Thursday, January 23, 2014

A very short story: Penguins

One never knows what could happen each and every day. For most of us, including myself, the days activities aren't that much different from each other. Go to work, eat breakfast lunch and dinner, exercise, do a hobby or practice something, relax, go to bed; this about sums it up. But once in a while as you go about your day, eyes half shut, brain in neutral, body in autopilot, something changes that jump starts everything.

Today was that day.

My day started out like every other. I begrudgingly rose out of bed, made breakfast, called a friend, answered emails, did some light stretching, and packed my bag for work. It was a nice day. The sun was shining, the wind wasn't blowing too hard and the temperature wasn't too cold. It was a short twenty minute walk and a typical beginning of the work day. I put the towel on the heater to dry, grabbed my dress for the show and sat down to apply all the makeup. After I finished, I hurried upstairs to retrieve my violin and electronic equipment from the sound booth and headed backstage to finish last minute details before the first show.

One of the last things I do before each show, after I've tuned and warmed up and put the violin in its styrofoam box, is move from the office backstage to a little dresser and chair right behind stage door right. As I sit in the chair I can see the dolphin holding tank and I watch all their antics every day. Today as I applied my lipstick something caught my eye. Something seemed to be moving and it wasn't in the water. I peered around my mirror and there they were, two little penguin staring up at me. "What is she doing? Why is she here?" I could hear them thinking as they cocked their heads from one side to the other. My jaw dropped and my brain spun. I was still in neutral and not prepared for wayward penguins wandering around backstage, potentially becoming the dolphins newest and greatest play toys.

We stared at each other until my brain kicked into gear. I picked up my jaw, excused myself around the penguins and, realizing that my entrance cue was only a minute or less away, scurried back to the office to try and alert someone to the newly mobilized members of the penguin community. Forgetting that English is not the native language here, I started shouting "Loose penguins! Loose penguins!"  It wasn't long before one of the penguins went wobbling past the doorway I was standing in, heading toward the stage left entrance which has no door. Later when I was safely out laying 'unconscious' in my boat, I chucked to myself how funny it would have been to add penguins to the show. Although they would have stolen the show, so in retrospect, I'm glad they weren't involved (just being selfish)!

Unfortunately I completely missed what was surely an hysterical feat of penguin wrangling because after I alerted people, I then had to hurry back, grab my violin in its box and head out to my boat for the show. 

But my imagination runs wild nonetheless of Koreans chasing around trying to herd the penguins away from the stage and the dolphin tank and the walrus and the sea lions and into a crate. To add to my imaginations amusement, there is also the mix of Russian and Polish girls curious to watch but most certainly in the way.  Penguins going this way, Koreans going that way, European girls going another way.  It's like a comedy plot for a musical chase scene. 

By the end of the show, when I returned to the office the penguins were staring up at me from a crate, heads straight up and eyes almost glaring like, "You gave us away! How could you do that? We thought you were an animal lover!" I ducked away as quickly as I could to avoid the angry stares and the accusatory squawks emanating from the crate, wishing verbal English apologies were communicable to penguins.

The mornings adventure ended and the day continued on; the brain back to neutral, the body back on autopilot and the eyes, well, sometimes all the way shut :)  It certainly was an adventure I won't forget for a long time. It's not just any workday morning that a penguin interrupts.