Tag Archives: children

Hey, Kid I Know…

13 Feb

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Dear Kid I’m Working With~

Look, I’m gonna play it straight with you: kids are not my favorite people.  They used to be, and then I grew out of them.

…I frankly no longer have the patience for your antics, fits, mess, lack of personal space, penchant for screaming at a pitch that only dogs should be able to hear, throwing fits in supermarkets, getting goo everywhere, inexhaustible energy; smart-ass attitude, annoying precociousness, and/or creepy attempts to act like you’re 35 when you’re actually 8.  What with all the digital world of internets and gaming and hashtagging also now added to the mix with this generation, I don’t even know how to communicate with you people anymore. 

See, kids have changed. They used to be introduced to things like real-world etiquette, discipline, and imagination. They used to have respect. They used to actively “play.” Like: games without plastic controllers. Outside.* And they used to be “kids.”

(* It’s this place with dirt and trees and no walls around it, that you— never mind…)

…So no, kids aren’t my bag.  Which means that every time I work on a show with you people, it becomes a huge “gird your loins” moment for me. 

…It’s having to watch and try to temper every single “sunofabitch” and “fuck” that naturally wants to erupt when one screws things up royally. (Which you’ve obviously seen: I do plenty.) It’s having to put you first in every moment in every scene that we usher you through.  It’s constantly checking in after every stage fight and altercation, terrified that some horrible bruise matching any one of our own, will end up having child protective services banging on our door and hauling us away in handcuffs.  Plus the frustration of you little bastards knowing every single damn line we keep fucking up, and not even breathing heavy after nine minutes thrashing around or dancing or whatever-ing, when the rest of us all want to collapse on the cold concrete and just die.

…None of which is counting the off-stage moments in rehearsal…with your little high-pitched voices constantly running a mile a minute, gluing yourselves to one another in giggling bunches, fighting with one another, squirming and making noise during emotional moments, your by-and-large total inability to focus on anything but cell phone screens, lighting fixtures, or dust floaties in the air…unwillingness to “play” or look “uncool,” and like a cat somehow know the exact wrong person to follow around in a room full of other people who would actually welcome and adore your attention.

I have done my damndest to stay away from environments like this, on purpose.  I’d rather bleed from my eyeballs than endure a production of “Matilda,” “Bye, Bye Birdie,” or “The Wizard of Oz.”  I’ve only ever done one children’s theatre show, which I still haven’t recovered from…and you literally could not pay me enough to do something like “Annie.”

…That being said, as cantankerous as I am about it, I gotta admit: some of you people aren’t the worst.

I’ve known a few.

…One singular “tween” with whom I would work in several shows across several seasons, proved my “all-kids-suck” rule was for-shit.  At least in her case.  SHE didn’t-suck so much, she became like a little sister, a best pal, who would rightly (we always said she would) go onto NY and LA and all round-the-world, spewing her talent all over the damn place.

…For reasons stemming 100% on a bucket list role, I voluntarily and happily walked right into this thing called, “Oliver!” once, with about three hundred of you people totally surrounding me.  And every single damn one of the yous were fucking amazing, outstanding, hardworking “artists”…I don’t give a shit how wide the age-range gap ran.

…And if you want to talk about “horror:” a cast-full of teenage girls for “Children’s Hour?!”  This hugely emotional roller coaster job to do, based completely off of a group of young women being able to sell a performance of lies and nasty intentions so well that is catapults and obliterates the lives of every adult sharing the stage with them.  And they fucking DID!  Every night! Like goddamn Rock Stars!

…Meanwhile, ”The Diary of Anne Frank” is completely ushered, bound, and delivered on the shoulders of a 13 year-old girl.  And in the almost unheard of casting choice, ours actually WAS that age.  Have you any idea the fucking weight of that role on even a young ADULT, let alone a “girl” who hasn’t even experienced an iota of real-life emotional equivalency to inform her of what she is about to put herself through every performance?  A freaking ball-buster of awesome, who worked like a damn draft-horse, pulling us along with her. Every. Single. Night.

