We did want to go to the main part of the conference, however, and I had promised to play the organ for when accompaniment was needed, so on Saturday morning, we called Midge and asked for a ride again. She came to get us, and we proceeded to be gone for the rest of the day. It started with a talk on the theme, which was "rooted in the truth." The speaker talked about the tornadoes that have been going on, and he told this story about how there was one area affected where everything was level except for this one row of trees. The guy who owned the land explained that those trees were really hard to plant, because they were planted in the hardest part of the ground on the whole property. So they had to work really hard to gain root, but once they had, their roots were really strong--to the point where they survived a tornado.
After that, everyone went around to the various workshops they'd signed up for. Our first workshop was a swing dance lesson, where we learned that swing is pretty easy and really fun if the guy knows what he's doing and is a good leader.
We had a couple of workshops on how to have an easy life (do what's right, you face fewer bad consequences, life is easier; also, plan for the future and it's easier to figure out the right steps to lead you where you want to go, as opposed to just doing whatever and then being nowhere near where you want to be when you finally decide, "Hey, that'd be cool."), and how to find your mission in life (remember your purpose in life). Then there was dinner and free time, and Midge refused to drive us home, because we "needed to go to the dance for our own good."
Before the conference, I was like, "Eh, whatever, we can stick around while the dance is going on, and find some way to entertain ourselves," but as the time of the dance got closer, the idea of having to stay for it made me angry. Why? I was bored. And I didn't want to be bored any longer, and the dance was scheduled to be three hours long. And, as predicted, the music was so loud that you couldn't hear yourself think. We came up with this theory that people like dances for this very reason--the inability to hear yourself think takes away all inhibitions, so you're not afraid to make a fool of yourself and you're free to cut loose and have fun.
Anyway, we spent most of the time outside the main dance hall talking to a kind older sister from the ward who let us talk to her about Disneyland. (Her grandkids are coming soon, and they're thinking about taking them.) But Midge refused to let us off the hook that easily, and she came and personally escorted us into the dance hall, which was especially unfortunate, because we were right in the middle of a conversation about why we were interested in Japan.
I think by that time it was mostly just stubbornness that prevented me from dancing. Well, that and the complete inability to communicate with people. We would walk through the room...out of a sense of obligation, I guess...every so often, and one time I was about to go out the door when I turned back to look at Athena...who had vanished. She had been snagged for a slow dance. (Don't get too excited; the boy was about eight years our junior. He is adorable, however.) I was amused, but the main point of this is that while she was dancing, about six or seven inches from the guy's face, and she still had to shout for him to hear anything. And he still thought she said "rap music" when she said "loud music."
But the other thing I wanted to mention, because we have a twisted sense of humor, was the dance's decor. For some reason that remains a mystery to us, the guy in charge of the dance thought it would be cool to decorate the cultural hall to look like...um...a city street, I guess. With a lot of tires and oil drums, and brick walls with gum stuck to them (that was the real eyebrow raiser) (it wasn't real gum, it was just Play-dough, but still), and a truck crashing through one of the brick walls, and a telephone pole. I will admit it was kind of cool to have a telephone pole. The pole was complete with telephone wires, which were complete with shoes hanging from them.
Before the dance started, someone told us that the shoes hanging from the wires indicated drug spots--you go hang out around there and someone'll come to deal drugs to you. I was a little suspicious about how he knew that, and he said he learned about it on his mission. He and his companion would stand around under the shoes and wait for someone to show up--and then they'd start preaching the gospel. He said they'd listen for a really long time, too, until they asked if they wanted to get baptized, at which point they'd freak out.
And so. In my twisted sense of humor, I thought it would be hilarious if they took Pixie Stix and emptied them into little baggies, and gave them to people hanging out under the shoes. Trading them for M&Ms or something. Ah, but it really does sound wrong, too. Good thing they didn't do that.
Incidentally, the police officer in our ward confirmed that, at least in LA, the shoes represent gang territory, and are not necessarily a drug thing.
Anyway, the dance finally ended, and we helped clean up the building (which was the only reason we had even been considering staying for the dance to begin with; if not for that, we probably would have walked to Mom's house to either catch a ride or kill time until Celeste could drive us home (not that she would have wanted to; good thing we didn't make her)), and then we finally got home at about twelve-thirty.
Today I'm thankful for another good conference, surviving the dance, getting to grab extra rolls at dinner, the tasty punch (we should have had more; it was lemonade Kool-Aid, pineapple juice, and Sprite), and having a nice restful Sunday ahead of us.