Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Day of Judging, lest I be judged. Or something.

Yesterday I listened to 56 high school flutists in the Detroit area.  As I drove out there the night before, I enjoyed the fact that I was going to a hotel by myself for a night, and that I wasn't in the nervous frenzy that I assume most of the performer were in.  I remember that night-before-contest feeling.  It's wonderful and awful.

As i sat in the hotel, on the bed (which I totally checked for bedbugs, I'll have you know.  I googled it.), I again thought of those 56 kids cleaning their flutes, checking their copies, figuring out what to wear.  And I sat and Epilady'd my legs and gave myself a facial and watched Grey's Anatomy on Netflix.  Then I painted my nails (metallic silver, fyi) and used a PedEgg to file off a few pounds of grody dead skin from my heels and toes.  Blechh.  it was very relaxing to just do all that boring girly stuff all by myself.  And I kept marveling at the difference there is, being on the 'other side of the desk,' so to speak.  I wonder if even ONE of the competitors considered that the judge might be thinking of THEM that tense night before.  I was sending them good vibes, wishing them well, and hoping they weren't being too afraid of who _I_ might be.  Would they get the scary, mean judge?  The boring one?  The smelly ugly one? (hey - it happens)

Then, charmingly, at about 2 a.m., one of my neighbors started arguing with the woman he was with.  yelling.  I ignored it for a while, but at about 3, I called the desk and asked them to please deal with it.  "OH!  Well, if anyone ELSE complains, we'll sure come up and talk to them."

... um.  Anyone ELSE?  Gah.

I turned up the fan on the heater to high to muffle the shouting and rolled over.  Sleep must have come somewhere around 4.  I had scheduled a wakeup call at 6, and set my cellphone alarm to 6:15 for some snoozing.  I got a call at 6:35.  Cellphone's ringer was turned OFFFFF.  I must have STEPPED on it during the night when I got uup to adjust the fan.  I needed to be AT the meeting for judges (15 minutes away) at 7:15.  BLAHHHH!  And I sorely needed a shower.

Quickest shower in memory... semi-dried the hair, was glad to find I had some bobby pins in my travel case, so pinned up some rolled-up pieces of hair into something resembling a 'do, dried and curled the front and a bit in the back, and remembered to toss my makeup in my purse so I could do it at the red lights.

No breakfast to be seen (thanks a lot, Day's Inn.  hide the damn breakfast room), so off I went.  To find the car frozen shut.  Michigan in January =  AWESOME.  Couldn't find address for contest, so had to get on my phone and check email, which took time, as I seemed to be in a reception black hole.  Sigh.

On the road at 7:03.  Snowwwy and icy.  Shit.  Slapped on powder base and very red lipstick at redlights, put in earrings while carefully driving on a straight part of the road.  Eyeliner at next red light.  Fluffed hair that was finally drying while driving, then slopped on some amethyst eyeshadow to match earrings at next light.  Decided against taking off glasses to do mascara, because it was too icy. 

Arrived at the location (whew) and found a spot RIGHT OUT FRONT.  Which I thanked Ganesh (or whoever is keeping track of karmic parking coincidences this week) for that.  Rummaged around for my cell charger (naturally the phone had gotten unplugged last night when I stepped on it), and then dashed in.  Remembered too late that I was still wearing my black everyday clumpy shoes, not my pretty kitten heeled silver with rhinestone sparklies pumps.  Decided I didn't care. 

Found what I thought was the judge room, but everybody looked all colorful and happy and chatty.  Whoops.  Volunteer room.  They pointed me to the _next room_ full of middle-aged men mostly in dark suits and (horrifyingly) women in sweaters with music-themed appliques.  (WHY would an adult wear such an item?  I don't care how cold it might be.  NO saxophones and eighth notes on clothing.  NONE. Please.)  They were all sitting in chairs with music stands pulled up in front of them, busily pre-signing the comment sheets (a good practice, which I quickly did as well).  The food was better in this room.  Yogurt, bagels, donuts and pastries, fruit.  Bottled water! Coffee!  The other room was just a gallon jug of OJ and some boxed donuts.  Perks of the job, I guess.

Apparently in my rush, I sat in the "piano judge" section.  You see, these things tend to fall into the following categories:
  • Piano people (thin, neat, high-strung, cheerful.  Often wearing cardigans and carrying large tote bags of supplies like hand sanitizer, nail clippers, metronomes, tissues, Tums.)
  • String people (Asian or frumpy late-middle aged white, loudly talking about suzuki and NASTA, often wearing woolen shawls, sometimes guilty of having violin-themed accessories like earrings)
  • Band Directors or Retired Band Directors (middle aged to elderly men in Republican suits, glad-handing each other and bellowing manly comments, ignoring anyone else.  often wear a lapel pin showing an association to a music fraternity, a team or university, or social lodge like the Elks)
  • Young/New Enthusiasts (mostly men, but some more group-sports type women; very clean. Respectfully and conspicuously  listening to the BDs, but then breaking off into smaller groups, and gossiping about people they know from college and high school.  Often casting furtive glances at the BDs to make sure they haven't left yet. These are usually either student teachers or first/second year band/orchestra teachers.  Many just graduated from the local universities.)
  • The Girls (usually woodwind people, some who teach in schools part time, or are private teachers.  Usually the best dressed, with makeup reflecting the actual current trends.  Eyeing each other competitively.)
I was running late, so I didn't bother to move.  Plus, I hate "the Girls."  I don't need that crap.  I'm here to get paid.

Now, I just got invited to judge this contest maybe 2 weeks ago.  Another flute teacher in my town (who mostly retired from flute to run an import store in town) HAD been contracted to do it, but her store was moving to a new location and the move was happening this weekend.  So they called me to sub.  IMagine my excitement to be the Backup Judge.  Sigh.

So I had to go through each and every of the 56 sheets and sign each sheet, And I had to carefully cross out HER name and print my name below.  Yeah.  Made me feel so vital to the system.  "Hey KID.  You got the SECOND CHOICE judge today! Congrats!"

So much more to tell.  I am cold though, and must go warm up.  (note to self: get space heater for basement)

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