Ballroom Diaries: March 4- Traveling and Arrival

The organizers of the competition apparently like to start the adrenaline rush early by withholding specifics of the competition, like say where it is or when exactly you have to be there, until the day or so before. Once releasing the top secret information to entrants, I discovered that the competition has been booked in the Brigadoon of the NJ transit system, a hotel that is reachable in a way sort of by mass transit ( take a bus from port authority to a terminal NEAR the hotel and then get a cab) once every one hundred years.

In the past, I've booked a car, but often the drivers got lost on the way to the hotel, and I was assured by the competition organizers that the hotel was accessible by mass trans. In addition, Miracle Gro was counting on me to make the trip first and give him the lowdown in terms of actual traveling time and difficulties.

The thing to keep in mind is that Miracle Gro is over six feet tall and only had to bring one change of clothes and one pair of dance shoes ( he was also coming only for one day of the comp-just for the Latin dancing). I am four foot six and mildly disabled. I also had to haul 4 dance "costumes", 3 pairs of dancing shoes, all manner of make up and hair care products, as well as pjs and street clothes. I managed to stuff everything into a rolling suitcase and grabbed a cab to Port Authority.

The directions from the competition organizer jibed with the directions from the hotel's front desk ( I called to let them know I would be checking in at nine). At Port Authority I made the executive decision to trust the comp. organizers mainly because I couldn't find the bus the hotel suggested. After much grunting and sweating, I managed to get my suitcase to the bus terminal and then onto the bus. Hauling a suitcase is one of those activities that makes me long for a boyfriend...or a mule. (Actually, now that I think about it I would prefer the mule.) I then missed my stop as apparently no one announces stops on such buses. ( I was heading for Seacaucus Plaza.) Luckily some charitable NJ transit rider told me where to get off to catch a taxi ( I was going to have to catch a taxi anyway).

The taxi driver congratulated me on my single bag, "You're an efficient packer" he told me as he threw my bag in the trunk. I'm assuming most of the professionals arrived with garment bags and imitation matching Vuitton 3 piece luggage sets. I told him "Listen, when you have two spares mules or a llama, then you can pack what you want, but when you are a little girl traveling alone-efficiency isn't really a choice."

I arrived at comp. slightly ticked and fairly frazzled. I called Miracle Gro to let him know what was going on. We talked briefly, but I liked being able to call him. Unlike my partners at the last comp., he seemed very engaged in the process. He promised to wake me up early in the morning and make my life miserable. Giggling I hung up the phone.

I wish I had a digital camera so I could explain to you the unpacking process at a dance comp, but I don't so you'll just have to deal with my narrative.

First I unpacked make up. La Mer moisturizer, NARS liquid foundation, MAC translucent powder, and Benefit's Dr. Feelgood-all the base for the face-unpacked first. Then the Tartecheek stain "Tickled Peach". This was followed by two types of liquid liner ( NARS liquid liner in "Sri Lanka" and Dior's liquid liner in brown), four eye shadows ( NARS: Nymphea, Twisted, Santorini, and Night Breed), 5 types of glitter (a light scented gold powder from Tarte called Golddigger, three different types of Mattese loose glitter, and Too Faced "Kitty Glitter" in "Cat Fight"), 3 lipsticks ( NARS: Pigalle, Congo Red, Cabaret) and 3 glosses (Sisley's Marachino and Brown as well as some gloss from Face Stockholm-the name eludes me), fake eyelashes and glue. And that was just the make up. ( I have a few pictures of myself at comp-no close-ups- but hopefully I shall be able to post them later.)

When I was unpacked all I really had to show was a few gown hanging up in the closet, a pile of dance shoes, and a heap of make up in the bathroom. I was thirsty and tired and so I had the great debate about getting up and going down to the bar for a coke ( room service was closed) or lying on the bed parched.

I opted to go down to the bar where I started to set down notes for this very entry. I didn't get to far until a couple of cops started talking to me. Yep, the convention hall across from the ballroom had been booked by some NJ police union and so the bar was packed with dancers AND cops.

One cop, Chris, saw me taking notes and started talking to me. He was impressed with how quickly and easily I took notes. I'm not sure what it is about people these days. Even in my office, other profs often admire how quickly I type. In fact, many people say they know when I am in the office because from the time I come in to the time I leave my keyboard is never silent ( little do they know I am blogging and not "at work"). It frightens me that the simple act of writing is so impressive to people, particularly other English profs.

The cops sat around and told me stories. I was amused that I could go to a dance competition and manage to have a couple of cops buy me drinks ( they were just cokes but still) and a snack. One of them gave me a "get of jail free" card which he assured me would be honored in any state including Texas. Finally, I extracted myself and went upstairs to get some rest.

Coming Up Next
Day 1 of the Competition: Breakfast of Champions

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