Swoooosh! That is the vacuum of time you hear, whisking away my seventeen year old baby and converting her into a lovely young woman. Hundreds of years ago, the word promenade was used to describe a leisurely stroll during which members of the opposite sex checked each other out. In Spain and Italy, the women walked the plazas in one direction and the men, the other. Today, the word prom, short for promenade, describes a formal high school dance.
A European prom today is slightly different than the old school walk-about. My daughter and her friends are dressing up for an evening at the Ritz. Unlike in the US, there are no dates, no corsages, no Denny’s or IHOP to round out the night. They will take a taxi back from an after-prom party held at a VIP club, where they will party with some of their teachers, at least two of whom are notorious for throwing back tequila shots.
Although it is hard to compete with the backdrop of the oriental arching bridges of Shanghai for prom pictures, I have sussed out the perfect location: the steps of the Prado with the Ritz in the background. We are meeting at the statue of Goya.
It has been a long time between blog posts but that is just our lives recently. And it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon. On Monday I took a train to Bilbao with Thing 1 and my parents after an early morning trip to the ER. Accidents, large and small, I interpret as God’s reminder to me to slow down; sometimes it is possible, sometimes not. This time my right eye connected with the edge of an Ikea desk while bending down to pick up a pair of shoes (silver Tory Burch ballet flats). Alicia of Aragon drove me to the closest ER as I held a lunchbox flower-shaped icepack to my eye. My reception there was cooly received and my insurance was not accepted, thus heightening my hatred (yes, that is the word) for Spanish hospitals. However, the waiting room was empty and I was seen after about half an hour. The doctor and nurse were actually nice. After cleaning the wound and applying a few puntas americanas (butterfly bandages), I was back in a taxi heading for home and later to Bilbao where my pace slowed considerably. The art in the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao is the building itself, well worth the visit. On Tuesday we rode a train to San Sebastian and came home late Thursday night.
Graduation for Thing 1 is a week away. Both sets of grandparents will be here to witness the moment and hear her give a speech. I intend to wear waterproof mascara and bawl the whole way through, no matter how much it stings the puntas americanas. I’ll be wearing sunglasses in any event – her future’s so bright – they cover up the honking eye bandage I am sporting to protect my visual gaffe. At any rate, I’ll remember to promenade slowly.