…In other words: I’ve been lucky.  Like… supremely.  The pit-of-my-stomach ache of uncertainty of how in the hell we would be able to swing these shows, ended up being for nothing.  Because these kids were special…these kids grew from crops bearing hard work and determination and dedication and support and monster abilities.  I’ve felt surrounded by some kind of freak genetically altered talent-fruit, just being around them.  And by the end – with not a single exception – I have seen them not as kids at all…but as co-working artists. Because they were. And are. 

…Which brings me to you.

We aren’t as emotionally close in “real life” as I was with a lot of those other young people. And I admit, a huge giant-ass part of the difficulty in this piece revolves around the fact that you can not only NOT help ME out, you cannot even help YOURSELF. Such is the nature of the story, and this script. We all knew this going in, but that does not alleviate the weight that it brings (literally), in what is required to get this show up, on its feet, and run in complete, each performance.

…And what I have to lift, YOU have to provide.  All of it.  Dead-weight, in body, emotionally feeding me every frustration, beating, slapping, pinching, and slamming your body into mine…repeat, after repeat, after repeat. Drawing me into your mind and thought process with only facial cues and touch to tell me where you are and what is happening at any given moment. 

…And you cannot see.

…You cannot hear.

…You cannot speak.

…You cannot understand.

Kid, this entire show works exclusively on the fact that every single fucking audience member who walks through those doors will believe it.  Believe it so thoroughly and emotionally that what we have all just literally busted ourselves black and blue for MEANS something, SAYS something, and that by the final moment in our little pool of light, we will have earned and lived up to the job we’ve been entrusted with: telling the story of these two amazing women who did it all for real.

…That is so damn much to ask of you.

I know it.

…But you know what ELSE I know?

(…Like in that pit of my stomach where it usually sits all sour and undigested-feeling, every time I know that a kid is about to be involved in something super high-stakes and emotional…?)

I fucking know, without a doubt, you can…and WILL…do this.

…And when those lights fade out on Opening Night, everyone else is gonna have to stand behind me. Cuz I’LL be your number one fan…waiting to shake your hand.

Actor to actor.

Thanks for the work, partner.  You’re alright.

…For a kid.

~D

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W.C Fields, (When He’s Right)

21 Apr

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This guy was known for his one-liners and one of his finest, “Never work with children or animals,” was spawned by his loathsome hatred for both, and frequent forcing to work with them anyway.

…P.S., he was an actor. 

(In case you didn’t know.)

…A profession where people without patience or discipline are not long for the world. 

…Talent frequently has nothing to do with it.  So we won’t cloud the atmos with any of that right now.  Here, we are only talking basic mechanics.  Can you physically sit still, or stand, or recite on command, or change costumes, or move to where you are supposed to be, on a specific cue? And can you shut the hell up and behave, the rest of the time.

…That’s all.

These two species, frequently cannot. 

…They fidget, and steal focus, and play to the audience, or refuse to play at all, or act out when they aren’t supposed to, and don’t when they are. 

…And they are cuter than you.  So every fucking person in the audience is going to be ten times more intrigued with whatever it is they are doing on total accident (like picking their nose, or peeing in the corner) instead of you with all your months of dedicated hard work invested in this highly emotional scene.

This is why W.C. Fields is a genius. 

Because he said it: the truth, that no one wants to admit, but know is true…which if you do admit, makes you a giant asshole.

I am a giant asshole. 

…And I’m totally okay with that, frankly.

This is why you will never see me doing a show like, oh..”Annie” for instance. 

That would be like hell. 

…Unless I was Hannigan, in which case I getta hate all the children on purpose anyway.

…And you’ll never see me in a film like “101 Dalmations,” made up almost entirely with animilia of every size, breed, and type, each trained in doing one thing that they never do on cue, but will do any time  you like, when the camera isn’t on them.

I frankly super lucked out with “Oliver!”…only cuz it was a bucket-list role and totally worth all the pain, added to the fact that our kids were all freaks of talent, and really good, delightful human beings.

…This is not usually the case.

It sorta broke the mold.

…And in “Anne” our under-agers are serious-minded young artists, that attack the work as such, so I tend not to think of them as anything other than “peers,” outright…

…But the cat?

Ohhhhhh….the cat.

We have a live Mouchie. 

Peter’s cat is a “cat”…not a “something in a box they talk to from time to time”…and as such, lives with us in the first act, and back stage for the second. On a harness and leash, he exists primarily in Peter’s room, for a few spotlight moments, and isn’t thought of much again ever after. 

