[M.M.X.I.V. 129 / M.A.P.L.E. III-9] Bicicleta

Nope, the title of this post is NOT a typo!  Indeed, some of the songs on my MP3 player are in a foreign language.  This one I believe I heard on WNUR several years ago, during the Continental Drift segment.  Clearly, I liked it on the first time that I heard it.

A bicycle to me means adventure, and therefore I want to tie the song to the “adventure” that I experienced yesterday, and how it relates to the bike.  This may be one case where the prompt quickly takes me off topic, but I have that liberty!  In some sense, today’s post is backward, as I had to relate the prompt to what I wanted to write about rather than the other way around!

As a hint before the “More” tag appears, the subtitle of this post is “Strung Along.”

The actual adventuring yesterday included five miles of biking for commuting purposes yesterday, and one of the last stops was Shanley on Northwestern’s campus.  Entering the small building which looked more like a shack, there was an entrance with nets strung up along the ceiling.  The floor was painted with a pattern to resemble strings, and other items like pool noodles, fuzzy balls, and dream catchers were visible in the area.  To the left was a black curtain.

You might stop me if you have heard this one before.  Indeed, the only other time that I was in Shanley was last year for Theatre Stands With Autism.  I had been invited to experience the show again, along with Northwestern students.  Last week, I was a proxy audience member, getting to see the beta version of the show, with some of the props as space objects because they weren’t yet set up.

Much like last year, the show was set up as an adventure where each person was a traveller.  Unlike last year, the locales of the adventure varied as opposed to being entirely under the sea.  This is my account of the adventure–please read with a sense of imagination!

The first scene went into String City and its hair salon, allowing us to get our “hair cut,” washed, dried, and to play with string hair.  Over the last year, I have also adventured into Chicago, rather than just going to a salon in Evanston, since one of my friends works at a salon in Chicago, a short/long 40 minutes from me.  If I were a child, however, I almost certainly would have despised this experience, with the physical contact of the hair-snipping, or getting misted with water I would have strongly disliked.  (I might have been uncomfortable even if I did answer “No thank you” to these experiences).  My mom definitely has horror stories of me getting haircuts when we used to live in Fort Dodge!  I wonder if this would have turned me off from the entire show at that time…

After the salon, the adventure continued into a place that I have never ventured on bike– a cave! with stretchy bands, balls, and also a guitar!  On the lattermost, the performers allowed the participants to strum, while they continued the notes.  Although the music was scripted, the simplicity reminds me of improvised music that I have heard in SPG.  Bouncing the balls reminded me of the crazy rules that the Ace spot would get to make up when playing four-square back in elementary school.  It was fun, but I was blinded by the lights that were in my line of sight.  At least the kids who see the show will be shorter, and so that shouldn’t be a problem for them.

Though I have ridden my bike along the lake, I would never take it under the sea as the adventure continued in the world of string.  This scene, in some sense, was a shout-out to last year’s show, “Diving In.”  The performers organized into shapes of mermaids and octopi behind a screen, and then we swam in the current/ocean, much like last year’s scenes.  The jellyfish allowed some imagination with the electricity, and one of the guides mentioned a previous show where one of the kids played along with getting zapped.  I also joined a sea serpent line, which might not be as attractive to the kids on the spectrum, since it involves physical contact with others (holding on to a “train line.”)

Emerging from the ocean, we continued to a string forest, and got to participate in “tree dances,” tree smells, and the sounds of the forest.  With as many NU students as there were, it was pretty loud, and some of the kids may be sensitive to that.  Although I appreciate sound effects, it could easily overwhelm a child on the spectrum.  The individualized attention that the kids will get from their adventure guides and/or the performers will definitely suit them well on this experience.

In a summary of the journey in the next scene, it had us make “finger-people” and follow along on the journey that we had taken, including a climb to the next destination: the top of a mountain!  Being a road cyclist, I rarely take myself up hills, but I definitely have friends who really enjoy that, including a former teammate on Team To End AIDS who now lives in Colorado.  Atop the mountain, we got to sit down, facing the ceiling, in order to make a wish on a star made of string, all the while the crew was humming (half-note B) (half-note A) (whole-note G#).  I feel that this part will be great for the kids, and there are some of the crew members who saw it as a very touching scene.

As the show ended, there was a recessional while the crew sang a singsong “Strung Together” and we left through the vestibule filled with hanging strings.  I spent some time chatting with the crew after the end of the show, and expressed my appreciation for the show, how great it would have been for me when I was younger, and some of my opinions about it.  One of my favorite things about the show this time was that one of the characters was non-verbal, which helps to empathize with the members of the spectrum who don’t talk, but have amazing potential locked within!

As I ride on, I sometimes wonder how I can use my Asperger syndrome in order to create outreach!

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Today is the one-hundred and twenty-ninth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes eighteen weeks and three days.

היום עשרים וארבעה יום, שהם שלושה שבועות ושלושה ימים לעומר

Today is the ninth day of the third round of M.A.P.L.E.  That makes one week and two days.

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