Archive for March, 2009

Could swine flu sink my son’s senior spring?

March 30, 2009

J0104730 One high school in Silicon Valley has already been shut down. Santa Clara County Health officials are talking about the possibility of closing schools around the region, banning public gatherings. They are reassuring people that the swine flu emergency isn’t to that point yet, but they need to consider all the options.

Meanwhile, my oldest son is on the downhill slope of what has been a grueling senior year. College applications, college decisions, tough AP classes, a yearlong crunch to prepare for a summer drama festival—that’s just about over. Left ahead—the celebration of the end of 13 years of school, including the baccalaureate ceremony, the senior class picnic, graduation, and the grad nite party, and then packing up and taking the show he’s worked on all year over to the Fringe Festival in Scotland. Yeah, it’s a busy calendar, but it’s good busy, the reward at the end of the race.

And if swine flu catches hold, heck, if they find even one case at his high school, senior spring could simply disappear. His could be the first class that holds their graduation on Facebook and then gets their diplomas in the mail.

And this side effect of swine flu, not fear of the flu itself, is what has me checking the local papers anxiously every morning.

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The solution to the ladies’ room line problem

March 15, 2009

J0399550 The Palace Theatre in New York has 1740 seats—and just three toilets in the ladies’ room. I’m not thinking about this little fact when I linger at my seat at intermission, chatting briefly with the guy next to me, instead of diving into the aisle to make a mad dash to the bathroom. So I find myself near the end of a very long line that loops back and forth around the bar area. It does not look good.

And then I hear her voice—the one-woman solution to the bathroom line problem, disguised as an ordinary bathroom attendant.

“Ladies, it’s too quiet in there, I wanna hear that peepee flowing!”

“Let’s go let’s go, we got a lotta people with full bladders out here, let’s go, all right, that’s the way.”

“OK, listen to that, now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

“Come on folks, we want to make happy bladders, happy bladders, keep it moving.”

“All right, you’re doing a good job, we’ve got three minutes; we can do this!”

At this point people in line are unbuckling belts, getting those tight top buttons open. She’s got us all on her team, we have one goal, to get every woman in and out of the bathroom before the second act starts. The first chimes ring.

“Two minutes, keep it going, you’ve got until the music starts to get into a stall, the lights don’t go down until the overture is over, just keep moving, you can make it.”

The music indeed starts just as I reach the front of the line. And when I leave–in record time–I hear the attendant murmur to herself, nodding her head in satisfaction. “That went well tonight, when I saw the line I wasn’t sure, but I think we got everybody.” And I indeed make it back to my seat in time, just as the houselights go dark.