…But he is real. 

Legit. 

…A giant, Buddha-like tabby with slothful inclinations…which works perfect on a stage full of screaming hysteria (mostly sourcing from me) and much door slamming.  He is usually quite good to just smoke his little peace-pipe of hooka-catnip-hash and stone out for the act, then exit at intermission and be done with it.

…But not tonight.

Tonight, Tinker was a pissed-off individual, and by GOD everyone was gonna know it!!

…We didn’t know why, or how, what was different than the norm, what may have happened to spawn it, but it began not long after intermission with small vocal complaints (mostly only heard by cast on stage), magnified in the Anna/Peter date scene with a gigantic dump of uncovered poop that clogged the air with putrification…at almost gag levels…for the following scene and a half, then ended…at the most poignant of scenes…the second to the last…with Anne, gazing out the attic window speaking her most famous words…before the Nazis come storming in to collect us all…with a collection of yowlings that grew, and grew, and grew…until the audience was in absolute titters.

…After all that we had worked for…

…One FUCKING cat was completely ruining it all.

By the time it was carried, still yowling, and stowed away in the dressing rooms, more than a few pissed casties rallied the end of our strength and focus and worked to regain what was left of our dignity and solemnity in the moment. 

We rallied.

…Because it was our job.

…And a large number of them were FAR more forgiving of the fur-creature afterwards than I was. 

Again, that “cuteness” factor wins people over, all the time.

…But not the hard-asses.

I didn’t speak to that bastard on PURPOSE…even while everyone else baby-talked to it, and scratched behind it’s ears, and wondered over it’s emotional state, and what could have bothered it so to act out today, when it had never done so before.

Me, I just slapped it dirty looks whenever I could and silently threatened to kill it if it sprayed my bag of theatre crap, sitting beside in on the floor.

…Admittingly: I am not a cat person. 

I like dogs. 

…But I don’t care if it is Fido, a finch, a frog, a 30-hand-tall horse: you fuck with something I’ve worked two months and two-and-a-half hours to build: We are enemies, pal.

It’s ON, Tinker!

It. Is. ON.

~D

Real People Lunching

17 Apr

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Shh. I took a lunch today.  Like a person.

…Me n’ WHS Pimp busted out to Rock Pizza for their buffet.

…So I took a naughty lunch, at that.

Together with my applesauce donut of yesterday, I’ve prob’ly fallen off the wagon a bit.  But I weighed in and nothing moved, so I’m calling it a “freebee-plus cheat-day.”

…What? 

It’s a “thing.”

Am currently balancing the play structures on our open order report.  Thought I’d take a few minute’s break. 

(…Lunch AND a break? What is happening to the world, you guys?!?!)

I can only wrap my head around a small child being gifted a $2,000 swing set for so long. 

$2,000?! 

…It might as well be a million. 

In kid-dollars and people ones. 

I don’t have $2,000. 

Do you?!

Does anyone?! 

…But the parents of these children?!

When I was a kid, we played with refrigerator boxes and made mud pies.  And LIKED it! THAT was  our “playset.” 

…Kids these days have no IDEA what it is to be a “real” kid…or use their imaginations…or create things…because they don’t HAVE to.  Because mommy and daddy shell out $2,000 and a full day off work to have an entire theme park erected in their back yards for them.  So they can “play.”

…When did “playing” start costing something?

As a proud kid of a single mom in the 80’s, it sure as hell didn’t when I was a kid.

…And I’m pretty sure that me n’ the cousins had ten-times more fun on accident than kids these days have on total purpose, when it is bought for them.

So take THAT, Y2K’s!

…I should get back to my report now.

And coffee.

…But really, with pizza-insides, I just want a nap.

Oh, a nap.

Lovely.

…Off to feed the egos of small heiresses, I go.

~D

Kids. Theatre. Art.

14 Mar

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Stumbled on a Tumblr last night, linking to others that, all-collected, formed most of a young cast and their experiences of putting on this show.

…Totally fascinating…reading their processes in raw-thought form, thrown out there with zero editing of  their emotions and frustrations as they fought to balance out school schedules, homework, dating, rehearsals, finals and wrapping their heads around the history of the piece.

