Thursday, October 27, 2011

"I may not be no doctor, but I knows when I'm losing my patience."

That's a quote from one of our more underrated philosophers, Popeye.  I mean, who can argue with "I yam what I yam."?

Anyroad, patience has never been my forte.  When I was a kid, I had absolutely none.  Once, when I was five, I was trying to watch television and everyone kept talking, so I grabbed the TV to move it closer to me and ended up pulling it on top of me.  It did get everyone to shut up but after I was extricated I was sent to my room, so it ended up defeating my purpose. As I sadly padded up the stairs, I was told, "Patience is a virtue."  Yeah, whatever.  Virtue's not my forte, either.

I got better as I aged.  In the area of patience, anyway.  Having kids does that to you.  You want to have them live long enough to start school, so you learn to be patient. But there comes a point when I run out of patience and I just don't care anymore.  (DISCLAIMER:  This doesn't apply to my kids; I still care about them a whole lot.  Cause they rock. The Casbah. Hard.)

But that's kinda where I am with the government.  I have totally run out of patience with the Feds and I just don't care anymore.  Usually when someone else can't get their shit together it doesn't affect me that much, but the government lost their shit a long time ago and, consequently, the entire country is fucked.  I appreciate what all those Occupiers are trying to do, but honestly, they're just pulling TVs on top of themselves and I can tell you that doesn't get the results you think it will.  The government simply doesn't care about us Little People.  They have theirs, fuck us.  Guess they're not into virtues, either.

So y'all (once again) are invited to come live in Debbieland.  Much like in the 24th century, there is no currency here (hey, if it can work for Jean-Luc Picard, it can work for us).  There will be lots of chocolate and beer and theatre, both the straight and musical variety, and really good books and Thai food, and somehow we will all be provided for.  The only rules are that everyone has to be nice to each other and be quiet or leave the room if someone is trying to watch television.  And I'll probably abolish virtues, cause I don't see the point.  Someone come up with a National Anthem (one that people with a normal vocal range can sing, please) and we'll be ready to move in.  First beer's on me.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Debbieland

Bad Steve used to tell me I was naïve (Duh, I dated him for six years!).  He was right, of course. And although it was a bad thing in terms of being with him, overall I'm okay with being naïve.  Along with being overly empathic, uber-emotional, and loving people unconditionally, it's who I am and I'm kinda proud of it.  That's just how I roll.

Which is why I don't get blanket hatred.  I understand hating people individually.  Even with being a Professional Softie, I still have a few people on my Shit List.  Not a fan of Hitler, Bin Laden or Vlad the Impaler.  There are a couple of people in my past who make the list.  And for some irrational reason, Ed McMahon; I don't want to talk about it.  But hating a group of people because they're a particular group of people is so damn mean.  Why waste your energy?  What purpose could it serve?  Does it make you feel better to hate another ethnic/religious/political/sexually oriented group?  Does it make your penis larger?  Cause then I could understand it.  But I'm pretty sure there's no scientific proof of that, though the research could be fun.  But I digress lasciviously.

Here's an out-of-the-box concept: People Are People.  They may look different, believe different things, have a different smell than you, but they are still people.  And until each individual on the planet earns their assholedity, why hate 'em?  There for the Grace of Chaos go you.

 Now, my guess is that most of you reading this (Hi you 3!) already knew this. And I doubt that if, for some reason, you're reading this and you disagree with me, I will change your mind, anymore than you will ever convince me that Alabama college football is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  So don't waste your red/white/orange/blue breath.   My point is, I am naïve enough to agree with Rodney King: Why can't we all just get along?  Life Sucks.  Even if you have a "charmed" (hah!) life, there will be times that life gives you a good, swift kick in the solar plexus and it takes you a while to get your breath back.  There are some of us who seem to receive those kicks on a far-too regular basis and you would think we would get used to them, but we don't.  The latest one hurts just as much as the first one did.  I reiterate, Life Sucks.   So why make it harder by adding unreasonable hatred to your psyche?  It won't make the kicks any gentler and you're really just asking for extra kicks, so WTF?????????

