heck, a few years ago, we wouldn’t have understood the term.

Nowadays, people post videos of themselves doing crazy things like hopping a fence to pet a cougar at the Zoo – just to call attention to themselves. Even though the guy protested that he didn’t do it for the attention.  Sure, buddy…whatever you say. 

I say that the whole “15 minutes of fame” thing has grown into something big and ugly.

But because so much ugliness gets attention, we find ourselves getting angrier and angrier over the things we see and hear. 

So I guess I maybe understand my teary-eyed reaction to the happy little flash mob a little better. And I realize I need to see more of that sort of thing.  I need to fill my Facebook feed with images of smiling babies and cute, fuzzy animals. I need to watch more musicals.  And I should tell my family and friends that how much I care about them a little more often.

Maybe that will hide some of the ugliness and erase some of the anger.


Or maybe I should warn my husband that I could – at anytime – break out into song and start twirling around a mountaintop.  Y’know – like they do in musicals.  If I give him advance warning, he won’t be as likely to call the guys with the straight jackets to come take me away.

“Doe-A-Deer…,” dear!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Our Nearly Perfect Day

As far as Thursdays in July go, our Thursday this week was nearly perfect.  I say “nearly” because, well, a million tax-free dollars didn’t suddenly drop out of the sky and onto our front porch.  Nor did world hunger end and/or world peace begin. 

But it didn’t rain, which has been par for the course most of this summer in Central Ohio.  And it wasn’t humid. 

And, best of all, Vince had the day off so we could spend it together.   

We slept in a little until the sunshine beckoned.  We drank some coffee until my eyes willingly stayed open on their own.  And we talked and relaxed in our living room watching our cats tussle over the prime critter-watching spot by the front window.

We discussed everything from life in general, to our day in specific.  As in: “Which would you prefer? Ending world hunger or creating world peace?” 

Or the more confounding question: “What should we do with our day, today?”

Since we couldn’t come up with a solution to either world situations, we focused on our plans for the day.  After another cup of coffee, inspiration struck and I suggested we rent a pontoon boat and putter around Alum Creek. 

Now, Alum Creek is nobody’s idea of a major waterway, but it is close by and, according to Wikipedia (I don’t, after all, have these minute facts stored away in my cranium), it is 58 miles long. 

Oh, and its official name is Alum Creek Lake, which seems a little redundant to me, but what do I know? I’m not exactly well-schooled on the differences between Creeks and Lakes and perhaps they can be used together to describe a channel of water 58 miles long.

But…I digress.

We tried reaching out to some friends to see if they were feeling spontaneous and up for a day in the sun but, alas, could find no takers.
Fortunately, Vince and I like hanging out with each other, so we were okay with it just being the two of us.  We fixed a couple sandwiches, grabbed some cold drinks, put on our water wings, flippers and swim goggles and off we went.

No, not really. We don’t own water wings.  Or flippers, for that matter. But picturing Vince wearing flippers makes me laugh, so pretend like we were wearing those things, okay?!  And just so I’m goofy, too, pretend like I’m wearing one of those old-fashioned rubber swim-caps with flowers and a chin strap.

Lovely. Now, we’re ready to go!

We tried to rent a middle-of-the-line pontoon with a medium-sized engine, but they only had one and it was already rented.  We didn’t think we needed the biggest pontoon for just the two of us, so we rented the smaller one. 

This, in hindsight, may have been a mistake.  It had a tiny little engine and it took the entire two hours to cruise around Alum Creek Lake once. And we never once stopped. Turns out we used only a little over a gallon of fuel, so I guess we were being economical. 

But Vince later said that if we could walk on water, we could’ve moved faster than that pontoon boat!

On the other hand, it was relatively quiet at Alum Creek on Thursday afternoon and we certainly weren’t in any sort of competition with the few boats that were on the water. 

The weather was absolutely perfect. There were only a few white, fluffy clouds dotting the expanse of bright blue sky.  And there was a gentle, cooling breeze riffling the flowers on my swim cap… 

…Oh, wait a minute.  I was really kidding about that swim cap.  But the breeze thing was true.  And it was heavenly.

We returned to shore and headed back home, where we continued our day of leisure.  We cleaned up (those rubber swim caps are hot!) and relaxed on the patio with some crackers and cheese and a bottle of crisp white Bordeaux. 

We chatted on the phone with several long-time friends and relatives, so it was a fun catch-up day with people we care about.  And we listened to music on our sound system and whiled away the time.  Eventually, Vince grilled hamburgers for our dinner and we stayed outside until the solar lights clicked on.

Most of the time, we spend our days rushing from Point A to Point B or checking off items on our to-do list.  So to spend an entire day slowing down and relaxing and taking the time to simply enjoy life, well, it was truly a little slice of heaven.  

And it was nearly perfect. 

Now…if we could just do something about the peace thing and ending world hunger, we’d be all set.

And I wouldn’t complain if a million tax-free dollars dropped out of the sky.  After all, that would buy a lot of swim caps with rubber flowers and chip straps.