Written in 2006, these back-and-forth tagged Tumblrs and blogs are free-formed by High School students, who by now have most likely graduated College and gotten married, and started having children of their own.  Which is kinda mind-blowing, even not having known the kids personally…only because of the knowledge that they have this forever-record of that point in their lives, written down (much like Anne), which others can read and experience, further mirroring the book and show itself.

Really intriguing thoughts, actually. 

…Some in simple questioned innocents, some with down-and-dirty sleeves-rolled-up research, some likening their own personal experiences to Anne and their own characters…and some just excited by the whole process.

The thing that really got to me though, was the point…totally individual to each…when they “got it.”  The point where the full weight of what the show and this girl’s experiences were all about, actually sunk into them…and how each of them dealt with it.

Personal. Raw. Specific.

…These kids, through ART, were given a new way to access and view something from history that they already knew about since middle-school.  That restriction of: “this is a book about a teenage girl, in Amsterdam, in WWII,” was suddenly (and in some cases emotionally violently) altered for them once the process of physical “empathy” was put into place.

To read about a girl from the far-past, in a place they could not recognize, and had no tangible relateable association with at first glance…had limited a lot of them at the book’s first reading. Some were embarrassed by it’s pubescent topics, some shut off by the distant time frame in which it was written, some by the country they didn’t recognize…or the Politics they couldn’t understand…while some did actually take it personally and to heart. But the range there was wide.

…Through the process of ownership in their roles, though…you can actually SEE that begin to change…and the kids changing with it.

What they start out writing about in an off-hand remarks, early in the rehearsal process, begins to change to a kind of hungry obsession over time. They begin pulling out quotes from the script, and matching it to the diary…they write mini-bios, and suck up European political history like sponges. They become in awe of the magnitude in the numbers…which are no longer just “numbers,” but for the first time begin to represent actual “people” to them, now that they are actually portraying one of them…each with lives and families and homes and dreams of their own. They begin to question, and get angry, and become activists for a cause which now has become as real to them as anything they may have to deal with in their current day-to-day lives. They build genuine affection for their “characters”…defending their deeds in posts, and against Anne’s words…and explaining WHY they think and act and say the things they do.

…They become totally engrossed, as the posts move along…building not only on their own, but commenting on one another’s in debate, and agreement, and camaraderie.

And it is fucking FANTASTIC.

You see: THIS is what “Art” does.

THIS is why it is so essential, and why it’s disappearance from our Schools is so completely devastating.

“Art” is not just a “hobby.” “Art” isn’t an “extracurricular activity.” “Art” is “Humanity.” Straight-up. It is our one point of access to all that it is (and ever was) to be human. And without it, we are sorely damaging our future potential…and in severe danger of repeating our greatest mistakes.

And HERE is a prime example.

…Written by school children, grown now into adults, who BECAUSE of “art” experienced something so palpable that “History” became alive to them, “Politics” became important, “Numbers” meant more than mere addition and subtraction, the “Written Word” jumped off the pages at them, and “Science” in the research, reason and attempt to understand why and what it all meant, became totally essential to them.

…And yet, with all of that put together, it STILL could not hold the realization of the emotional strength and repercussions that actual “embodiment” had on each of them. The power of empathy…of PUTTING YOURSELF into another’s place…of FEELING the fear, and hunger, and pain, and sadness…of MAKING IT PERSONAL…it changed them, not just as “children” or “students,” but as HUMAN BEINGS.

…Once taught empathy, education, the difference between right and wrong…passion for history and learning…you can’t un-teach it. You can try, attempt to mind-wash and assault the brain all you like. But if given a good, strong, root to grow…early on…I don’t believe there is anything that can break that. Or the spirit it infuses, like Anne’s, to fight for your right to it.

“There are no walls, there are no bolts, no locks that anyone can put on your mind.”

…It was something Mr. Frank once told Anne, and something she often went back to as a form of solace, a comfort, an outlet…a form of expression.

…Because any form of educated obsession, release, curiosity, excitement, empathy…is a kind of art.

Because SHE was encouraged to release herself in it, we have her diary today. Because those kids were encouraged to release themselves in it, their lives were changed. The same way that mine constantly is. And Meryl Streep. And Picasso’s was. And Steven Spielberg. And Maria Callas. And Leonard da Vinci, and Stephen King, and Gertrude Stein, and Albert Einstein, Billie Jean King, and Stephen Hawking.

