2010 Regional Championships, Day 1

Originally written 11/18/2010. Content edited slightly because, you know, it could be a little better.

Greetings! Here I am again at the annual regional championships of Irish dance, which is called the Oireachtas. However you think that last word is pronounced, you’re wrong. Someone once told me that God created Gaelic so the Irish wouldn’t rule the world.

This year’s Oireachtas for our region is being held in Sacramento. I flew out early this afternoon.

One of the things I love about flying is that being at the airport always inspires me to ponder life’s deepest mysteries:

Do people really want to read Jorge Luis Borges or Lord of the Flies on an airplane? If not, why does the airport bookstore sell them?

Do the airport shops that sell hideous and expensive snakeskin cardigans and Christmas ornaments shaped like bears using the toilet really sell enough stuff to stay in business? If so, who buys those things?

And, most importantly, why do people think it’s okay to use their cell phones in the bathroom?

The flight itself was enlivened by a 2-year-old girl named Taylor, who was traveling alone with her dad (I suspect, from some of the things that happened, that her parents were separating). Taylor threw a fit in the waiting area when her dad started to take her on the plane, and the fit mostly featured loud, high-pitched screaming. Dogs all over Denver were probably jumping their fences and running towards the airport.

The screaming continued when she got on the plane, and as a bonus she added words. First she screamed that she wanted her mommy, which had some of the people on the plane feeling sorry for her (Taylor was the #1 subject of conversation on the plane).

Then she started screaming, “Enough!”, a word she clearly heard a lot. We heard it a lot, too, and people weren’t feeling so sorry for her anymore.

Finally, she shouted, “Daddy, if you don’t take me home right now, I will wait until you are sleeping, take your glasses, and throw them out the window!”

That’s when the last holdouts stopped feeling sorry for her and started wondering if she was a demon disguised as a two-year-old.

At this point, the head flight attendant came over. She had a bag of candy in her hand. She told Taylor that if she didn’t scream anymore, she could have the bag of candy. All of us, even the ones who normally wouldn’t have approved of bribing toddlers with sugar, breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe now we would have quiet and the plane could take off (we were still sitting on the runway).

Taylor said okay and took the bag, but as soon as the flight attendant turned away, she started screaming again.

The flight attendant came back, and I don’t think I would have heard what she said if I hadn’t been sitting one row up. She said, in a quiet but firm voice, “No screaming. If you scream again, I will have to ask you and your daddy to leave the plane, and the police will be there too.”

The word “police” was like magic. Taylor stopped screaming and was well-behaved the whole rest of the flight.

“How did you do that?” one passenger asked the flight attendant in an awestruck voice.

“I used to be a kindergarten teacher,” said the flight attendant.

Once in Sacramento, I shared a taxi with one of my dance students and her mom. The highway was backed up with traffic, so our cab driver took us to our hotel via a back way instead, along a levee road beside a river. The road featured tantalizing glimpses of the river dappled with sunshine, as well as huge riverfront houses with Porsches out in front. The scenic route for sure.

After we reached the hotel, I had a lovely sandwich at a little deli across the street and then ran a practice for the 8 dancers I have competing tomorrow. It was a great practice. Everyone seemed relaxed and confident, and they danced well. Plus, at the end they sat in a circle and told each other what was good about their dancing. I love my students.

Off to bed now-more tomorrow!