Yes, Life Sucks.  But I still believe it doesn't have to.  You can make an effort to care about people, even if they don't dance to the same music you do.  People respond to being loved-everyone wants to be.  Try it.  It can't hurt.  It makes you feel warm and fuzzy, which is nice.  But hating never does that.  And it never helps.  And sometimes it ends up shutting down a restaurant that served delicious, cheap tacos.  And who wants that?

So let's  invite everyone to come live in Debbieland.  Where everyone loves everyone else and there are unicorns and rainbows and fat-free hot fudge sundaes and free beer and lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, with no negative consequences.  Everyone is welcome! 

Except Ed McMahon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

After the Fall

That's an Arthur Miller play about Marilyn Monroe.  Not one of his best, but it is Arthur Miller.  And irrelevant to the rest of this post.

I am ambivalent towards autumn.  Summer I like, winter I hate,  spring I love, but I can't make up my mind about fall (hence the ambivalency).  On the one hand, since summer in Alabama is 14 months long, by the time autumn finally gets here I'm really sick of my summer clothes and ready for a change.  But long sleeves annoy me because I have uber-short arms and long sleeves are always too long.  Plus, I have to start wearing coats/jackets and I hate coats/jackets, not to mention the fact that I invariably leave them wherever I go, necessitating the purchase of more coats/jackets, which I hate.  (It's the Circle of Life.)  But sartorial crises aside, while I love the dramatic skies and changing leaves, I always experience a feeling of unease in fall--like something really bad is about to happen.  Part of this feeling I base on the fact that during both my pregnancies I had morning sickness all autumn.   Back then the feeling that something bad was about to happen usually ended in me throwing up.  (On a side note, I was pregnant in the falls of 82 and 84, when John Cougar Mellancamp's songs "Hurts So Good" and "Jack and Diane" came out.  I get nauseous whenever I hear them; not because I don't like them, I do, but because when I heard them originally I was always queasy.  Pavlov's Deb.) So there's that.  And I associate autumn with going back to school, which so terrified me every year that I couldn't eat during the whole month of August, worrying about it.  So there's that. And my brother-in-law was killed in October, so there's that.  And there's that S.A.D. thing, so there's that.  I guess the wonder is that I like it at all.  But part of me does.  It appeals to my dramatic nature and there are two names for it, which makes it "special".  It usually smells pretty good.   And I love sitting around a roaring fireplace, just talking with my significant other.  I never do this, you understand, not having a fireplace and/or S.O., but if I had either/both of those things I would love that. Adults need to spend more time being cozy.  It's good for your soul.  And fall is the best season for cozy.  In a queasy, uneasy, I-just-know-something-terrible-is-going-to-happen-any-minute kind of way.

Also, I would like to apologize for putting "Jack and Diane" in everybody's head.  Anyone have any Pepto?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oy Vey

Being in theatre is like being in a relationship.

You're going along just fine without doing a play/dating, then there is an audition/you meet someone you really like. (That last sentence didn't work out so well grammatically, but let me have a little artistic license, here, please?) The more you read/get to know about it/the person, the more you want the role/person.  You go to the audition/first date and you nail it; sorry, that's a poor choice of words: let's just say it goes very well.  Then you get cast/decide to be an item. 

You are absolutely over the moon.

You have the read through/use your imagination for this part.  Everything is great.  You look forward to going to rehearsals/seeing him and/or her every day and you've never been happier.  Then one night, things are a little wonky.  But, no worries, it's early; you're just learning about each other (that one works for both, right?).  There are good days and not-so-good days, but overall you really love this role/person and it's where you want to be.  Enter tech week/insert random length of time here. Everyone/the two of you start(s) to get cranky and tempers are short.  It's supposed to be running smoothly by now, why isn't it?  It needs to be perfect and it isn't.  Why did I ever agree to do this?????

Then it's time for opening night/make-up sex.  And you remember why you love theatre/him/her. And you know that this is definitely where you want to be.

