Saturday, February 21, 2009

Juggling Imposter

I felt like a fraud. The moment we wandered hesitantly into the gym, I knew they could see through me. When I didn't know if I was a 'club passer' it was confirmed, I didn't know what I was doing here. They still happily had me sign a wavier and take my $7, I pretended to understand something, anything. I wanted to take my coat off, everyone was in shorts, and tall socks and weird low shoes. Some had goofy hats, all were in some T-shirt bearing the name of a juggling team, festival, competition, championship or joke. I was wearing a black turtleneck, jeans and snow boots. I could not blend in.

He had brought me there to see the bull whip artist. My boyfriend is a bull whip enthusiast so he fit in this new subculture. I followed him deeper in the gym, taking in the five-ball lessons, the unicycle hockey and the T-shirt sales. Crack! and Matt made a hard left through the crowd of club passers as if he was pulled by a sirien song, I was startled, did he mean to walk through all this pass juggling just to get to the bullwhip? Could we not walk around the flying clubs? Matt was halfway across, and like Moses and his sea, all the juggling clubs parted ways for him like an amazing double dutch. I scrambled after, avoiding disaster and unintentionally moistening the floor with my sopping boots. At the bull-whip station, Matt was well entertained. I made my way to the raffle area, since I got a free raffle ticket with my admission.

I sat alone, waiting for Matt to join me. I looked at the raffle table of prizes. I wanted one. I decided I wanted a diablo, devils sticks or poi. I wanted poi the most. It seemed like something I could learn well since it didn't leave my hands and I wasn't throwing anything in the air. I knew I was going to win. The raffle started. I felt like an impostor. If I win these things someone else way more into juggling won't get it. Why did I feel this guilt? Some of the stuff was really lame like Koosh balls and Duct-Tape wallets. Boy, I stick out in my black turtleneck. The poi was raffled off to someone else, t-shirts, DVDs, devil sticks and weird canes all found new owners. Then three Koosh balls were up. I started thinking about all my fond memories of Koosh balls, way before the Rosie O'Donnell phase. They felt funny, poking but pliable. I used to have a huge Koosh ball the size of a grapefruit. I got it on vacation in the 5th grade. It made me the
coolest kid at recess the day I brought it. I remember all the kids in my class standing in a circle just throwing my giant Koosh around. It was lavender, white and periwinkle. The cool girls and the cute boys were in the game. I felt so a part of something. How funny was it that this weird ball of rubber spikes could do so much for my self esteem? And how did that even get invented? And then manufactured? Do they even sell Koosh balls anymore? Remember how the marketing of them got pretty out of control? Koosh slingshots, pencil toppers all colors.


Wait. That is my number. I stood up and made a small triumphant cry(I had rehearsed that in my mind in case I won, to make sure I looked excited to win and not impostor-like.) I made my way down the bleachers. As I walked across the gym floor I saw a girl step out of the middle of the bleachers and the announcer head towards her with my prize. What was going on? I am so sure they called my number. Cat-fight!, the crowd joked. The announcer realized that one of us was an earlier number that had been called but the other girl was too busy talking to hear it, so she was trying to claim my prize. The announcer thought I was the other girl. I was my number was called. The girl and I were awkward. I tried to brush it off, but I really wanted my prize. I did. She was like, "do you even want it? We could split it." My head kept saying "No, I think splitting it is stupid!"The announcer dealt with the situation uncomfortably, but the man with the prizes swiftly
ran and had something behind his back. I was told I could pick either the Koosh balls or the unknown behind his back.

I always go for the unknown.

I received 6 six light up juggling balls.

It was awkward. I felt undeserving of the prize. But I can juggle balls. And they don't know that I am not a juggler. For all they know I am a talent scout looking for the next great juggler and unicycler, so they should be impressing me.

I returned to my seat and the guy behind me said, "Good choice." I decided if my other raffle ticket(Matt's since Matt was across the gym) won I would give it to him. Unless it was something I really wanted, which was doubtful. But I still held on to it. I couldn't wait for the raffle to be over. When it was I met with Matt and we caught up and I pretending to be gesturing to unicycles in an expert manner so no one would know I didn't belong.

Next time, dress the part.

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