Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Scariest And Funnest Day in Wmsbrg

A couple of women I work with--Other Nicole and Erin--and I decided to have a Sewing Day yesterday, just to do something different. We all wanted to make period clothes, in a period manner, as well as hang out and chat. I'm working on a suit of clothes--right now I have the linen for the shirt, and I'm slowly putting it together. Sewing period is a little different from modern sewing, as I'm learning. Even the stitches are different, and the seam allowances are smaller. The good part about it is that it's harder to screw up, since you're making garments without a pattern and you can ease and fudge the fabric until it works. The bad part is...there's no pattern. (BTW, I ordered my linen from Wm Booth, Draper, a website that is based in Wisconsin--lots of pretty period stuff and they are really prompt with the shipping.)

Erin was driving up from Hampton, so Nicole and I said we'd meet her at Panera for lunch. On the way there, driving through the parking lot, we were saw a car suddenly screech up and stop. A woman jumped out of the driver's door, and when I rolled down my window, she said "Call 911, my mother's having a seizure!" Suddenly our average, boring Saturday disappeared. I could feel Nicole fumbling for her cell, and since she knew better than I where we were, I leapt out of the car to see if I could help. I've taken CPR classes from the Red Cross, but it's been awhile. But I remembered that a seizure victim should be kept from banging their head around, and--once the seizure passed--to make sure she wasn't choking. I was totally unprepared though, for the sight of a woman in the throes of a grande le mal seizure. When I opened the back door on the passenger side of the car, my heart nearly stopped. The woman there was clenching her teeth and shuddering, and her face was going slightly white-blue. I think my mind must have clicked into super-hyper-memorisation mode, because everything I saw from that point on is etched pretty well into my memory, but I'll spare you the details. I felt for a pulse on her neck and then held her head, trying to decide if the seizure had passed. I could see she wasn't breathing, so I tried to open her mouth. I was ready to do rescutative breathing, but at that point she started breathing on her own again. Not normal breathing, but gaggedy, half-breaths, like someone was pumping on her lungs. I could hear her daughter on the phone explaining her medical history to the paramedics. Meanwhile, I'm patting the woman's head and telling her that we've called 911 and to try to hang on. It was very frightening, but I was trying to be calm and helpful. The woman who stopped us turned out to be a nurse, so she was also calm and collected in this situation, taking her mother's pulse and relaying information on Nicole's cell.

Somewhere in the middle of all this Erin showed up, and then a few minutes later the paramedics arrived. They loaded the unconscious woman into the ambulance, and shut the door. It got very quiet all of a sudden, and I wasn't really sure what to say to the daughter. She thanked us profusely for stopping and so we finally just left. When I got back into the car to go to the restaurant, the trauma of what had happened hit me, and I had to cry for a minute or two. It felt very weird to be going into a restaurant and ordering sandwiches...I remember thinking "I have to go wash my hands, they were in someone's mouth." But we stayed at Panara for nearly two hours, just talking about theatre, and families and CW, and gradually Saturday resumed some of its normalcy. I'm glad that I wasn't a useless wreck in a situation like that but...I think I'm going to sign up for a CPR refresher course.

The rest of the afternoon we spent sewing. Well, Nicole and Erin cut and draped and discussed trimmings, I mostly sat on the sofa practising my handstiches, nursing Midol and wailing about my continued state of spinsterhood (yes, on top of everything else, I got my Friend yesterday too). I did get most of my shirt cut out though, so maybe this afternoon I'll put P&P on and practise my mantua maker's stitch. We ordered calzones the size of footballs for dinner, along with tiramisu, and then watched "Marie Antoinette" until it was time to go to the movie theatre.

Unlike the rest of the world, we had decided to go see "Mama Mia!" opting for light, fluffy, musical, instead of dark, brooding, angst. I'm glad we saw it. I knew it was going to be cheesy and possibly horrible, but instead it was cheesy and incredibly fun and funny. The story takes places on a Greek island, so right away I was in love with it--especially the "Greek chorus" of peasants who popped up in random places to provide backup singers to the main characters. And of course, Meryl Streep was a joy to watch. Even when she was singing cheesy ABBA songs and dancing around in spandex, she can still out-act anyone on screen. By the end of the movie, the jokes and the music had gotten so good that there was literally a ten-minute period where I did not stop laughing. Although part of that might have been various associations that we made on our own, including Colin Firth's "have you ever tried...not being a mutant?" scene on the boat and Pierce Brosnan's wholehearted attempt to rock out. I also appreciated all the beach scenes with the young, hot Greek men dancing around in swimming gear, and Julie Water's use of the word "epharisto" before she bites off the cap of a Mythos beer and chugs it. Ah, Greece.

So yesterday was a very weird day. Alternately terrifying and incredibly entertaining. And also just a lot of fun. It was great to hang out with people who are near to me in age and share my theatrical passions and who don't mind if I get out my soapbox once in a while. Next time though, we may have to be sewing on ABBA costumes...Hallowe'en is coming up, after all...


Diane Fields said...

Mamma Mia what an experience you went thru and i thought it was so brave of you-you rock Nicki.
I love Meryl Streep and will probably sit thru it also. Batman"The Dark Knight" is raking in tons of money.
When i was in college i studied everything acting but costumes-i admire you.
Anywayi am around.

p.s. you should try New York City for playwrighting-my husband knows a musician that plays for broadway sometimes.

Laura said...

OH MY GOD thatguy is played by Colin Firth! Now I HAVE to illegally download this movie. I love the soundtrack and I'm dying to see it. I had a fantastic weekend - the best weekend I've had so far in Romania - and I'm still jealous you got to just hang out and chill and talk with friends for two hours in a Panera and go to a MOVIE and eat CALZONES. Oh, whimper. Can't wait for you to visit me here. Can't wait to talk soon! Miss you!