You enjoy the run; some nights aren't as good as others, but, hey, it's theatre/love!  The show closes/you break up, you strike/give him/her back his/her toothbrush and you promise each other you'll still be good friends.  Sometimes you are.  But you still hurt for a while and miss that play/person so much some days your heart won't stop aching.   You eventually get over it.  Because you know, there's always another play/person.  And maybe the next one will be the one to make you a star/actually last.  

Remind me why I do this/this again? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

College-ruled or Legal-ruled?

See?  I told you that's what this episode would be about! I don't lie, people, Honest Deb, that's me.

Although both my father and grandfather ran a stationery store, I am embarrassed to say I don't know the difference between the two.  However, I am proud to say I don't give a fuck.  What possible difference can it make?  Although I do imagine that the legal-ruled pads have perfectly-straight, light blue lines spaced in exact proportions, while the college-ruled lines are all different colors, totally crooked and smell a little like weed.  Now you know why I didn't go into the family business.

But I actually think that pompous names for sheets of paper are pretty indicative of the state of the business world today.  Most of it is pure BS that doesn't matter.  Take my firm's dress code.  We are not allowed to wear any sort of denim or sleeveless garment.  Evidently the sight of a sleeveless denim dress is considered the Height of Erotica in the Wacky World of Accounting.  While a sleeveless denim dress might make me nauseous, I sincerely doubt it would affect my productivity level (which is pretty damn low already, as you can tell from my typing this at work). What would affect my productivity level (maybe, I'm not promising anything) is if I could wear jammies to work.  And drink beer.   And have my friends come hang out with me.  Okay, that sounds a little too much like all my evenings, so maybe it wouldn't increase my productivity.  But I'd appreciate it.

Because evidently my boss thinks that "appreciation" is legal tender.  "We can't give you a raise this year, but we really appreciate you, okay?"  Sure, no problem.  The first of next month I'll pay my rent with "appreciation" and see how that goes.

Another example:  I was asked to FedEx something to a client.  I had to look up the client's address.  It wasn't in any of the first three places I tried to find it and when I went to the fourth I couldn't open the program because Outlook was running 3 other programs at the same time.  Except that it wasn't.  I have now lost interest in the whole project.  If the client wants his financial statements he can bloody well send someone from wherever he is and pick them up.  My time is valuable.  I have blogs to write and Words with Friends to play, I can't be wasting my valuable time looking up your damn address just so I can send you some pieces of paper that tell you you're fucking rich, while I have to pay my rent with "appreciation".  Sorry.  I'll calm down now.

But my point is, unless you're one of the 39 people in the world who actually enjoys their job (and, if you are one of those people, please don't tell me about it, I'll probably hit you), work sucks.  So why not make it as easy as possible.  Wear what you want.  More money, less appreciation.  And make day-to-day information you need to do your job readily accessible.  And rainbows and unicorns in every cubicle.  And beer flowing like spreadsheets.  And college-ruled legal pads.  Oh, yeah. . . . .

You've Gotta Have Friends

Always loved that song and Bette Midler.  I did a show one time with a guy who had lived with her during "Fiddler on the Roof".  He said she was awesome, no surprise.   Those things have nothing to do with this blog, but I'm in a chatty mood today and have no one to chat with, so lucky you.

Anyroad, I should put a disclaimer out there that this blog entry will be Sappy.  So if you're not in the mood, carry on.  Je comprends et j'taime. (Hey!  I do remember some of those 10 years of French!)

For the majority of my life, I had no friends.  That statement seems overdramatic and is perhaps a slight exaggeration (I am prone to such), but not that far off.  In each of the friend-free chapters of my life, there was always a different reason, but I still remained essentially friendless.  At the time, I didn't miss having friends.   I was too busy, or thought I was anyway, to need them.  I was fine on my own.  That's what I told myself.

The truth is, I was scared. I was scared I wouldn't be a good enough friend.  Scared people would find me so annoying and overbearing and obnoxious that they couldn't stand to be around me.  Scared that one time I would say the wrong thing and they'd never forgive me and I'd be all alone again.  So it seemed easier just to avoid people in the first place and skip all the painful shit.  The dull ache of being alone was comforting. 

