03 August 2006

The answer: See Irish women sing like Barbie dolls, if Barbies could sing

I walked upstairs after posting on this blog a few nights ago and was astonished to find a message on my answering machine, as if in answer to my earlier post.

My uncle had called me to say he had an extra ticket to go see Celtic Woman and did I want to come? Of course I wanted to, and I did, the night before last. (Last night I ushered a performance of improv Shakesperean comedy. I haven't had much time to post.)

So we watched Disney-lite versions of Irishwomen come out and pose in gowns that would be bridal if not for their variety of hues and tones, as if to identify each woman with a specific element in the production and Irish scheme of things (one woman had a dress the color of seafoam, straight blonde locks flowing well past her shoulders, a voice like polished silver, and was clearly intended to represent the water element; another danced carefully to the rhythm within her shoulder-length, marcelled auburn hair and swath of pine-green silk. Two of the women had dark birthmarks on their faces, whether authentic I don't know). They did carefully choreographed moves that flicked their hair and showed off their bright smiles as their clear voices merged and harmonized into the night air. But the prevalence of long, dramatic gowns made the proceedings all quite static, with one exception: the high-stepping fiddler. She stepped and twirled all over, in turns electrifying and by the end of the show pesky as a bee at a picnic. And in part she was irritating because she was one of the only things that moved. Aside from a dance the women did with their song about having to choose between the rich man and the poor man at the village dance (which they did in silk dresses that trailed on the floor, an odd and unnecessary choice of fashion over function), the Irish lasses came out and posed, sang their designed-to-be-inspiring, reach-for-the-first-cliche songs, with a big boom from the drummers from time to time that served to automatically jolt the audience into applause. Very cute, awfully cheesy, with the occasional bit of traditional music worked in (including a couple of very pretty Italian arias sung by the seafoam soprano).

We didn't stay for the last song or two, but left the stars and stone of Red Rocks Amphitheater for the refuge of a Starbucks, where we dissected the show and talked about family stuff, which left me feeling in part that I know things are bad (zero cash flow is a recurring theme), but I could also see that my aunt's idea of chaos also could be a world away from my uncle's. And after spending time with him I can see that he is struggling, but aren't we all? And I came back again to the fact that he isn't asking me for anything, except to be there. And I am. So all is well in a way, despite his health falling apart and his life pushing him in that direction. Everybody's got sicknesses or catastrophic problems, but there's no one who can do anything about that except them on some level. And if he needs something from me, I have to trust that even though I'm his niece, he will ask for it.

So is it callous or simply realistic of me to say that it's enough for now to know he knows that I am here for him, and to let him call me and invite me to a concert once in a blue moon? I don't think that's a small thing. And if it's a generational point of pride, as my sweetie suggests, that's not to be trifled with either. Just giving a little of yourself seems like something big sometimes. Even if it doesn't solve the underlying problems, just being there seems like the right thing, the only thing to do.

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