Monday night was Ethan's first band performance at a football game. He had to audition for it, so he was pretty excited. Ironically, though, his initial reaction to being selected was rather ambivalent--he wasn't sure he wanted to go after all because he didn't want people to stare at him.
When the big moment came, he was beaming as he took his turn on the quads. He didn't spot us for the longest time, and I could tell he was scanning the stands for us. I kept waving as casually as possible, but Bill finally made me stop. When Ethan finally saw us, he gave a big grin, but then he caught himself and turned away as if he didn't know us.
It was fun listening to all the songs he's been practicing for weeks: Funky Town, Go Fight Win!, the Darth Vader Star Wars theme. The difference is that you could actually recognize the songs; at home all we hear is the rhythm, typically beaten out on the brick hearth, the ottoman cushion, or even the hardwood floor when Ethan thinks I'm not looking.
The band sounded shockingly good compared to the concerts we endured last year. Maybe it was the auditions. In any case, I found myself tapping my foot and bobbing my head, but only in the most inconspicuous way, of course.
Allyson was bursting with sisterly pride. When the lady next to us asked if she had a big brother on the football team, she said, "No, my brother makes music... to celebrate the game. His name is Ethan." (This was a word-for-word rendition of the explanation I'd given her on the way to the game, other than the part about his name being Ethan.)
Allyson's pride dissipated as the temperature dropped. As we snuggled on the bleachers, she kept up an incessant stream of whining. She alternated between, "Can we go buy a snack? PLEASE?" and "Is it time to go home yet? Is it time NOW?"
When she wasn't busy griping, Allyson turned her energies to embarrassing us. At one point, I caught her rubbing the leg hair of the middle schooler on the row behind us. "I'm sorry!" I said, and he just laughed.
"Why did you DO that?" I hissed.
"I just wanted him to see my cute face," she explained.
"Well, don't touch people's legs," I admonished. "In fact, don't touch people at all."
She did something even worse on the way out. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Allyson was temporarily diverted when she recognized the Huskies Fight Song, which Ethan had made us practice over and over. He'd hum the tune while he did the percussion, and then he'd do little drum rolls while we chanted, "H!... U!... S!... K!... I!... E!... S!" I loved messing with him by spelling it wrong (Huskys) or shouting "Huskies!" after the spell-out, and each time he'd yell at me and say we had to start the song over. But now that it was go time, Allyson and I performed flawlessly.
Bill almost fell off the bench each time I shouted "H!" because his ear was right in my line of fire. "Sheeze!" he complained the first time. "Do you have to yell?"
"Yes!" I said. "I know Ethan's going to be watching." Sure enough, Ethan's face lit up when he saw me yelling to his drum rolls. All seven times they played the fight song, he sought me out to make sure I was still chanting.
About halfway through the game, I realized that I had not brought my camera. "Oh, man!" I moaned, already thinking of my non-illustrated blog entry. I brightened when I remembered Bill's cell phone--which he hadn't brought, unfortunately. "I wish my phone had a camera," I said. Bill gave me an odd look and started to open his mouth just as I said, "Oh, yeah. It does have a camera. But it's a pretty crappy one."
"You don't need to take a picture."
"Yes I do! It's his first game." I fumbled with my phone and finally figured out how to use the crappy camera. I took a couple of shots, but even though we were pretty close and Ethan was standing under a flood light, the blonde kid on the drums could have been anyone. I took a closeup of Allyson, and at least you could tell that she's pretty darn cute.
"I wonder how I could get the pictures onto the computer," I mused.
Again, Bill gave me a bemused look. "Maybe you can hold the camera in front of the computer and say, 'Camera! Transfer pictures!'" he suggested.
I punched him in the leg. "My phone's not that fancy.... What I mean is that other people have Internet access on their phones, and they can email their pictures or upload them to Facebook," I explained. "So, smarty pants, how can I get the pictures onto the computer?"
"Use a USB cable," he said.
"Oh," I said. "Of course."
By 8:30, the game was over and my lips were getting blue. Also, my hands were numb from clapping; the Huskies won the game 16 to 6!
Now, for Allyson's final mischief.... You know how kids like to run a stick across the rungs of a fence? Well, Allyson did that with her hand and the legs of the people that we passed. One of the men was at just the right height that she sort of slapped his butt. "ALLYSON!" I shrieked.
"Sorr-ry!" she said, not the least bit apologetic. Luckily, the man didn't seem to know who had touched him, so we beat a hurried retreat. Ethan was helping put the instruments away at that moment, so he didn't have to share in the mortification; otherwise, we might be banned from the next game.
Ethan was pretty jubilant on the ride home, though he tried to hide it. All in all, it was a great way to spend an evening.