Day: July 11, 2010

Late

It would be very cool if I could claim that I purposefully posted this late (from last week), but I can’t do that.  I’ve been too overwhelmed to post this.

 

10PM Wednesday

I’m not home.  I’m not in my jammies.  I’m not half-asleep on the couch nuzzling Huzzy and/or the dog.  I’m not eating something sweet that I will likely regret as I step on the scale tomorrow morning.  I’m not trying to care about this season’s contestants on Top Chef.

I’m not about to walk in and turn off the retina-burning nightlight in the boys’ room or make sure their feet aren’t poking out between the slats in their cribs.  I’m not smiling at whatever dream is making them purse their lips or furrow their brows or giggle mysteriously.   I’m not accidentally jostling J. awake and seeing his dreamy smile once his eyes focus on my face.

I’m not putting in my bite guard.  I’m not desperately trying to fall asleep before Huzzy dozes off and snores with seismological impact.

I’m also not seeing anyone else who is supposed to be here already.

I left the house a little after 8:30, J. barely asleep because the bunny that lives somewhere in the neighborhood who likes to nosh on our back lawn hasn’t shown up tonight.  L. was in Huzzy’s arms, vomiting into the kitchen sink.  Once L. was cleaned up and in bed, Huzzy would be off to route out the backup up sewer.  He didn’t get a home cooked meal, because I needed to get ready for rehearsal (I wish I could streamline my get-ready routine, but it takes awhile for me not to look like something gristled and worn out.)

Fish sticks.  I fed my family frozen fish sticks for dinner.  I didn’t even supply tartar sauce. I just haphazardly squirted out some relish and some mayo, mixed, and hoped for best.

I’m waiting for my cast mates and the director.

I’m listening to the Police’s “Synchronicity I”.  Manic.  Pushing.  It’s how I feel right now. 

I’m in the waiting area of Second City’s Training Center.  The room reeks of desperation and hope and peppermint, and there are echos of groups of students trying loudly and a little too hard to out-funny each other in casual conversations.

I’ll be home at 1AM.  Up tomorrow at half past 6. 

Nothing is invincible.

The show is good.  It is as if you took some very good tv spoofs from SNL and mashed them up in a script.  It is good writing.  I just want to start working in other areas, in forms that have a little more social commentary.  Dribbles of it, squirted out like my makeshift tartar sauce.

In March, I swore I’d only do shows that I didn’t have to audition for…thinking this would never happen and it would force me to focus on The Project.  And along came two opportunities I didn’t have to audition for, both allowing me to “rescue” a cast — “We need you!  Help!”

I, of course, strapped on my go-go superhero costume,

 changed it so I would be taken more seriously,

 and “helped.”

I left the house hearing that one of our friends is pregnant with her first child.  My first reaction?  Envy.  (Not jealousy.  Two different things.)  Another friend just gave birth earlier this week to their second child.

I’m not happy.

 We start rehearsing 25 minutes late.

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9:30 PM, Friday

Just back.

Had rehearsal tonight, 5:30-7:30 in the middle of one of Chicago’s busiest neighborhoods.  This meant I had to leave at 4 to fight Friday rush hour traffic and get to the theater on time.  I rushed in at 5:29, worried I was being unprofessional (it was drilled into our heads at Second City that a start time means you are READY TO GO, so you should try to arrive 10 minutes before start time.)  No one else was there.  The door to the rehearsal space was locked.

We didn’t start rehearsing until everyone got there at 6. 

We ran over.

“Oopsie!” said the director.  Yes, she really did.  “We ran over!  It’s almost 8.  But do you mind if we run this scene one more time???” (We ran over because one of the actors has a habit of worrying about whether everyone is blocking her in a scene and asking the director about every acting choice she makes or should make.  Then she needs to recap whatever she just said:)

“I was thinking I could do my hair like so for this scene…” (manipulates her hair)
“Yeah, ok, that’s good,” says the director.
“Cuz I’m thinking that’s what the character would do.”
“Oh, I agree.”
“Because otherwise I would do it like this…”(manipulates hair slightly differently)
“No, the first way is fine.”
“Yeah, that’s what I think, too.  So I’m going to do it like this –” (manipulates hair again) “and I think that will really add to the scene.”

Why, yes, I actually do mind that we’re already late, that now there is no way I get to tuck my boys in tonight, that I am being punished for being the only person on time, and I can’t say anything because everyone else is happy to run the scene (and I only have one line in it, which adds to my crankiness) and then go off and do whatever it is that fun people childless improvisers do on a Friday night.  Probably involves drinking and getting into scrapes and hijinks.  They also didn’t fight traffic for  1.5 hours like I did because apparently they all live about 2 blocks from the rehearsal space, which is lovely and still doesn’t explain why they were so damned late.

Scraps and Hijinks opens for Hall and Oates next week at some State Fair, by the way.

I suck it up, because that’s part of the game and this is not a fight worth having and the craptastic attitude is all mine and I know it.  What am I going to say, “Hey guys!  We open in three weeks!  I have kids, though, and am tired and want to go home and watch my Top Chef rerun from the other day!  So, uh, nope.  Not going to run it again.  One of you will have to read my line.”

Who’s the poop head there?

