January 17, 2012

Oh, Travel Day Won't Bring Me Down

Hens on Ice entertains thousands of people each week with sparkling artichoke costumes and dance moves on blades. While I'm on this tour, my friends often express jealously of my alleged glamorous life on tour (please stop calling me a bitch on my Facebook wall - my mom's on there when she can turn on the computer). While it does feel glamorous to have a day off in the French Riviera or get paid to be a sparkly artichoke, that glamor doesn't last 24/7. Aside from not speaking French and sweating under that artichoke, one of the least ritzy moments for us hens is travel day, which happens at least once a week. There is nothing snazzy about bus travel.

Once the wigs are packed and the sequins stashed, it's time to round up the coup and hurl us to the next city of screaming kids and mildly amused adults. Each travel day has someone over dressed in Gucci and stilletos, along with someone in beer-stained sweatpants. There's at least one hungover hen and at least one hen taking shots until everyone becomes good looking. And then there are the days we have to fly, our bags are overweight, and we have to wear layers of sweaters, jackets and stilletos in our pockets to get that bag under 20 kilos. How many pounds is that, anyway? So glamorous.

The best travel day thus far has been a train trip from Lyon to Nice. Our travel memo stated that the train had no luggage compartment, so we were allowed just one carry-on sized bag to tide us over three days. Such a memo made me miss the bus with the broken curtain and locked bathroom. The stars aligned where I not only had to pick and choose from two suitcases into a small bag, but I was also out of clean clothes, so I had to add laundry to my agenda after our evening show. Early on in the tour, we had a washer and dryer for hens that travelled with us to each city. But after about three months, the dryer got water logged and left in a Paris dumpster, and the washer got clogged with bobby pins and fake lashes. So while the company searched for a repairman who would work for leftover rhinestones, I had to find a laundromat, or "laverie," to clean my heap of dirty feathers.

After three shows, I flapped my way to the laverie with two sassy hen friends, dragging our bags through the cobblestoned roads. We had one hour to wash and dry our wardrobes. Neither the washer or dryers had timers and there was no attendant, so we fluttered to the grocery store to get some dinner while waited. We returned with wine and a corkscrew to find or clothes still washing with a half hour until closing time, 9 p.m. By 8:40, both Sasha's and my clothes were finished washing, but Jessica Hen's were still held hostage by the rogue French washer. It spun and henhandled her feathers until 8:59. We had nervously drank most of the wine as the rogue washer held us at its mercy.

At 9 p.m. we anxiously watched through the door propped open for any French man or woman to arrive and say something we wouldn't understand. Como se dice, "Our clothes aren't finished and we have to pack for travel day tomorrow?" But by 9:01, no one had come to scold us and the lights and machines were still on. So we kept adding more four minute intervals to the dryers (I know even French clothes don't dry that fast, but maybe this fits into their fitness regime). By 9:10 and at the end of the wine jug, we were feeling pretty confident. If no one had shut us out yet, clearly we could stay until our clothes were dry.

At 9:15 the lights shut off. But the dryer stayed on, so I whipped my iPod out as a flashlight and we kept fishing for more coins.

At 9:20 the propped-open door began to close on its own, and Sasha Hen lunged to the door to save us from being locked in. There were three of us but only one folding table that would have been a poor excuse for a bed.

At 9:25 I realized my iPod also served as a music player, so I hit play and started the dance party. It turns out that folding table also made a poor excuse for a stage.

At 9:30 we left the laverie, lugging our bags of clean feathers but beaks held high, for we had defied the odds and over stayed our welcome to be ready for travel day. There may not be anything glamorous about that laudromat or having cheap wine for dinner, but clean feathers are at least a start.

1 comment:

  1. Hysterical my cacklin henchild:)
    A must read for all show hens, past, present and future!