Almost there...

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

So this weekend I was really depressed, mostly about Tigger. She's not showing any particular signs of improvement, and I've spent so much money on her in the last year (and the last week) and it just feels useless. Her nine lives seem to be up, and there's nothing going to stop that. And I'm going to miss her so much. She's been an everpresent companion for so long now. So, once I was depressed about that, everything else started looming large, from thinking about my 10 year high school reunion coming up and the eternal question of where is my life going and am I okay with that and so on and so on. Basically, I was feeling sad, the world seemed set against me, and nothing seemed to be good about my life. Well, nothing I could think of at that exact moment.

I felt much better on Sunday, and pretty much fine on Monday. And then I went to the Plough. The Plough is always so soul enriching for me, but last night was special. I started by finally completing the testing for the advanced class. Fred, Paul, and I had a special short test since we'd all been going nearly as long or longer as those who were teaching the class and setting the standards. Heck, if I lived any closer to Berkeley, I'd probably be teaching classes there by now. Heck, I dragged Forest to the Plough for the first time, and he's the one administering the test. Anyway, we passed. We all know this stuff even if we are lazy and sloppy 90% of the time. It's a relief to have that out of the way, because I'd only been allowed into the advanced classes on a guest/as needed basis for the past few months, which was very odd for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that I'd been doing this longer than either of the instructors that were requiring testing from me, and since Terry O'Neal had dragged me kicking and screaming into the advanced class back in 1995.

But anyway, that done and out of the way, I sat out the rest of the class time to have time to socialize with Fred and grab a bite to eat. In the meantime, Frank and Janelle showed up and I got to catch up with them: also a rare treat. The night got rolling and things kept getting better. Josh climbed up on the stage, made some preliminary commentary about how important Monday nights at the Plough were, and how this is where he met Magenta, so he wanted to share this with all of us, and then he got down on one knee and proposed to Magenta. Wow. The band struck up and played "Haste to the Wedding". I called out, "If you're not getting married, clear the floor!" Everyone backed away, save for Josh and Magenta, Shawna and Sherman (who became engaged last month), and Bates and Dawn (who get married in 12 days). The three of them polka'd around with everyone else looking on. It was magical. Just a special reminder of how much the Plough enriches our lives and brings us in touch with really fantastic people.

As if this wasn't enough, there was a gaggle of gents lingering in the back of the room. At once they looked perfectly a home in an Irish pub, and yet somehow not completely blending in here in Berkeley. Turns out they're visiting California on a work visa for the summer, and Aidan is a champion Irish step dancer. Some rumors placed him as somehow associated with Riverdance. He demonstrated several step dances for us, and my god it was stunning. Sitting four feet from somone dancing that quickly and with that much precision is just breathtaking. Apparently Aidan had been at Becketts on Thursday, and heard about the Plough there. Hopefully he had as much fun meeting us as we had meeting him and he'll be back again before he heads home to Ireland.

Add to this the usual helping of love and affection from friends - Bates, Dawn, Alex, Paul, Fred, Rollie, and so on - and I gotta say, there's just nothing like the Plough to reboot my spirit. There's just nothing like it anywhere in the world.

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