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So what is a newyorksubalien...

I’m a New York subalien. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly legal – it’s just my loving other half, official alien that he is, comes with a so-called “supermodel” visa that apparently denotes him as one possessing extraordinary abilities (falling asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, remembering only 2 of the 3 items on a mental shopping list and not knowing where the dishwasher tablets live after 2 years in our apartment are just some of his many talents).

The same visa leaves me extraordinarily unable to possess that most American of entities - a “social” i.e. a Social Security Number. Calling it a “social” makes it sound like the password to some party-filled, fun-packed lifestyle. That’s not far wrong as without these all-important 9 numbers, you pretty much can’t have a lifestyle at all - no bank account, no credit card, not even a driver’s license.

So what does a subalien do? Well, like over sub life forms waiting for evolution to give them a leg up on the ladder of existence, I have plenty of time to observe and these, dear reader, are my observations…..

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Surviving two cultural revolutions with hands and head intact

The past two weeks have seen me go through a cultural evolution – a subalien I still may be but at least I now know how to clap on cue, cheer on command and, at the other end of the scale, survive three hours of Shakespeare with my head still intact (unlike most of the characters).

My evolution centred around two revolutions. The first was the name of the lunchtime chat show looking recently for members of the public to fill its seats at one of its tapings. This being a brand new “transformational” show (and, as I have since learnt, one which replaced a much-loved soap opera) it is, somewhat understandably, working hard to find suitably responsive and adequately enthusiastic audience members.

It is also probably not helped by the fact that, having sat through an entire morning of on-off whooping, cheering and applauding (I did not think hands could hurt so much), I would have to describe it as what I call a “once in a lifetime” event. So much so that I felt it would spoil the memories to watch the one-hour show when it was actually broadcast.

Let’s just say I didn't want to face up to reality and accept that others now know the secrets I gleaned from the show. Such as how a bowl of macadamia nuts has more calories than a platter of vegetables. Or that the dark brown/black combination I have always worn was in fact a fashion faux-pas but now apparently is “in”. I know it is – in my wardrobe and has been for years.  

For those of you vaguely interested, the key is while chocolate is good (but no macadamia nuts thrown in, of course), tan and khaki are both big no-nos. If you’re confused about the khaki, here this means beige and not dark green – something I wish I'd known when buying Mini-Mum's first school uniform. 

No danger of any of those colours appearing in the audience. We had all been given instructions to wear bright colours and it was heart-warming to see so many members of the audience applying this request to their facial colour palate as well as their wardrobe. And that they continued to apply them so many times during the taping. 

Perhaps their ever-appearing gold compacts served a secondary purpose in that they attracted the TV cameras as bright objects attract magpies. By the way, “in” colours for TV production crew - most definitely black and white.  Anyway, I have it from reliable sources that those of us more shrinking violets (not exactly a bright colour, I know, but at least it wasn’t black), did not make it onto the big screen. What can I say – heart-broken, gutted, deeply relieved.

If that was a girly, local planetary cultural experience, you couldn’t get "butcher" (in more ways than one) than our most recent one. The Revolution might not have quite fulfilled my New Year’s Resolution No 2 but I think few would question our cultural credentials after seeing Kevin Spacey in Richard III this weekend. Now there's a man who knows about overthrowing existing leaders (we're talking the king here).

Our theatrical outing was supposed to have been a family event. But as in the play, where men and women fell by the wayside one by one, so in the run-up to the big day, our party of four was first reduced to three and then two. My two, I hasten to add, in contrast to Richard's relatives, did live to tell the tale, despite dropping out because of the length of the telling of the theatrical version.

To give Superalien his due (and in the spirit of  New Year's Resolution No 10), I did not see him dropping "out" once during the performance - something I could not have denied him, should I have forced him to watch The Revolution.

To be fair, there were similarities between the two shows. Both had the same “audience-in-seat-time” and both focused on resolving problems and changing lifestyles. Although in the case of Richard, the main "presenter" was predominantly interested in sorting out his own problems and lifestyle changes he “suggested” tended to be rather permanent.
And both involved the audience coming to its feet at the end and applauding wildly – I’ll let you guess which one evoked the spontaneous reaction.
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