…So really, what I’m saying is: people learn and become inspired in so many different ways…going on to inspire and educate others, likewise. I’d like to assume you’d want every opportunity you can grasp onto, to make sure your kids get every option to become the best that they can be…as people and parents of their own children someday.

If you already practice an art of your own, there’s no need to tell you this, but if not: Listen up. I promise…it isn’t just a flippant accessory to life. It is a necessity. It’s brought us our greatest humanitarians, and thinkers, and doers we have ever produced as a human race. It breeds intelligence. It fosters hope. It counters depression, and fear, and anger.

It belongs in our schools.

…If only, to dust off the tired words in old textbook pages, and make all the other academics and political concepts and histories and numbers and sciences more real to the people who will be running this planet some day.

Think about it.

~D

And The Swedes Take Over The World

9 Sep

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Yesterday, I stood in 375 square feet of space, masquerading as a real full apartment, in which everything from a bathroom to kitchen, to bedroom, to closet space was compacted on a grid-system of proficiency.

…The sign outside said, “walk into my living space,” and claims that a human actually exists in an exact replica of this area.

…I have 800 square feet, which I share with my two fish, and upon occasion…feel crowded. 

I am “proficient” as hell.

…Which just shows that there is always room for improvement.  Exhausting as that may sound.

IKEA is one of those places that I have to gird my loins to go and visit. There is so much stimulation to the creative sectors of my brain when I frequent all it’s million tiny room mock-ups, that I get hyper enthusiastic.  Somehow, even though the Mod 60’s thing really isn’t my deal, I end up wanting them all anyway.  Every room, every collection of goods, every little bookcase prop.  Why? I dunno.  Possibly because the color coordination and multi-use of every product, screams a challenge of maximum capabilities.  Maybe because I’m addicted to shelving and cabinetry.  Maybe because twelve bucks for a French Press, that costs fifty even at Target, is just too much goodness for my brain to take in.

This place spawns a cousin disease to my general, “I never knew I always wanted that” one…only this time I truly believe my entire life would change for the better if I had it…because all my OCD’s would completely disappear if I could live in something as slip-streamed and categorize-perfected.

…In my mind, as I walk the aisles, all I can see are the dozens of tiny alterations to my little apartment that would bump me into a high-tech, sheer-surface, spot-lit, rug-wielding, stainless steel, goddess.  I’m already practically there, but this would just seal the deal.  And who doesn’t want to run at that level?

Can you imagine what it would be like, to have zero wasted space?  Not a single undevoted centimeter…where everything has a home and convenient location, which tucks away inside of itself about fifty times, until its basically just negative entity? Where every shoes has it’s place on a tree in the closet, where every individual halogen light is focused precisely where you want it, off a steel lined track running the entirety of your room? Where the walls become secret hidden cabinets, which you can still hang shit on, with beds that grow out of other beds and sofas, so your one-bedroom apartment or dorm room can suddenly sleep ten people. You know…for all those times that you REALLY NEED to sleep ten people!

…This place gets me so undone with wonder and excitement, that I accidentally start mirroring the children, calling their parents to, “look at this thing! Oh, but look at that one too!” I simply cannot trust the visuals of whoever I am with to pick up the kind of subtleties that are the entire main focus on the display, and feel the need to walk them through it. I must describing in detail how “this thing” transformers into “that one,” like I’m an expert showcase salesman…because clearly they wouldn’t get the full sliding-swing action, if I didn’t really sell it for them. And I also have to explain why it works aesthetically, on a level far more pleasing than just to the eye:

“Cant you just FEEL how all the books are happy right now, with that certain kind of open wall-mount display on equal parallel planes, without all the box bulk of an actual case?”

“Lookit that lamp. I dunno when in the hell you’d have the reason to mount a giant glowing dandelion above your head…but if you just stand here for a second and think about the kind of room it would go in…it’s totally awesome. Right?”

“Here is why this kitchen layout is better than any other kind: floor to ceiling Lazy Suzans in that corner cabinet. No, just stop right now, you will never beat that.”

…And I also feel compelled to let them know that any time they wanna get rich and buy me shit, this is the place to do it, and here are some reasons why:

“‘Kay, look…this roll out drawer would save my life maybe…because my god, how long have I lived having to reach under my bed to get at things, then scrape the hell out of my arms, or slam my head on that fucking Hollywood frame?”

