One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

March 3, 2010

love something fiercely.

Driving the kids home this afternoon, Rachel was spoiling for a fight. She had a doll along so she looked Hannah in the eye and said, “MY baby,” hugging the doll to her possessively.

Hannah looked back at her and played along. “MY blankie!” she said, though with better humour than Rachel. And so it began, back and forth. “My baby.” “My blankie.” “MY baby.” “My blankie.” “MY BABY!!”

The adult in the car tends to wonder what is the point of this argument of circular non-sequiters, but Hannah only knew she was playing along with the pattern and Rachel was trying really hard to turn it into a proper fight by escalating her tone and punctuating her expostulations with pouty gestures.

Finally, Hannah, still naively cheerful, tried to end it. “My blankie!” “MY baby!” “…Well, it is my blankie. And that’s YOUR baby, okay?”

And Rachel? She responded, still, “MY BABY.”

Hannah said placatingly, “okay. I’m just gonna ask mum. … Mum, this is my blankie right?” And I said, “of course it is Hannah.”

A moment later, Hannah said, “Mum-Mum-Mum HEY MUM! This is my friend, Rachel.” SO cute.

And Rachel said darkly, “I’m not your friend, Hannah.”

And Hannah said in her thoughtful two-year-old way, “Well, okay. But I am your friend.”

“I don’t care,” Rachel told her.

“Mum cares!” Hannah said brightly.

And I laughed. “I totally do, Hannah. I care very much.”

*   *   *

I was going to post this story as soon as we got home, but when I got home, we had no internet. I restarted the computer, modem & router just in case, but the problem seemed to be something outside the house. I decided to put my attentions to making supper instead of hanging around on hold with our internet provider. I figured I could do that after supper. Or I could delegate the delightful task to Ian.

So, after supper, while I was feeding Hannah, Ian got on the phone. Once he’d spoken to someone, and gone over the issue and they’d called up our account, the guy said, “oh that’s weird.” And put him on hold. When he came back, he asked to talk to me (as I am, evidently, the primary contact for the account).

So, the support guy started explaining to me in a slow, saccharine voice about how “the uh… information that you upload and download every month exceeded the maximum amount of information that you’re allowed to upload or download.” And went on to let me know by how many Gigabytes we had exceeded our “maximum information”.

Totally wanted to put on a Marilyn Monroe voice and reply, “A Gigabyte? Is that a kind of a diamond?”

Ian thought it was funny that he asked to speak to me about it when he clearly didn’t think I was capable of understanding it.

I totally picture Ian whispering into the phone. “Oh, yes, I see.  Of course you cut us off. See my wife has a bit of a torrent problem, she doesn’t understand these things. Could you talk to her sternly and explain to her why it’s wrong?”

*   *   *

I am taking drumming lessons. My drumming instructor is pretty fantastic. He was raised in India. Early in our lessons, he commented on how, when you grow up in a country that has this rich musical history and culture, all you want to do is get away and play western music. But then he came here, and after getting into western music, finally began studying world rhythms. I think he’s primarily into Cuban drumming, but I explained to him that I wanted to do middle eastern drumming and he said that, yes, he had a darbukah and while he wasn’t familiar with all the patterns and variations in that style, he could give me a foundation in technique that I would be able to apply to the rhythms I do know.

It’s been fantastic. Though mostly I think I spend our lessons scowling at him and making skeptical faces whenever he asks me to do something. And, to be honest, most of what he asks me to do is beyond me. But it’s good. I need to be pushed. There has never been a lesson where I haven’t run home and then sat and drummed for two hours, trying to get the hang of this new thing before it leaves my head.

At the beginning, he said that he and his wife might be moving east this summer. But he thought we could accomplish a lot in six months. I don’t care, six months is six months more instruction than I had before. I’ll take whatever I can get. So my life has been pretty hectic lately. And I keep finding myself thinking, “oh man. I have to give up something. I have to wake up and simplify. I can’t keep going like this.” And then it seems like drumming is the obvious thing to give up, because I can’t, can’t, can’t give up dance and it wouldn’t be fair to pare back the kids’ lives first. But then I remember that it’s this six months or nothing until the next time I can find a likely world/arabic rhythms instructor in Saskatoon. And I figure I can keep on at this pace for six months, then, anyway.

So, at our last lesson, he was saying how overwhelmed he is. How spread-too-thin. He thinks he’s going to have to get out of doing lessons this spring, maybe in May. He’s found himself encouraging people who are even slightly considering quitting their lessons to just go, and then not filling the time slot. And I was like, “is he hinting at something here?” But I said, “I perfectly understand. I’m spread too thin in taking lessons, myself. And I’ve considered giving up the drumming lessons – but then, you said you were probably done this summer. So I’m sticking with it to get whatever I can as long as I can, until you make me quit.” And he said, “good. I like teaching you. I can tell you’re passionate about it.”

That was the point of the story. Because I liked having someone say it, but I stared at him skeptically and said, “uh. You can?” Cause I don’t act passionate about the things I’m passionate about. Even as we were having the conversation, I was pretty tempted to be all, “what? EFF that, I can take it or leave it.” But he said, “of course I can tell. It’s written all over your face.”

I do love it. But I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. I seriously spend every lesson scowling suspiciously at him and first refusing to try and then trying but not managing to do whatever he tells me to do. Probably he’s figured out I’m passionate about it because no one could spend 30 minutes every week acting that pained and put upon, and then keep coming back if they didn’t love something fiercely.

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