Then, two years ago, when I finally ended the Bad Steve Debacle, I started attending social functions.  It was incredibly scary, you have no idea, but after a while I began to realize that nothing horrible was happening at these events.  I even started enjoying myself now and then, which was uber terrifying.  Could it be that I actually had some Companionship Value as a human being??  My mind boggled.  It has taken two years, and I am still in therapy, but I am almost to the point where I am ready to admit that I'm an okay friend and people like hanging with me. 

But the main thing I've discovered is that having friends rocks.  The support, comfort, companionship, love and solace I never got from family or relationships are there in all my friends.  I suppose this is something Everyone Else always knew, but I am just discovering it now--I feel like fucking Christopher Columbus, without the smallpox. (Clarification:  "fucking" in that last sentence is meant as adjective, not a verb, dead guys aren't my thing.)  I am truly amazed by this.  It's like discovering that a cold beer tastes good on a hot day or that sex makes you feel good.  Go Know.

I am an extremely emotional person (no, really?).  I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I speak my heart and I Thank the Theatre Gods that my friends can roll with that. 

Now, I'm not writing this so that people will validate me--I know my friends love me; I don't need constant reassurance. And this probably seems like a small thing to most people. But to me this as big as whatever that thing was that made Archimedes run down the street naked yelling "Eureka!", and I'm sure that was really, really important.   But his blog about it was probably less sappy.

I swear, next time I'll talk about legal-rule vs. college-rule notepads.  And I won't get introspective.  Well, I'll try not to. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Life is Funny

When I was in college a very dear friend of mine used to say to me almost every day, "Gump, make me laugh."  (My nickname in college was Gump, long boring story, don't ask; but let me add that this was eons before Forrest of the Same Surname appeared.) Anyroad, I would always try.  And if I couldn't make Lee Ann laugh, I felt bad. 

The point of this quasi-maudlin and boring bit of ancient history is that making people laugh is really, really important to me.  Like chefs crave you savoring their food, musicians sing their heart for you,   and politicians do everything in their power to get you to despise them, I feel driven to make people laugh and if they don't think I'm funny, I feel like I've let the Universe down.   But the thing about being funny is that is has to be organic.  Don't ask me to tell a joke.  I can't remember jokes any more than I can remember any of the ten years of French I took.  Plus there is a cheesy kind of theatricality with joke telling that embarrasses me.  I feel like I should be on a small, poorly lit stage, entertaining the local Hadassah Chapter and ending every set with, "Thank you, I'll be here all week-try the veal."  (or "try the pork chops", which would actually be funny.)  No, I like the type of humor where a situation spontaneously spawns a punchline.  That sentence seems wrong somehow, but I hope you get my drift.  These "jokes" are rarely funny out of context and often seem sad or pathetic if I try to repeat them.  Which I do anyway, wherein people smile politely and nod and slowly back away from me. 

I would like to point out that "Being Funny" (copyright pending) has nothing to do with acting in a comedy or doing improv.  In the former the lines are already written for me and in the latter I have the incredible luck/fortune/blessing of working with the most amazingly funny people I have ever known, who support me and make me look funny even when I'm not.  In both plays and improv, all I have to do is pick out the gems from the treasure chest of comedy I'm offered.  Fun and (usually) rewarding but not compulsive.

Like Being Funny is.  It has gotten me in trouble more times than I can remember.  At one point in my life (a low one), I was in Sales.  A bad idea.  I had to do a lot of cold calls (an even worse idea) and I was shaking the hand of a prospective client when he apologized for his hands being cold.  Without thinking (obviously) I said, "Oh, well, cold hands, warm heart!" which was inappropriate and glib and killed the sale.  Yay.  I'm sure there are other examples, but thankfully my conscious has blocked them out.  If there is a joke out there, I will make it and suffer the consequences.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Lee Ann, if you're still out there, thanks for the vote of confidence that I could always make you laugh.  I tried.  And the veal is delicious.