“…No wait, now picture my living room…but then add this to every wall. Instant James Bond high tech, am I right? Just, push this spot in the wall and, BAM cabinet materializes! Push that over there: a door! That there: a sunken wet bar! Tap here: my whole entertainment center folds out…!”

…And sometimes, I’m not so subtle about it:

“…If you wanted to get me this rug, that would be okay.”

“Maybe you could pick up that chair as an early Birthday present to me now…I mean, since we’re already here.”

“I bet if I had this pot and pan set, I’d be able to cook you a delicious dinner. The ones I have now are just holding me back, mostly cuz you deserve the very best.”

Yes. It is that ridiculous. Ask anyone whose ever gone with me.

…All I know is that in the end: the Swedes with their happy-go-luckiness and uber efficiency, are someday going to take over the world…and there will be nothing we can do about it.

…They will hook up with their handy-dandy equally efficient Swiss friends (with their compacted tools and weaponry), and dig themselves a little mountain fortress somewhere (prob’ly throughout the entire Swiss Alps in a collected switchback of mathematically precise grids.) And they will outfit every square inch of tunnel with IKEA themed, space-aged, 60’s-kick-back wonder…where every man, woman, and child, will live in their own customized pod of up to 375 square feet of perfected living space. (Built entirely by their Swiss Army-issued, fold out tool and weaponry knife.)

You guys, the secret is already out there…

…Like the masterminds that they are, they have hidden it in full fucking sight, inside every single one of their monster stores. They will do this all with a maximum of silent speed and efficiency, (if they haven’t already), and thus, out-last every apocalypse (be it zombie or otherwise) by doing so.

…And when it’s all over, the new world power of quiet, happy blond people with killer skiing skills, will emerge.

…And civilization will be saved.

…And that is the truth.

~D

You’ve Got Mail: The Text Edition

7 Sep

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When old acquaintances meet after a long spread of time, and play the “I remember” game…it kind of fascinates me how vastly the perspectives can change or how their past secrets and interpretations become revealed in retrospect.

History is a funny thing.

In the present tense, everyone is so very insistent to guard and protect their feelings, thoughts and intentions. Truth becomes the unspoken risk you never seem to take.  Which is asinine, because it is the only time that you are able to actually “do” anything about it.  But when you look back on a situation…after a certain amount of water has passed under the bridge, you realize how pointless it was to play your hand so close to the chest…to mistrust options or ideas…to hold back.

…Sometimes you miss out on things.

And yet, every once in a while, fate realigns you with a past opportunity (or person) from seemingly out of nowhere.  Suddenly, all the places that missed connection the last time, just don’t anymore. And what is exciting about that is skipping all the “crap parts” and going straight for the meat of the matter.  The conversation can get intense and goofy and real and wild and random…because there is zero judgement, expectation or care in attempting to be anything other than what you are, and where you are, in your life. 

“This is me, no holds bar,” you seem finally able to say.

Why is it different now?

Who knows.

…There is certainly no less baggage to carry. You’ve spent maybe the better part of a decade ADDING to the luggage set, not taking away from it. And there is no reason to assume that what might have happened once, will actually do so now,  just because a person writes another person out of the blue one day and says, “Hey, remember me?”

Of course I do.

…I remember the “you” back then, and you remember that “me.”

…And we will talk about the costume I was wearing, or that thing you said, or the party we went to…the other people around us at the time, and where their lives have lead to; like we are the oldest of friends and no time has really passed at all. You will tell me funny confidences. I will tell some of mine to you. And all the while in my head I’m thinking, “This might actually be one of the most bizarre conversations that I have ever had.”

“…It was that show, that’s when I thought that–”

” –You just liked the ‘boob’ dress is all.”

“…Whatever happened to [Him]?”

“–He got married…amazing woman…you’d like her a lot.”

“…And having drinks at that bar, after the other show?  My last one for a long while. The Ex never understood that whole deal…”

” There was a small group of us. Who-all was at the table…?”

” That was about five years later than the first show.  And about six before now.”

” …You were seeing that one girl at the time…”

” It was [blank], I think.”

“–I never met her.”

