An Evening at the Ballet

My favorite pastime is to watch someone performing a task that they know well.  I’m sitting here at McDonald’s . . yes, McDonald’s! . . . watching the ballet behind the counter.

The shift manager, switching gracefully between Spanish and English, has complete control. She choreographs the stage with the confidence of the greatest mistress. Her ballet company each aware of the other’s move as they have practiced every day. They make it look easy, as if one who had never seen the dance before, could slip in seamlessly.

There is one at the front, awkward and stiff, smiling nervously. If that weren’t obvious enough, he is overseen by a small girl watching his hands, his register, checking the receipts and listening to his customers. Quiet boredom resides behind her eyes. She is eager for this student to dance on his own.

I love to watch my local barista, the piano tuner, the window dresser, the phlebotomist, the forklift operator.  I’m a regular balletomane.  At some point, we were all beginners at what we do.  Even the experts had to learn all the moves; the arabesque, the glissade, the pirouette.  I like to watch and wonder what took the most practice to learn?  What adds the most drudgery to the day?  Why is it done that way, and what in the world is that thing?

Sometimes you are going to find performers who just should not have made the cut.  As with any stage, “the show must go on!”  Other ballerinas react quickly, the mistakes are covered, the ballet continues.

And at the end of the day, even those of us who dance at our desk are ready to go home.  We release our weary feet from our shoes.  We massage our aching muscles.  We offer our final reverence before preparing to do it all again tomorrow for a new audience.

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About Jean

Trying to make sense of it all and . . . for the most part . . . doing it. View all posts by Jean

8 responses to “An Evening at the Ballet

  • Ad-libb3d

    I love the application of the analogy, Jean. I truly never thought of it that way, which is strange given that both my daughters are ballet dancers. So very nicely done.

  • Adam S

    I’m with Ad-libb3d, Jean. What a cool post. I’m also an observer of people. And like you, regardless of what it is that people do for a living or for play, its always cool to observe a master at work. I was going to write something trashy about drive through workers– I think I’ll hold off for now… 😉

    • Jean

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.

      Don’t hold back, Adam. Let the drive-throughs have it! I enjoy a rant as well as the next person . .

      • Adam S

        Jean, I would like to honor you with the “Blogger Idol” award. Visit the Trophies and Stuff tab on my page to claim! Thank you!

      • Jean

        I am so honored to be chosen by you for that! What you said about my blog — touches me to the core. 🙂 I wish I would post more too! You ought to see how many I spend an hour or TWO writing, and then save it to drafts, because I think, “Aw heck, where was I going with this?” So frustrating. And then the big guy comes in and turns on the t.v. and I’m done.

        Also, I really like your Awards and Trophies page. I may have to copy. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery . .

      • Adam S

        I mean it. I’ll be keeping an eye out — I know what I like reading, and I like reading your stuff. I’m the exact same way — still shocked that I’ve managed to write as much as I have in the past three months. Who cares where it’s going? Sometimes those are the best posts – a “stream of consciousness” tells a lot about the writer, and I think they make for interesting reads. There’s always a story within the story. A good reader will pick up on that.

        Thank you, and copy away!!

  • everydaybuckle

    Reblogged this on The Everyday Buckle of Isis and commented:
    I loved this! So very insightful and articulate.

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