On the way out, two of the cast members tell us that in two weeks they have an improv show after rehearsal and we should all totally come watch it…it starts at 10, which means we’ll all be able to go and drink and whatnot and still get home be able to party more before midnight.

Yikes.

I know the goal and the ideal is that we all in this community go to each other’s shows and it’s great and we support each other and we can all bond as a cast over some of our peers’ show!

I’ve also been super-burned by this.  I’ve gone to many shows.  People keep weird attendance lists in their head.  “So-and-so went to my show!  So-and-so didn’t, so I am not going to her show, that bitch.  What do you mean she was getting an appendectomy?  Why the f*** didn’t she call me about that?  I’m still not going!” 

I’ve paid for ridiculous numbers of incoming texts: Come C R newest show — Alpo Dinner Presents I Slipped On Dog Shit and My Mother Laughed and Now I Have a Complex and Dirty Shoes! I will totes love you for coming!  It’s a $12 ticket and lot parking is $20!  Whoo!  Totes!”

And I never hear from them otherwise.  I do send out “How ya doing?” emails/texts to people I’ve worked with.  With some few yet notable exceptions, I never get responses.  I am considered “audience.”

They also don’t come to my shows, but if I write that, it sounds like I’ve been taking attendance.

I’m getting better at only going to shows I’m interesting in.  To reciprocate, I don’t send personalized FB invites very often.  I usually just say, “Hey.  I’m in this show.  Come see it.  Or not.”  That way, I don’t see shows I don’t want to see and no one (should) feel obligated to see mine.

I’m fairly convinced, by the way, that 90-95% of audiences at most improv shows are other improvisers.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  I just find it interesting.  I’ve had many improvisers come to my sketch shows…it’s like some sort of class for a few of them.  More than one of my improv classmates came to my shows and ripped me apart.  To my face.  About three minutes after the show.  Then asked me to agree with them.  Because that’s how we learn. 

I know I have to be a good soldier and go to the show because my cast is already worried about how quiet I get during rehearsals.  I am as good a chit-chatter as the next gal…before and after rehearsals, and during breaks.  Also on Thursdays.  But during the rehearsal, I’m all focus because I’m a bitch I don’t have as much time at home to work on scripts and learn them and try to improve my performance, so I’ve got to maximize my time and try to learn my scripts whenever there is a discussion or a scene that doesn’t involve me.  Discussions about other cast member’s hair tend to not involve me, so I buried my face in my script and thought about how I was going to do my Sophia voice. 

Also, I like these people.  They seem nice and young and eager.  They are also really talented, despite my asshattedness.

Doing these shows and being in ensembles seems as much a social thing as a work thing, and the expectations are pretty high all the way around.  That’s good, except when it’s not.

********************************************************************************************************************

 11AM Saturday. 

Rehearsal was supposed to be starting.  No one is here yet.  Again.

I missed tucking the boys in.  I did get to spend breakfast with them.  I’ll get home while they are napping and try to make up for being a zombie most of Thursday due to too little sleep.

As much as I enjoy performing…the joy is diminishing. Sometimes it feels like a heaping sporkful of Been There Done That (now with more Been There).  This is largely due to the fact that I want to focus on more social commentary.  Also, and I’m without rancor about this — I’m smacking into my own Peter Principle.  I’ve risen to the level of my own incompetence.  I only have so much talent in this area.  There are more talented sketch comedians than I.

I’m ok with that, because, as I’ve said, it’s not really where I think I’m headed.  The Project will involve me writing and directing and will not be sketch comedy (at least I don’t think so at this point.  We’ll see.)

The Writing.  The Project.  It gets pushed aside for these other shows, and all I feel is a little empty every time I do a scene I feel I’ve done in other shows or that doesn’t really say much…and it’s so hard to know what you’re getting into because scripts are not generally available before committing to a project.

I want to be with my children in these precious moments before they start school. 

Not constantly, of course.  That is a recipe for insanity for me and year of future therapy for them. 

I don’t want to smother, I just want to be there more than I am right now…with a few breaks for a few hours a week to have uninterrupted time to work on the Project.  A sitter or my parents for 1-2 hours a day 1-2 days a week, so I can squeeze in more script writing and Project development than I can while they nap.  Plus it’s actually good for them to not only have me to learn from and play with.

I’ve come to the realization that no matter how frustrating and crazy-making Motherhood is, it is where I feel most alive.  It is the role in my life that makes me happiest, that brings out my best qualities, my creativity, and helps me develop my patience and multitasking abilities.

It is where I feel most fulfilled.

My quiet inner whispered desire that I want a third kid goes unanswered.  Huzzy doesn’t want another.  He feels too old.  He feels too financially worried right now.

So that is that — I will not try to convince him otherwise and I will not bring an unwanted (or half-unwanted) child onto this earth.

But it now makes me feel old.  Done.  Incomplete in a weird way that I hope you, Reader, understand does not mean that my children complete me.  I do know I am separate.  That cord was cut awhile ago.  We waited too long.  We’re too late.

So, now, at 11:25, as the other actors and the director wander in and are excited to run the well-written Gilligan’s Island parody…I feel dizzy…mild…dissatisfied.  And I get to play Ginger.  Doesn’t get better than that.

Maybe because I’m too late here, too.

I wonder how I’ve gone down so many paths that leave me feeling lost and old…but not a victim.