It was with great anticipation that I readied myself for Norwich High School's Saturday night performance of Phantom of the Opera. NHS has a reputation for top notch drama. Last year they performed Les Mis. It knocked me out.
This year it's the Phantom. My son, Ben, was the auctioneer, among other parts, and the first one of the cast to speak. Theater is a new venture for him, and I was as proud as a mama could be.
"Why are all the car doors locked with the keys inside?" Cory asked early Saturday afternoon. Cory has a reputation for joking around, but he wasn't kidding. No problem, I thought, we will just take the 12 passenger van....aka Moby Dick Jr.
Some new friends were joining us for appetizers from a nearby town so I went about my day to prepare for their visit. Until I remembered my purse was in the car with the keys. And the tickets.
Last week when this happened, Captain Fun, who has a reputation for coming to my rescue, was able to use a coat hanger and get the door unlocked. He tried, but no such luck this time, he said, as the door that was slightly ajar before was shut tight.
I texted another friend who has a reputation for empathy. "New complication. Locked the keys in the car with the tickets."
"Do you have a spare?" She texted back.
"It's in my purse. In the car. With the tickets."
Then came the empathy I was looking for. She texted me her own story of locked car doors. "Is the car running?" she asked. "Silas is not in the car, is he?"
Silas, who has his own reputation, would have driven away in the van and taken some girls from his preschool to the show. No. He is inside with me. The car is in the garage. With the keys. And my purse. And the tickets.
One thing I have learned about the NHS drama productions--they sell out every time. I was thinking of how I could convince the doorman that I bought my tickets weeks ago, hoping I had a reputation for honesty.
Maybe I could call one of the directors and explain, I thought, but I quickly decided against it. Disorganized people like myself can be very high maintenance--a reputation I didn't want to get in our little town.
My friends arrived and I showed them around. Then I came out with it. "I locked our tickets in the car. With the keys. And my purse." They went easy on me, perhaps because we are too newly acquainted for them to know my reputation.
No problem, I concluded. We will just go earlier than planned and beg for more tickets. I didn't mind buying them twice, but at just $5 each for such quality theater, the show was certain to be sold out.
As I climbed into Moby II, I had the thought to look in the door's little cubby. Something shiny caught my eye. It was, indeed, a key to the van that I had lost last fall. Of course it makes perfect sense that it would be in the door of the 12 passenger. If you're me, anyway.
When we arrived, the doorman was announcing the show was sold out. The line wound down the hall for what seemed like half a mile. But we got in. With our tickets. And my purse. And the keys.
And Ben nailed it. In fact, the whole cast nailed it. The production was an absolute smash. Three shows, all sold out.
Norwich High School lived up to its reputation for excellence in theater.
And, sadly, I lived up to my reputation of being very forgetful and disorganized.
I regularly wish I was more together, orderly, organized and structured. And I will never cease to be amazed by people who are naturally so. But meanwhile, I roll with it. Yes, I get tired of my lost keys and my scatterbrained ways. I grow frustrated over how much longer everything takes because I so often have to backtrack. And I really worry about the example I am setting for my kids.
But secretly I am hoping that they remember me not for my forgetful ways but for how I roll with the challenges of being absentminded. It is an issue I have to face every single day. One I really have trouble overcoming. But I do my best. And I will never quit trying.
After all, what choice do I have? I have a reputation to keep, you know.
PS If you're like me, here's a song for you.