Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Princess and the Pauper

Starring the Princess Dialta Alliata di Montereala as the Princess, Prince Vittorio as the family scion, and me as the pauper.

Peter and I had been trying to make plans to hang out and catch up, but his work with Tau Dance Theater keeps him running non-stop when he's on island. The only way to catch up was to start running myself. Or, if not run myself, at least ride shot gun. So after work he swung by my place and I jumped in for a short night of adventure.

Our first stop was the Princess's house. She's been a major patron of Tau for the past couple years, and this night he had promised to help one of her daughters with a video project.

Intellectually, I know there's nothing special about royal titles. Anyone can discover royal blood if they dig back far enough, and follow the right lineage. Geneticists now say that all of us are descended from one of 10 Adams and 18 Eves, and anyone with English or Danish blood should be able to trace their ancestry back to Charlemagne.

So no big deal. We're all the children of royalty. And slaves - it goes both ways. One side of my family chopped the heads of the other side of the family, then their children moved tot he colonies and made babies. Story of American, right there.

But sometimes I'm a bad anarchist, and I was looking forward to meeting my first active royals (those aging queens who belatedly discover a long-lost pedigree don't count) - although with a touch of gentle malice. I was sure they'd be awful at best, and bores at worst.

I was wrong. They were charming. The children were beautiful, the adults intelligent - it was not what I expected at all.

We entered the house, then Peter called on his cell phone to find out what wing they were in. We found them on the garden lanai - among others the prince, a few of the princesses junior, an author, and Ann Strasberg (wife of Lee Strasberg). Peter disappeared with apologies, and I did my best to integrate.

And proceeded to have complete conversation envy. Everyone spoke in complete sentences and full thoughts, they listened to each other, they didn't interrupt each other, no one tried to dominate - the conversation wasn't about anything special, but it was so damn civilized. It was a pleasure to listen to.

What do you do? One asked. Uh oh. I work for the state, I'm an environmental planner ... and I don't even get out ten words but I can see disappointment dull their eyes. But I used to be interesting! I want to assure them.

The conversation moves on. Join in, I think. Be witty. Say something interesting. Or better yet, says the more cynical part of my brain, just sit there and be pretty, ya stupid hick, and whatever you do don't open your mouth.

Anyways, I talked a bit, then was abandoned in the garden as the Princess took the other guests on a tour of her bedroom. She apologized for leaving me, then waved at an unfinished glass of wine and told me to finish it.

I guess I won't be marrying into royalty anytime soon.

Back to my world, and the life I understand. Peter picked up a bottle of wine, and I fried up some carnitas and black beans & we settled down for grinds at my place. This I can do: casual, and low stress.

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