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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

jazz hands

If in fact everything we do on this earth acts like some kind of metaphysical boomerang and eventually returns to us, then somewhere along the way I did something right.


Because nobody sat next to me on today's flight.

That's right. No grumpy man to ask, do you mind? No commentary from the peanut gallery, remarking, "Boy, you sure do get comfortable!" after I have finally extricated myself from the pretzel-like position into which I had twisted my legs; and better yet, no fake smile in response. No inquisitive well-meaning person who, upon finding out why exactly I am going to Saskatoon in the first place, wants to know everything about this business, even the most insulting question: Do you get paid?

This isn't the peace corp, people.

Believe it or not, when we sign up to leave our homes and loved ones, we sort of expect a paycheck in return. And though we sing What I Did For Love every night, and sing it well, that doesn't preclude the fact that love isn't going to pay your mortgage. You can't send your credit card bills back with a kiss mark and a check for zero dollars. And though yes, we love this, we love it a lot more when it pays.

So here I am, allowing myself a good honest sprawl between two (count them: one, two!) chairs on this fine aircraft from Air Canada Jazz.

And no, that's not me being cute because I happen to like that style of dancing and don't even get me started on the music. That's really what it's called. Air Canada JAZZ. I was half hoping they'd bedazzle me with some jazz hands when I boarded the plane, but I suppose they have to save their fingers for beverage preparation and closing overhead compartments and um, the actual act of flying this plane. And I don't blame them.

But something else about jazz hands.

I dated a guy named John who was a fabulous musician. Actually, every guy I have ever dated has been a fabulous musician. All two of them. Well, three if you count the time I wasn't allowed to really date unless it was this one sweet guy who my parents' more than approved of, and so let me date him. But he was a fabulous musician too. Which wasn't my point--so let's get back on track here.

While I was dating John, my brother had written a musical. He cast it and rented a theater and directed it and everything. We were all gung-ho about it because honestly, it was great. Much better than a lot of crap poor actors are forced to learn and sell to audiences world wide. Now, I had always wanted to be in a musical, and though my brother knew this, what he needed more than one more person moonlighting on the stage was a pianist to accompany the show.

So I swallowed my disappointment, watched all my friends and siblings perform, and accompanied them with (mostly) a good attitude. I do have to say, though, that one total perk to being the maestro was the clothes. I didn't get it in my contract or anything like that, but upon finding out that I needed something respectable to wear for the performances, my mom sure did run to urban outfitters and buy me at least three black, adorable outfits.

Cha-ching.

Now who wishes they weren't in the spotlight, enjoying the accolades of the audience, but were instead seated at the piano, wearing an adorable new outfit? That's what I thought.

Anyway, there was this one song in the score that was all crazy and jazzy and have I mentioned before how I don't really read music so well? I play by ear mostly, can totally navigate through written chords, but will be reduced to plucking painfully slow if you put sheet music in front of me. So yeah, don't ask me to accompany you for an audition anytime soon. But, in order for me to help remember the feel for this one song, and because of the fact that the chords weren't as straight forward as they appeared, I wrote in big lettering on the top of the page,

JAZZ HANDS

and then proceeded to draw two sets of hands, fingers outstretched in a way that would make Corky Sinclair proud, in that classic jazz hand way.

This was my own score, so I never thought anyone would see my little reminder and didn't give it another thought other than to well, be reminded of the song's jazziness when I flipped to that particular page and saw the hands.

Until my boyfriend John came to the dress rehearsal.

John, piano genius, who sat right next to me and offered to turn pages.

And then when he saw those jazz hands...well, he laughed. And laughed some more. And wouldn't stop making jazz hands of his own. I guess he figured I could use some more reminders or something. Maybe my C's weren't sounding diminished enough or my blue notes weren't the exact right shade of blue.

He sort of made it up to me, though, when he sent me a card and compared me to a jazz chord. Nobody had ever done that before and I thought that if I were going to be anything other than me, a jazz chord would maybe be perfect. It was a sweet compliment and he didn't even mention those jazz hands in that card once.

Though we both knew he could have.

10 comments:

jason said...

You did do a great job accompanying it. And it is sad you couldn't actually BE in it, though, huh?!

Jessica Latshaw said...

yes--it was SO SAD for me!!! My one dream was to be in a musical...and then when this homeschooler finally had the chance I had to ACCOMPANY it!!! :-/

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jess.....a bit of a note to add: originally Pop & I named you Jessica Elisabeth because the girl after so many boys had to have a "J" name too but then when you were born sound asleep, I strongly felt like you were a "Sarah"--sweet & sleepy. Jessica just sounded too "jazzy" to me! That's when we added "Sarah" to your name and started calling you by that name. You were the one who changed your name back to "Jessica" at the ripe old age of 5, showing us your were quite jazzy enough to have the name "Jessica" and you've been showing us that ever since!

Mom said...

Hey, that was me!

James Ricardo The Actor said...

Well, you are in a musical now, and thank GOD, cause I wouldn't have made it without you here! LOL

And WOW so talented, that you can just write jazz hands on the top, and play chords etc, without reading music! THAT IS A GIFT! I'm very impressed!

Lastly, I was going to move out of my seat and jump on the empty seat next to you! LOL

Mandy and Jack said...

I feel you on the empty seat thing. Jack and I had one today on the way to Orlando and it was GLORIOUS!!!

Also, um, is your entire family amazing or what? Do you have some kind of spruced up filled-with-holy-water gene pool or something? Your brother WROTE AND DIRECTED A MUSICAL?? My goodness, Latshaws. Save some talent for the rest of us, will you?

Also, love jazz hands.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Mom--I like when you add a little note to my post:)

JR--I wouldn't have made it without you, either...but I'm grateful you didn't take my two seat freedom yesterday!

Mandy--yep, my whole family is pretty darn amazing.

jason said...

One time on a flight back from Europe I had a whole row to myself and I just slept like a baby. It was the first time I could ever sleep on a plane, and it was incredible.

Jessica, did you tell me you really wanted to be in it? Maybe you did and I just disregarded your wishes...

Jessica Latshaw said...

A whole row to yourself is like hitting the mile-high jackpot. Wait. Does mile-high only refer to one thing? If so, disregard that. Although, a whole row could help with THAT too, I suppose...

And I think you knew, but I think you just really needed an accompanist and had more than enough actresses, so that was that.

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