Everyday Orinda – November 2020


Orinda: The Musical

    The viral Tik-Tok musical parody “Fighting in a Grocery Store” inspired me. I’m convinced. We need “Orinda: The Musical.” I hope Ron Pickett will agree to direct.
    Seriously, we could make it really funny. Who couldn’t use a laugh right now?
    Just imagine –
    As the curtain rises on the iconic Orinda Theatre neon marquis, our opening number explains how this little town has always been a great place to live, but since the COVID-19 pandemic has everyone working from home, folks are ditching San Francisco and flocking to Orinda in droves. With no more commute, suburban life is looking extra perky. Homes are selling like Nation’s cheeseburgers. Maybe we title this one “Bye Bye BARTie” or “East Bay, My New BAE.”
    Next, we segue into how the hordes of newcomers need to understand, in no uncertain terms, our school budgets, like Carol Baskin’s tigers, are hungry, lip smackin’ beasts with an insatiable appetite. Orinda’s stellar public schools are not stellar because of a magic funding fairy. The tigers ate her a long time ago, but no one can prove it.
    We need a number about the absolute necessity of generously donating to the “One Orinda” campaign. Maybe some a cappella harmonizing with “If you’re gonna live here, you’re gonna give here. Baby, are you gonna give here. Mmmm Mmmm, better drink that Kool Aid cuz the Carols are watchin’ you.”
    During this scene we could also work in some humorous dialogue about if somebody “knows somebody” (and, in this town, somebody always knows somebody.) Could we get our hands on some early COVID-19 vaccinations and auction them off as a school fundraiser? Seriously, I’ve personally seen people pay staggering amounts of money for homemade chocolate chip cookies baked by former elementary science teacher Karlen Harriman. I can only IMAGINE what parents would fork over for a CDC-approved, sneak-preview vaccination.
    Then we should probably add a number about the second-best thing to a spicy reality television show: Nextdoor.com. If forced to spend additional time indoors due to dangerous air quality, check out some of the “spirited banter” which takes place among neighbors. Mr. Rogers would be in tears. I’m not quite sure why, but Nextdoor seems to really ignite some anger issues, quite the platform for venting. Maybe a moony love ballad, something like, “When our eyes meet — walking down our street — will you wish you were a ghost — for calling me a brainless idiot in your latest post?”
    Then should we squeeze in a sub-plot about the private road controversy? Maybe a small group of neighbors try to build a toll booth on their private road, and charge all visitors and Amazon delivery trucks? Hey, it works for the bridges.
    All this controversy — but I’m told it’s what puts butts in seats. Perhaps now is the right time to slide in a saucy little number about avoiding local restaurants if you and your partner are feeling a bit scrappy. In other words, if an argument is brewing, and, let’s face it, during this crazy pandemic we are all ready to unleash at the slightest provocation, maybe it’s best to avoid the local restaurant scene. Why? Because any time you dine out in Orinda you must be mentally prepared. You will bump into at least eight acquaintances and will need to remember names. And it’s very difficult to remember names and politely inquire about their kids or their aging parents when you are preoccupied with scoring your points and winning your argument with your partner. I dunno, I’m envisioning edgy, metal lyrics like “I wanna drill a Fourth Bore in your skull right now, but I can’t because too many people are watching us fight.”
    And we’ve only scratched the surface…How about depicting the struggle to identify acquaintances while wearing masks in the grocery store, maybe a rappy number which repeats “What? Sorry, I didn’t catch that,” the bane of masked conversation . . . finally replying to what you think you heard, which may or may not have been what was said. For example, “I lost my job” and the reply, “IKR, this truffle dip is AMAZING!” Maybe some clever way to work in “At least we’re not worrying about coffee breath anymore.” Mint sales are down, a rich vein of parody here.
    But we’re running out of time, and pandemic life has fried our attention span. So perhaps we wrap up with all the young adult Orindans who completed their education and launched their careers but are still forced to live at home with their parents to save money because rent in San Francisco is outrageous. They channel all their frustrations into a rousing, high-energy dance number and ballad. Imagine this passionate solo:
    “I appreciate the roof or’head, and all the meals for free,
    but I can’t be your Personal Uber, Mom, convenient tho’ it may be.
    Don’t tell me this is what folks do when they are Empty Nest,
    Your Book Club should wrap up by ten; you’re old and need your rest.
    Remember this tomorrow, Mom, tho’ my office is in my room,
    I can’t ‘go grab lunch’ or ‘walk the dogs’ when I take a break from Zoom.”
    The finale will be something grand, something TBD which draws the entire cast together in unison. Maybe aliens, maybe penguins – I’m still working on it because just like a Broadway musical, somehow, some way, this show has to end on a high note with all the good feels. No encores for 2020 though, pul-lease!

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