I was sitting on the grass in front of our main stage, taking pictures of a Chinese musician, when I decided to stand up. My body decided this act was too painful to consider and so it stranded me in an ungainly contortion, halfway between sitting on grass and standing up, and it left me that way. I was barely able to make it to a plastic chair some three feet to my left, such was the arthritis pain. It was the kind of pain that the people who make arthritis medications and advertise them in heavy rotation on TV hope happens frequently and miserably and will cause you to overlook and indeed perhaps welcome the medications’ unpleasant side effects.
I reached out for the chair, a flimsy plastic thing, and grabbed on to it, dropping my weight onto it in an act of cruel and unusual punishment that jarred the painful hip and lower back even more. I felt old, thousands of years old, as ancient as some of the Chinese instruments being played on stage with such beautiful sounds.
The only sound coming out of me was “Ouch.” I stayed in the odd position I’d found and then hauled myself up, smiling weakly and attempting to heft the monster zoom lens off my neck.
This performance was the complete antithesis of the gorgeous dancing done by the following women from China, the Philippines, Korea, and India. After I finished watching all of these and ended the day by making the rounds, I lurched off to my car, a performance that a grounds attendant later said made him feel sorry for me, as I “hobbled painfully across the grounds.” Suxay! I don’t see myself that way. On the contrary, I see myself as lighter than air, executing featherlight jetes and spinning fouettes so fast that everyone but me loses count. I can’t relate myself to hobbling, which sounds like something a very old crone would be doing.