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OMG, you guys! OMG! Anna and Joseph are amazingly amazing! I think I want to steal them. Ugh, they're ridiculously cute together, bantering all the time and horsing around with various utensils (Joseph decided he wanted to keep the straw so that he could have a baton or a gavel with which to command everyone's attention). They put me between them in one of those ridiculous little round booths at Flying Star so they could talk to me and talk over me and generally leave me giggling helplessly at their utter silliness.

You know, I'd forgotten how much I love theatre people. Theatre people are honest and open and love to talk shop. Theatre people know the value of a good tip. And, best of all, theatre people know how to kvetch. I mean, if you're going to point out all the myriad and manifold things that get on your wick, you can't just sit there and whine about it. No, you have to see the humor and the irony in it all and possibly act the whole thing out with exaggerated hand gestures and funny voices. That is real kvetching and that is what theatre people do.

For example, a few bites into our lunch, Joseph smiles this funny little smile and says, "So, now that I'm not your teacher anymore and can actually ask you these things... what do you think about the atmosphere at the studio?" From there we launched into a giant discussion of the many indignities he and Anna had to suffer at the hands of his employers, including everything from them accusing him of being snotty and vain to them butting in on his lessons to correct him. We talked about how much everyone at the studio looked down on international style ballroom and intelligent conversation. And we expressed our collective horror of the entire faculty (Joseph excluded) being chain smokers. We came to the conclusion that the three of us were--and in my case, still are--clearly the odd ducks out. Joseph was frequently given the silent treatment, Anna was harassed in Joseph's behalf, and I was teased constantly about being quiet and studious and able to understand (if not always implement) the technique described in the ISTD manual.

Joseph also told me that he set out especially to keep me entertained during group classes. The veiled insults and the references and the obvious bullshit were as much for my amusement as they were for his. His example was his claim that the arm slide in meringue was "an old favorite," a step he loved well, when he knew that I knew he had learned the entire curriculum for the class an hour before. He also said that he loathed and detested the practice parties and that I was the one thing that made them even remotely bearable because I followed well, could talk about intelligent things during boring slow dances, and didn't really give a flying fuck when he messed up. He also confessed his strategic exit strategy for all country western numbers to Anna, who found it just as funny as I did the first time I watched him stride off to the other room as though he actually had something important to do there. We all agreed it was very louche.

And, when we finally got that mess out of our systems, we then dove into a discussion of books, movies, miniseries, and history. Anna confessed that she was twisted and found Poe's "The Black Cat" funny, much to Joseph's horror. And Joseph described a ridiculous French movie called "Posession" that involved tentacle sex. He sounded bizarrely fascinated while Anna and I sat in horrified shock. They also sent me off with a long list of book and film recommendations. Once I finish the books Joseph gave me a month or so ago, I will get started on that lot.

Of course, being a dancer and a dancer's wife, they went on at length about the dance scene in L.A. and how they would absolutely love to have me out there with them, taking lessons from the real professionals and watching me get molded (like a jelly) into an elegant competitive dancer. We exchanged contact information and offered each other floors/couches/various other horizontal surfaces to sleep on should we ever decide to visit in each other's cities. We promised to keep in touch. Joseph asked me to call if I ever needed dance advice, or as Anna said, "to just shoot the shit." I told them they could do the same.

Essentially, lunch was utterly fantastic. We thoroughly enjoyed each other's company and conversation and were devastated when Joseph realized they still had five more hours of packing and moving to do and that they had to leave. They're going to fit in fine when they move to L.A. Anna is going to be a brilliant high school English teacher and Joseph is going to continue to be an amazing magician/dancer/writer/actor, doing all the things he loves. I will miss them like I'd miss an amputated limb and the studio will never be quite as inviting or glamorous without them there.

I wish them all the best, a safe flight, and the biggest hug ever to be given that side of the New Mexico/Arizona border.

I shall write them an e-mail tomorrow to make sure they're alright and that everything goes through.

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marvinstwin

May 2009

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