” Nice girl.”

” Then I heard you got married.  Had the boys and all.”

” And now…”

” And now.”

(Long pause.)

***

…Clearly, tonight has been a mind-fuck of “woa.”

…What I think I need most of all is a little bit of thoughtful perspective, here. I need to realize that though this is great, (catching up and all)…there is absolutely no reason that anything out of the ordinary, would somehow make anything “different” from where I was sitting yesterday.  After all, there are real ACTUAL obstacles that exist this time around, far larger than the scale we were playing with all those years ago.  Whole lives are in existence that were not, and relationships have ensued, and consequences must be dealt with…and all the things that life likes to throw at you when you are just trying to get through from one part of it to the next, are scattered all over the floors in both of our houses right now.

…Everything is so messy in the real world.  Which is a nightmare to people like me, who live with their “just so’s” of organized specificities. 

…And you CAN live like that. With the dedication of a Buddhist Monk.  I know.  I’ve practically mastered it.

…But what “if”…

…What “if” you feel like maybe…just for a second…you might not always want to?

…And what if, “Do you like wine?” is asked in total innocent and honest curiosity…because he knew you far before your pallet for it (and many other things) ever even existed.

“Ohhhhh. Yes…” I answer back via one of over 180 texts, now indexed just under his name.

“Woot!  I know just where we’ll go on our first ‘date’,” he says…waiting as to how I’ll respond to that.

…I’m sorta intrigued really, to find out myself.

…Will I “correct” him? Do the usual run-down of my philosophies on why I think “dating” is total complete shit? That it is an impetus for people to spend half their time covering up who they really are, pretending to be things they are not but assume the other person would really want?  Should I pick now to inform him that I also quite suck at “being a girl?” That I far prefer hanging out at the house in my pajama pants watching a movie, to dressing up like a hooker and joining in on the clubbing meat-market scene on a Friday night?  At what point do I bring up the fact that I refuse to be his mother (if he’s into that kinda deal)…that I’m really really stubborn, and sometimes I just need to be left the fuck alone.  Preferably with a book.  And why in the HELL is all this shit piling up and making me anxious just because of one word?

…One word.

It’s a word I avoid.  And always have.  At almost any cost. 

…And he said it so easily…just with a toss.  Like it took no effort in the least.  No anxiety of what the answer might be.  No worries on how I would take it, or what I would do with it, once it was “out there.”

The message just kept staring at me.

…Then I thought of the unbelievable balls it must have taken just to write me from out of nowhere to begin with.  Then make the effort to catch up with me.  Then listen as I tried to tell “amusing” anecdotes about people we know (or used to) and where they are now.  Then LOL at my stupid witticisms…and pretend I don’t horribly overuse the words “awesome” and “totally” and ellipsis in general.

This guy is STAND-UP.  HE: IS A MAN. 

…He has gone through God only knows how much of my shit from the “then” me, to the “now”…even in the last several hours.  And I think he deserves to get something out of all that, don’t you?

…But then I said, “I’m in,” anyway. 

…Because he doesn’t know yet, that me saying “no” would really just be doing him a favor.  And he might not know that for a couple of days .  But by the end of the “date,” I assure you: he will. 

…And THAT is when I will explain how sometimes, not getting what you think you wanted at the time, is really a “good” thing.

…However he responds after that, is when the real game actually begins.

Open bets. Any takers?

~D

Senior Envy

22 Aug

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Sometimes I feel jealous of Senior Citizens.  I tell myself that someday I’ll reach those special years of amazement as well…but then I’ll think of the powers they yield and start to get impatient.

I’m jealous how they can wear pajamas to the grocery store, and not even think twice about it. 

…My Gram used to do it all the time.  There was this tiny market down town?  It smelled of raw beef and cardboard boxes, and when you went inside you’d know every person in every aisle, cuz everyone was a regular.  And for some reason, Gram (who was usually spiffed out in fully coordinated blouse and slack outfits), could walk through that store on a Tuesday morning, wearing a mumu in her house slippers with a scarf around her head, not bothered in the least by it.  These are the same people, mind you, whom she would fret about seeing a spill-stain on her new jacket on Friday, because the coffee cup had a leak.  The rationalization totally escapes me.  But I still wanna be able to do it.

I’m jealous how they can fall asleep anywhere, at any time.

