While the Orchestra waited in the wings to perform at the KCK Mayor's event, I spotted Wanda - a clarinet player. Out of the 40 - 45 orchestra members, she stuck out because she was NOT wearing the proper attire. Instead of donning the super-duper very UNflattering blue polo and matching Santa cap........complete with yarn ball at the tip for those that didn't click on the link below...... Wanda was wearing a beautiful deep red sheath gown, a long, black, sateen cardigan and most importantly... NOT the Santa cap. (I had been cornered about 10 minutes earlier and was given the hat and felt obliged to put it on. I'm already one of the weakest players, I was NOT going to be the Grinch of the violin)
"Well don't you look fabulous."
"Thanks. I'm going to the Fireman's Ball after this. It was either wear the blue shirt and NOT go or wear this and hurry on over there when this is done."
But all I heard was "...blah blah blah FIREMEN WHO WILL BE DRINKING AND HAVING A GOOD TIME blah blah blah..."
I have never disliked Wanda, but at that very moment I couldn't help but feel a little bit of jealously towards her. Hot Firemen. Dancing. Pretty party dresses and did I mention HOT FIREMEN? MY Friday night plans revolved around a David Sedaris novel and picking out a color to paint my toenails. I wasn't going to actually paint them until Saturday night, however I wanted to get picking the color out of the way.
"Wow! The Fireman's Ball, huh? How fun! If you see a hot, single one - snag him for me."
"Well, do you want to come? I have an extra ticket."
After coming up with every excuse in the book (nothing to wear, wouldn't know anyone, was going to the gym early in the morning....), my stand partner told me she was going to kick my ass if I didn't go. I accepted Wanda's invitation and I hoped to hell I didn't chicken out. After the concert she gave me the ticket, her phone number and directions. I was going to rush home, find something to wear and race to the ball. Kinda like Cinderella - but instead of chores, I had to shave my legs before I was allowed to go to the ball.
Most of my regular clothes are too big on me these days and my fancier, dress & party clothes are even more Sad Sack-ly than usual. I tried on a couple of different things and was having a wardrobe meltdown when Wanda called.
"Just checking on ya, my other friends are on their way. See you soon!"
"I'm leaving in 5 minutes" I lied.
It was more like 30.
I pulled myself together and dove back into my closet one more time. Sure it wasn't going to be a fancy gown or the perfect fit - but I wasn't going to let that stop me from going to the effing Fireman's Ball.
It wasn't the fanciest ensemble, but I think I looked pretty darn cute.
And I FELT pretty darn cute too! The ticket said "Coat and Tie" and I've been waiting for an opportunity to wear my gold, metal bow tie necklace.
(one more pic for good measure)
I met up with Wanda and her friends Kathy and Joy. Soon after, I meet Wanda's fireman friend - Gino. Gino the Wino. His own nickname for himself, not mine.
And BOY HOWDY could Gino dance. I spent most of the night dancing with him and the rest of the ladies. Wanda and her friends were at least 20 years my senior and the funnest penta and senta-generationals I've partied with in a looooong time. We were both wine tipsy and Kathy insisted on dragging me up to someone she thought I should "go with."
"Hi! What's your name? Meet my new friend Natasha. Go Dance."
I eventually had to ask her to stop trying to pass me out like Halloween Candy, I was beyond flattered, but I think our approach was a bit awkward.
So then we just danced some more. My favorite random interaction of the evening was when a drunk fireman (which should go with out saying...) came up to me and slurred...
"...you luuk thiiiirsty."
"Really? Usually people guess Italian."
Excitedly and proudly, he pointed to his hand-drawn Italian flag tapped above the giant tequila and margarita station he had brought to the ball and proclaim "Ima Italian!"
The clock struck midnight all too soon and it was time to go home. The entire evening was as fairytale-esque of an evening I could have asked for... I was smiling and laughing the whole night and started a few fires myself (ok, not really, but I did break at least one heart). Gino extended me a lifetime invitation and even said he'd give me a ride in the fire truck! Best Firemans Ball EVER!!!