Thursday, June 30, 2011

Have a house; stay put

I have made many poor choices in my life.  Although the majority of these have involved relationships (I have been Board Certified as Unlovable by the Straight Male Union.  Luckily the Gay Male Union picked up my contract.), but I also made a couple of poor career choices.

The first one was quitting theatre (the first time; the second time is on hold for right now).  I probably never would have been able to make a living at it, but I should have at least tried.  Now I'll never know.  Dummy.

The second poor career choice was Real Estate.  Me going into real estate is like the Pope opening a Love Stuff franchise.  The chances of convincing anyone that either of us know what the hell we're talking about are slim and none, and we all know what happened to slim.  I always considered it a major miracle that I passed the test the first time at all.  But I suspect the Great God of Real Estate was just looking forward to being entertained by my Complete Ineptitude for Real Estate.

I do not have the personality for Real Estate:
You have to like home ownership; I think it's a pain in the ass
You have to be good at math; HAH!
You have to like people; ALSO, HAH!
You have to be tactful and skirt the truth; oh, well, shit. . .
You have to have balls; I have the self-confidence of a slug, hence my first poor career choice
You have to wear suits;  I hate suits

The only reasons I went into real estate were:
I was sick of working in an office.  Which, of course, I do now, so fuck me.
I'm nosy and I like to look at other people's houses.

That last part really was cool.  Every Tuesday we'd drive around and look at the new houses that Agents Who Knew What They Were Doing had listed that week.  Interesting note:  every single house in Mt. Brook looks exactly the same inside.  And smells the same:  white, old and stuffy.  (Good-bye readers from Mt. Brook!)

After a week of waking up crying because I was a Real Estate Agent I decided it wasn't the career for me.  In fact I decided that the term "career" wasn't something I would ever subscribe to.  I prefer "blindly drifting along bumping into mediocre jobs and the wrong guys".  But I don't have to wear a suit!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

O, Muse, Where Art Thou?

I spend a fair amount of time thinking about creativity (instead of actually being creative, that's too much work).  I am a creative person and I use my creativity for no useful purpose, other than entertaining myself and (hopefully) other people. Not that entertainment is always useless; it just is in my case because I don't see that I'll ever make a "career" out of being creative or actually make any "money" out of being creative or actually "create" anything worthwhile out of being creative.  But shits and giggles have their rightful places in life and in the case of my life, that's all I have; that and the "occasional" beer and/or tequila shot.

But I get frustrated by my creativity because it's unpredictable, and invariably doesn't kick in when I want it to.  This is most apparent when I'm doing improv, but I've gotten used to that.  If I get through a show or rehearsal and can remember one thing I've done that was fairly funny, I've learned to be satisfied with that.  Improv is truly a group effort and it's more about supporting your fellow players than it is about one individual being funny.  (But I do find it frustrating when after a show there's always one player (different every time) who seemed to shine and it's never me.)  But that's not the lack of creativity that bothers me.

It's when I am depressed and I feel that I could use a creative outlet to lighten my blues and I can never seem to summon it: that's what bothers me.  Like  many creative types, I am a sullen person.  It sucks and it would be nice to de-sullen-ize by writing something fun to read or  come up with a great idea for a play or paint the Mona Lisa or invent a Ponzi Scheme--anything to take my mind off my mind.  But that's when my creativity evidently takes a shuttlecraft to Reisa and totally abandons me, leaving me to Wallow.  Not a fan of the Wallowing.

I suppose if you could just turn creativity on and off it wouldn't be creative anymore.   But it would be nice if some creative scientist could invent a way to put it in a tequila shot.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let's Get Tall!

I’ve lost some weight recently, which I’m not complaining about, it suits me. (Although I am still softig, mit hips.)   But that necessitates buying new pants for work.

I hate buying pants.

Undaunted, I screwed my courage to the sticking place, and toddled out to my local Ross’ after work yesterday,  because Ross has a petite section.

Used to.  Not anymore.  The sign above the clothes says “Petite” but when I held the pants up to me there was approximately 7 yards of fabric trailing on the ground. 

However, their “Woman’s” section has grown.  (How appropriate.)

For you 1 or 2 straight guys who might actually read this, the “Woman’s” in retail means you are fat.  “Petite” means you are a pygmy.