…It takes me forever to fall asleep.  I can lay there for hours with my head just ticking away…thoughts, thoughts, thoughts…on a nonstop repeat.  Generally I only get about five hours in a night…sometimes six. But Seniors can fall asleep within fifteen seconds, whether they’re in a doctor’s office, the DMV, a football stadium, or even standing in line waiting for check-out. ( I’ve seen it.) Such power, and talent. I wanna be able to do that.

I’m jealous how nothing in life embarrasses them.

They can just fart in public.  Just fart.  Just like that.  What the hell do they care what you think about it?  Also they spend whole lunches together talking about things like their personal diseases and anatomy parts that don’t work…raising the stakes on one another like they’re betting their incapacities, medical procedures and ills, in a game of poker. “I SEE your psoriasis, and raise you an enema!” Or they’ll glory in how good their bowel movements are…grading them on a scale of awesomeness against seventy years.  “This one time, in ’47, I had just the greatest BM ever!” ” I had one in ’63 that completely changed my whole life, practically…!”

I’m jealous of their temper tantrums.

…Like small children, they seem to get a special “pass” for this.  Crotchety old men are like an American institution.  And everyone who has ever worked in any service industry, has been railed at at least once, by a sixty-five pound, blue-haired, ninety-year-old woman with a smokers rasp.  They are totally allowed to be giant dicks to anyone at any time, and we just sorta go along with it.  Why?  Because.  It’s in the constitution or something.

I’m jealous of their money management strategies.

People think Seniors aren’t up with the times, don’t understand the concepts of things like “inflation” and “alternate percentages.”  Please.  These people have lived through five wars, four economic depressions, countless droughts, fires, Tsunamis, hurricanes, Medicare, and the end of the world at least ten times.  They know what’s going on.  And they know how to make every fucking buck they’ve got, count. Can you blame them?! They are in a position of knowing from experience that it’s only a matter of time before shit hits the fan again.  So while we dance around with grins slobbered on our faces, buying rounds for everyone and using dollar bills for toilet paper in the high-times, they’re counting out fifty-cent tips for the asshole who forgot to refill their coffee cup at Dennys. Why? They understand the economy better than you think.  They’ve had to reinvent it the the last sixty times.

I’m jealous of their knowledge.

…These people know everything about everything. They’re better than the internet.  Go ahead. Test them:
 
Question: “Who was that one person in that movie, with whatserface, with all that rain?”

Answer: “Gene Kelly.”

Question: “How many terms was FDR in office?”

Answer: “Elected four times, died in last term, April 12,1945.  Was sixty-three.  Just a damn kid.”

Question: “How do you get out stains?”

Answer: “Dish detergent for oil, club soda for red wine, white vinegar for tomato-bases, add some salt for perspiration. Ink stain: with rubbing alcohol, isopropyl for grass and paint.”

Question: “What’s the difference between a B17 Bomber and a B29?”

Answer: “About twelve tons in payload, 70 MPH, 25 feet in length, and 1,250 miles in range. I know cuz I flew both of ’em.”

Question: “Why Velveeta cheese and SPAM?”

Answer: “No expiration date. Ever.  I think I still have some cans from 1956 if you wanna snack?”

Question: “Greatest invention of all time?”

Answer: “Sex.”

…And I am jealous how they can sit and appreciate things.

Old men will forever populate benches facing out into oceans of abyss. Little old ladies will never cease congregating in tea socials to gossip and munch in good company, like a park full of pigeons.  Grandparents will eat their grandbabies with their eyes and see the resemblance of every ancestor you have ever had in them.

…A spot of wine with a view.

…A summer sunset…

…Perching on a porch swing, just watching the people passing by. 

Taking a Sunday drive at leisure as the commuters honk and ride their bumpers the whole time. 

…They’ve perfected establishing a single snapshot of a moment…like they’re filling the rest of their photo albums up to take with them to whatever comes after all of this “living on earth” stuff.

I think we forget to do that. 

…I think it’d be good to learn it earlier in life.

I think someday I’ll get there.

…And I’ll watch the world just passing by and think:

“Sometimes I’m jealous of young people…”

…Which is about when, one of ’em will do something really stupid

And I’ll shake my head and smile to myself.

“Scratch that.”

~D

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