One of the perks is that the ''official'' company hotel where the journalists covering the opening get chucked for the night is the Museum Hotel, a place I always loved wandering past when I was a poor scriptwriting student, with cloth bags and exactly six dollars in change to buy fruit and veges at the farmer's market on the waterfront on Sundays. After the August opening - also, you may have noticed, my tweeting debut, a painful birth - I made sure I had a cocktail in the lounge upstairs that looked over that waterfront and and after finishing my story, sat back in the plush, velvety cushions, sipped my drink and said a little prayer of graditude for the years when little adventures can come with a steady income trickling in (emphasis on trickle).
So the reason I'm not really really excited this time around:
I have to tie these trips to some kind of local angle to Southland. Last time - after a shake down of the company - it turned out there was a class pianist who had lived in Invercargill as a kid. This time there was no such luck.
It was then suggested by the chief reporter (with a wolfish grin) that I could be the local angle.
I could request to take part in the master class and do it as a first person piece.
I laughed, cringed at the thought, protested a little, then sent off the request to the company, thankful in advance for tight policy restrictions that would kill this idea fast. But last week, they got back to me in an email.
Everything was cleared. The director would be expecting me at the warmup class at 6.
In the car in front of the gym the other night - a place I've been spending a lot of time since I got that email - I talked to my dad about the new story angle and he reminded me of the ballet, jazz and modern dance classes I used to take with Madame Christine in Santa Ynez until I was about 11.
Did I remember those classes?
Seriously? Every time I hear Get Into the Groove, I am mentally crossing a mirrored room, in a horizontal-striped turquoise leotard doing that skip, skip, arms out ''grapevine'' move. And unfortunately that song gets a lot of airplay on Southland radio (farmers love Madonna).
On Saturday, I bought new yoga pants at the Warehouse, and I've gone through every workout top I have that I wouldn't think twice running on an empty beach in. But alongside 32 bodies that are born to transcend normal limitations in front of floor to ceiling mirrors on all sides...there's no hope in hell of this being anything but Josie Grosie going back to high school.
I've had to abandon the idea of having any dignity in this situation. So while I'm dignity-less, in tribute to my inner 7-year-old dancing queen, I found a horizontal top, kind of a turquoisy green, that I think I look kind of nifty in.
I'm gonna rock this class.