I have always been short.  (That’s a stupid sentence, but funny enough that I’ll allow it, giving myself minus two points for stupidity.)  When I was extremely young, (and adorable) my grandfather called me Lilliput, which is Welsh for “tiny”. 

I am now verging on extremely old, no longer adorable (*sigh*) and people call me various endearing terms which usually end in motherfucker.  But I still need to wear pants.

Does the retail industry believe that short women have stopped buying pants?  Or wearing pants? Or that they have all suddenly grown 4 inches?  Or developed an insatiable desire to spend all their free time hemming pants?  I have hemmed an innumerable number of pants in my time, but they never look right.  Here is a prime example of my sewing skills:  When I was newly married, my husband asked me to hem a pair of pants for him.  I labored over the process, taking several days, only to hold up the finished product to discover I had sewn each pant leg shut.  He soon found a tailor.

Anyroad, yesterday I ended up buying a couple of dresses and a skirt, which are way hotter than any pants (especially if one is zoftig, mit hips).  But that’s beside the point. The point being that I have the Constitutional Right to Not Bare Legs and Be Able to Buy Pants That Fit. Because, much like Stupid Politicians and Adorable Children, short women will always exist.  And need pants. Which, evidently these days, are optional for politicians.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wisdom from the Aged

So here I am at the tender age of 124 and you would have thought that, by now, I would have learned some Valuable Life Lessons.  Well, I have learned a few:  water will boil faster if you put a lid on the pan; 3-year-olds throw their best tantrums in the middle of the grocery store; the song "Being Alive" from Company will always make me cry; and (most importantly of all) I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing with my life.

While the first three Ultimate Truths are comforting, the last one makes me feel like I'm perpetually in the Third Grade (not my best year in grade school). I think I'm sailing along just fine, and then I do/say something so incredibly stupid/embarrassing that I have to go see Miss Gerst (my third grade teacher; we had a lot of "conferences" that year). I do take some small comfort in the fact that I have a sneaking suspicion I'm not the only one who doesn't know what they're doing.   Other people just fake it better. 

I can't fake it because I have an Unnatural Compulsion to be honest.  When I was a kid I was constantly being lied to and I KNEW people were constantly lying to me and it pissed me off.  I felt like the whole world knew a huge secret and everybody had conspired to never let me find out what it is, and, yes, I was a card-carrying member of the Pediatric Paranoid Patrol, our secret decoder ring was awesome, but somebody was always trying to steal mine.   But the point is, you would think that my Badge of Truthtelling would give me some kind of Courage Surge and Strength of Character, but all it does is lead me to do/say something so incredibly stupid/embarrassing (albeit HONEST) that here I am back at Miss Gerst's Desk.  It smells like white school paste and rulers.

So, maybe the Fourth Ultimate Truth really is that I don't know what the fuck I'm doing and I never will know what the fuck I'm doing and I should quit kvetching about it and just enjoy the ride, bumps and all.  And, after all this time, Miss Gerst's Desk feels like home.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Religion: Part Two

This one requires a bit of a back story, here, so bear with me.

When I was 5, my mother's younger sister committed suicide.  That's a story unto itself, which I won't bore you with, but sufficeth to say my mother did not take it well.  No one outside the family knew Mary Jayne killed herself, they told everyone (including me, actually) that she had had an aneurysm.  The hallmark of Lace Curtain Irish is that no one ever knows anything bad about you and yours, your lives are always Perfect to the outside world.  So, keeping this bottled up inside, my mother took out her anger/sorrow on those around her, mainly my sister and me. One of her favorite threats was, "When I drop dead like your Aunt Mary Jayne and your father marries the young sexy blonde, SHE'LL make you clean up your room!"  I remember writing notes to God (asking Him to send Aunt Mary Jayne back so Mommy wouldn't be mean any more)  and leaving them on my nightstand for an angel to take to Heaven.  It didn't work.

Also, I was a difficult child.  I was constantly being compared to my older sister, ("the good one") which made me even more defiant.  I refused to eat (I'm still not a big fan of food),  refused to go to bed on time and constantly talked back to my mother.  My life was kind of like a Eugene O'Neil play, if he had written childen's stories.

