Big City, Bright Lights
Once my dad and I were on a trip to the Big City without mommy. I think dad had some business to handle, but I didn't worry about stuff like that then. We did some of the usual stuff, Tivoli and so on, but what stuck in my mind was an adventure we had which must have been on Saturday night.
We went to a variety show. Father told me the show was called Sesame Street. I have since come to doubt that, and I think it was a safeguard in case mom asked what we had seen in the city.
We sat eating dinner at tables while watching the show, and I remember having chocolate ice cream for desert. Any day with ice cream was like Christmas to me, and chocolate, oh dear.
There were different shows, many of them revolving around humor that I even at that age thought was a little one-dimensional. But dad's, and soon mine, favorite part was the Dancing Girls.
A big part of a show like this is of course the loud music, the flashing lights, and the many colors. I was totally hooked on that stuff at that tender age, but we all grow out of that, of course. (Don't we?) However, when the Girls came on, it all faded for me. What costumes! What glitter! What smiles! What legs!!
Dad and I did not say a word for the entire time they were on, and my ice cream melted. Sometimes I even forgot to breathe, and I had to pull the air in big gasps that would surely have worried my father had it not been for the loud music and his own preoccupation.
When their act was fading to an end, I was totally beside myself, and I felt a powerful need for solitude. I hurriedly told my father that I needed to go to the little boys' room, and dashed off. A bit too hurriedly, for I had no clue where it was, and I was way too shy to ask anybody. So I just sprinted about like the ball in a pinball machine, hoping to bump into it.
What I found first was a different room, but a fascinating room. It was not big, but it had a whole wall that was almost all mirrors, and around the mirrors were rows of light bulbs! They were not colored ones like outside, but I couldn't figure out what this was all about, so I walked in there.
Just as I was reaching out to surely burn one of my little fingers on one of the bulbs, I heard chittering in the hallway, and quickly I hid in a dark corner, trying to make myself small. I have never felt such a potent mixture of horror and elation as when I discovered than this were the Dancing Girls coming back from their act, sweating delicately like girls do, and twittering nonsense like girls do. (I thought at that time that girls twittered nonsense, but of course we all grow out of that.)
Hiding in my corner, I soon deduced the use of the light bulbs when the girls sat in front of the mirrors removing their makeup, and I saw how well and evenly their faces were lit. Also, it soon became apparent that these girls did not usually dress in fish net stockings, feather boas, and glitter. In fact, they removed it all. Completely. This was another thing entirely, and time disappeared for me.
A bit later, after all but one of the girls had left the room and I had almost stopped hyperventilating, I realized that the room would be locked soon, and that I had better get out. So I dashed out of there when the last girl had her back turned, and ran back to my father, who had just started worrying about ten minutes later than he would have on an ordinary night.
My mother always considered this the most successful trip I had ever been on, because I kept saying that I had been in heaven.