Monday, June 01, 2009

Stuck in time

Allison's music school had a recital this past Friday evening. It was her first ever. She played the piano (electric keyboard actually) and she did very well, we thought. Her friend, Chandler, also played piano. No stage fright among those two. (Click here to see the edited video)

The event was held at the museum courtyard at the Mission, a charming place for a gathering, especially at sunset. I would keep glancing up at the mission bell tower admiring the centuries-old rock work along with the clock that's perpetually stuck at 8:05. What would those Jesuits think to see us here today? Could they have imagined the plastic chairs and electric pianos, the cameras and cell phones? The juxtaposition of the old with the modern is something that continually fascinates me. The more we move into the future the odder and more precious man-made objects become. Especially when you consider the labor required to create them. And that is indeed what makes objects of the past so emotionally weighted. You think about the creators along with the creation. You cannot separate the two. Nobody will look at a plastic chair with the same emotion, ever

In a flash of inspiration I suggested to Allison and her girlfriends, Grace, and Chandler that when they all turn fifteen we should throw a triple Quinceanera party for them in the same spot. Where else (as teenagers) will they get the opportunity to wear a princessy evening gown? Recently we attended a Quinceanera, which is the American version of a coming-out party, or debutante debut. It too, was held at the Mission. It's certainly not all about the dresses and the party; I was very impressed with the entire ritual of introducing a young girl to the community, especially the part where she sits before the priest for a long personal lecture about her responsibilities, her duties, her attitudes, her future. Wow. There's no ambiguity in that production. A girl would come away with a very definite idea of what is expected of her, and more so, what her value is to the world. I felt it was an honor to be invited to witness the process.

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