Back to Religion.  Remember Sister Mary Elizabeth?  Well, after the you-are-going-to-hell-for-saying-the-Hail-Mary-wrong incident, her very presence in the classroom scared the shit out of me.  But it was one of her Ten Commandment lessons that pushed me over the edge.  She was discussing the "Obey thy mother and thy father" one, which is pretty much the only commandment six-year-olds can relate to.  This is how she condensed it:

"If you talk back to your mother in the morning, when you come home from school, they'll be carrying her out on a stretcher, dead."

Since, to me, this eerily echoed my mother's constant admonition, and, in my mind, that had actually happened with Aunt Mary Jayne, I became terrified to come home from school every day.  It didn't stop me from back-talking my mother, you understand, because I am a Card Carrying, Tried-and-True Smartass, and that ain't never gonna change.  Also, I started having nightmares every night, and woke up at 4:00 a.m. screaming like an Irish Banshee.  My mother would come into my room and ask me what was wrong and I was afraid to tell her.  This went on for about three weeks, with none of us getting any sleep, until one night I finally broke down and told my mother what Sister M.E. had said, expecting my mom to completely jump my ass.

To my amazement she just hugged me.  The next Sunday, she walked in with me to CCH class and in front of anyone read Sister Mary Elilzabeth the riot act, accusing her of scarring and scaring young children, possibly ruining their love of The Church (too late), etc., etc.  When my mother yelled at you, you never, ever forgot it.  If she had been around in the Garden of Evil, she would have had Eve puke up that apple in a heartbeat, kick Adam in the balls and walk off into the sunset with my mother, neither of them ever looking back.

Sister Mary Elizabeth retired from teaching after that year.

Thus endeth today's lesson.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An uber-geeky Theatre Post

If you're not into theatre, or  think theatre people are weird (we are) don't feel like you have to read this.

Here's the thing.  I LOVE tech week.  It's kind of like being in labor.  It's exhausting.  It takes over your life.  It is at times painful.  You sometimes feel like it will never be over.  You sometimes feel like it will kill you.  But in the end, you push out this beautiful, incredible new entity, that will change your life forever.  And then in three weeks (or however long your run is) it moves away from home and you're alone again.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Parenting Part I

There are two things I am passionate about.  (Okay, there's a third, but I never get any, so it's a moot point.)   Anyway, those two things are theatre and parenting.  I guess my title kind of gives away which one this treatise will cover.

I went to pay my rent today.  My landlord's office is a little hole-in-the-wall located in a storefront downtown.  As I'm leaving the office, there is a mother and her two small children (2-3 years old) waiting in the hallway.  The little boy (around 3-ish) has his back turned to me and is blocking the hallway.  His mother can see this, so I just wait for a minute or so for the mom to ask  her son to move so I can get by.  She just sits there and stares at us.  So, after a couple minutes I gently put my hand on the little boy's shoulder and say, "Excuse me, sweetie."  He moves.  As I'm walking down the  hall, the mother starts cussing (literally) at the little boy, saying she will bust his ass, etc., etc., I guess for not having eyes in the back of his head so he could see that I was there.

It pissed me off.  I didn't do anything about it, because I'm about to open a show and I sort of have to/want to be there alive, but what the fuck?  It was the MOTHER'S JOB to ask  her kid to move, not mine.  I already did my time telling my kids to behave in public, I've clocked out.

Here's the thing:  Parenting is a Job.  The most wonderful, frustrating, rewarding ,terrifying, exciting, monotonous, invigorating, exhausting job you will ever have; not to mention the most important.   Ever.  Some days you will do well.  Some days you will fuck up.  Some days you will wonder why you ever wanted kids and some days you will wish you  had a dozen.  Okay, that last part isn't real, but my point is:  It   is   a   job.  So do it.  Tell your kid how to behave in public because, unlike puking on the expensive carpet and shoving peas up their nose, kids do not come hotwired with how to do that.  You have to teach them.  That is your job.  Also, while sometimes it might be your job to yell at your kids, this should not be at the core of your curriculum.  (I know I'm mixing metaphors, shut up!)

Now I'm sure there will be absolutely no permanent repercussions from that Awful Woman not doing her job and swearing at her kid, he'll probably grow up to be a fine, upstanding axe murderer. But come on, people. 

These are not pieces of equipment, these are pieces of you, that reach up and take your hand and give you sticky kisses and hugs  and call you mommy/daddy and break your heart every day, because you love them so goddamned much it hurts.  Do your fucking job.