Monday, January 09, 2006

Party-sewing interruption

Last week was very intense. Not only were we trying to plug B back into school & the home routines associated with school, but I was trying to get costumes made for my husband & me to wear to our first-ever costume ball. As of Wednesday I was still cutting fabric out... but it all came together in 2 very intense days of sewing & we were well & fully garbed Saturday night. I was able to sew during school times & then do the hand-stitching of hems, etc. while watching tv with B for after-school down-time, so I don't think he even noticed any absences on my part.

The costume ball was the usual Department of Medicine party that we go to every year, but they decided to jazz things up this year with the costume thing. Being true-blue Harry Potter fans, we went as Dumbledore & McGonagall. It helped that C is quite tall & thin & so he channeled the Richard Harris incarnation nicely. I had been looking for a reason to make myself a set of wizard robes so now I have them- in black satin with a crimson-lined hood & draw-string purse to match! For C I made an under-robe of plain fabric & a mantle of gold-dusted polar fleece (of all things!) with gold-trimmed hat to match. He also had a beard & wig & used the fancy bag his Alivans wand had come in (Christmas prezzie from me) to hold his car keys, wallet, & other wizardly necessities. :) All of C's partners (who went to the party) wore tuxes/party clothes & masks. C refused to divulge anything at all about our costumes except to their PA from whom he borrowed the half-spectacles that he needed to complete his costume. I think the combination of realising that no-one would recognise him in the beard & hair & his partners' rather squirrelly reaction to the idea of dressing-up (making the whole thing seem rather daring) was what led C to break with some of the conventions usually observed at these sorts of parties. Conventions such as: 'only speak to the people you know' & 'don't talk to the mucky-mucks to whom you are just a cog in the wheel'.... Over lunch on Saturday he told me that he planned to introduce himself as Albus Dumbledore to everybody, kiss the women's hands (giggle) & stick with it until they asked him who he was. I decided to hang back a bit if we were approaching people we knew, so I wouldn't give him away too soon.

To be honest, we were a bit nervous going in... nearly everyone was dressed for a party, with just a mask to make it "costume", & a brave few of us in real costumes (royalty, musketeers, one guy came as a nun :). The reactions to our costumes were quite wonderful. Thanks to C's forethought, I met & spoke to folks I'd never seen before. Most everyone knew who were were supposed to be, or came up to us & asked. It led to some great HP conversations which led to talking about kids & grandkids- always enjoyable. C's partners & other colleagues who knew him were in hysterics when they saw me & realised who the tall, old guy with me must be. We had requests for photo-ops & many thought the costumes were purchased, leading to nice compliments for me (blush, grin). What I enjoyed the most was the smiles... so many people just smiled when we walked by. The doctor crowd can be so hierarchical & stuffy- it was fun to think this could be pleasantly upset with a bit of courage. It made me think of the Mediaeval Feast of Fools celebrations (John Matthews explains it in his Winter Solstice book) where the social order was intentionally upset for a day & the lowest were treated like kings. What better way to discover what you have in common with people you'd never speak to or be spoken-to by? As I think of it... there are some who dismiss the non-physician spouses of their colleagues (not among our friends) as unworthy of notice. When C revealed that I had made our costumes, it made me worthy of note in a way I'm usually not (to this crowd). No wonder it felt so nice...


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