Three Kid Circus : Aspirations

Sunday, August 22, 2004


My sister is an aspiring opera singer. She is also an accomplished pianist. For 17 years, she has run her own successful piano studio. She has endured children licking the entire circumference of her grand piano. She has survived students who don't practice, parents who expect miracles and people who 'forget' to pay. She has worked long and hard to reach her goal of making a living as a singer. This last week, she flew to New York and met with three agents. All are eager to work with her, and feel that she has a bright career ahead of her.

She returns today, and I am bursting with excitement. I want to hear all the gory details.

For most of my life, I have distinguished myself by NOT distinguishing myself. I'm the middle child, and I like to do what I want without attracting too much attention. Except blogging. I seem to crave buckets of approval for my blog. Anyway...

My sister and I are 18 months apart. We are polar opposites - she is dedicated, I am flighty. She loves to run. I love to watch other people run. Hah! She is sincere, whereas I am sarcastic. We are a great team. She is frightened of my life as a married mom of three, and I am wary of her life as a single musician, shooting for the stars.

When meeting acquaintances of my parents, I was always asked, "Are you the pianist?" and I would say "No, that's my sister." Black belt in Tae Kwon Do, opera singer, actress, girl who speaks 5 languages, Ms. Blah de blah 1991? Nope. You got the wrong girl. Then they would ask me, "What do YOU do?" Uh, I dunno. Now, I have a husband and children to wave around. Back in the day, it made for some awkward conversation.

This sounds bitter. I assure you it is not. I enjoy being a bit of an enigma. Or a dullard, take your pick. I just figure that if you are outside the spotlight, you can get away with murder.

When I first heard that my sister was traveling to New York City, I was so jealous. I entertained the fantasy of going along. It put me in mind of our trip around Japan when we were 16 and 14 years old. We spent three weeks in Osaka with a group of American students assembled and led by my fearless mom. At the conclusion of those three weeks, my mom took the rest of the kids home, and my sister and I went on a whirlwind tour of Japan.

We had hosted 15 exchange students from Japan over the years, and my mom had arranged for us to spend time with each of them. We were treated like visiting royalty. We traveled by planes, trains and automobiles. We discovered that our different abilities served us well, when we teamed together. I could understand Japanese, and she could put the words together to communicate.

It was on this trip that we gave each other the affectionate monikers "Dumb-ass" (me) and "Bitch-face." We went to Australia's gold coast the following summer, and it was DA and BF, part two. Honestly, watching that Amazing Race, I have fantasies of DA and BF RIDE AGAIN! We could be dominant, man. Except that it always seems to come down to a foot race at the end, and well, I don't like to run. Or bungee jump, and that seems to be a factor, too. Hmm.

A girlfriend told me the other day that if my life was a reality series, she'd be hooked. Why? What is so interesting? I actually live in fear that one day, my mom is going to make good on her threats to sign me up for a makeover show on a daytime talk show or the local news channel. I would probably be the best show ever, but hey! Don't get any ideas, yo.

In the same vein, I have long suspected that a round of finishing school would have been a good idea for me. I don't want to ooze pretensions, but I'm a little shaky on social graces.

"I taught you all that stuff," says my mom, indignantly.

"I know, I know."

On the recommendation of a friend of a friend, I got myself a series of DVDs that are supposed to teach me the basics of Grace, Beauty and Elegance. I made it about 10 minutes into the one about proper speech before I slapped the couch and yelled uncle. It's narrated by a woman whose perfect diction seems robotic. And then they have this soft-core footage of a woman practicing her vocal exercises in the shower while languidly washing herself. Huh?

I'm sure the information is good, and I will soldier on. If nothing else, it will make excellent comedy fodder, in which I mock all that is Graceful, Beautiful and Elegant.