Thursday, September 27, 2012

Crazy Is as Crazy Does

I am a talker, and I  talk outloud to myself.  I'd like to say it's because I've lived alone so long, but the truth is I've always done it.  I probably got in the habit of it when I was kid and had no one else to talk to.  I need to get a fake bluetooth so that people walking down the street won't think I'm crazy.

But I probably am.

All the women in my mother's family eventually go crazy; some earlier in life, some later.  It's not Alzheimer's, the doctors don't know what it is.  I call it Crazy Irish Women's Disease.  Although, my mother's maiden name was Downs, so I thought of calling it Downs Sydrome, but I understand that name has been taken (Equity rules). 

Unlike some of the women in my family, if I am crazy, I'm Good Crazy, not Bad Crazy.  Except for a touch of the Paranoia, I'm generally overly optimistic about life, love my friends to distraction, and see a joke in almost everything.  The CIWD victims who are Bad Crazy, are Uber Paranoid, Mean, Greedy, Self-centered and Judgmental. (aka Republican)  If I *ever* start to exhibit these traits stick a DNR  note on my chest and shoot me.  Thank you.

I have come to embrace my craziness, because I don't see any option; other than letting it drive me crazy, which I'm afraid would cancel out the first crazy and leave me sane.  I don't think I could live that way.

So, if you see a short, aging, curly-haired lady walking past Linn Park  talking and laughing away to herself, please know that she does not actually live in Linn Park.  She's just A Functioning Lunatic, probably headed to Rojo.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

*Insert Clever Title Here*

I have often described myself as a "loner".  I don't mean that in a derogatory way, though.  And it certainly doesn't mean I am Alone, although there was a time when I was. 

Pretty much the whole six years I was with Bad Steve I was Alone.  I never knew when he would breeze into town or how long he would stay.  I wouldn't hear from him on a regular basis (usually just when he needed money).  And when he was with me he wasn't really "with" me, if you know what I mean.  I just had an overactive imagination that convinced me that I was in a relationship and somebody really loved me.  I was wrong.

Ironically, now that I am not in a relationship, I have lots of people who truly *do* love me and I am not Alone.  Happy Ending.  Also,  nothing to do what I started to write about, so back to your regularly scheduled programming.

ANYROAD, I don't think being a loner is a bad thing, although people tend to equate loner and serial killer.  I can assure you, unless you count roaches and spiders, I have never serially killed anything.  To me, being a loner just means you are comfortable enough with your uniqueness that you don't want to compromise it by being bored/awkward/uncomfortable with a bunch of people who label themselves, just so you will fit in.  *That* was a helluva sentence, I'm pretty sure any English teacher would tell me to change it, but I think it gets my point across, and I'm not in school anymore.  So there. 

I never did the sorority thing, I didn't join any extra-curricular clubs in high school, Girl Scouts made me feel like I had no right to call myself a Girl and I was pretty sure I was (I checked regularly). 

This is also one of the 4,298,637 reasons why religion never appealed to me.  Too many of their concepts (in any of the 439 religions I have tried, I'm an Equal Oppportunity PooPooer) didn't make any sense to me and I didn't feel like wasting precious time on a Sunday morning with a group of people who believed things I didn't, when I could waste precious time on a Sunday morning sleeping (which I Wholeheartedly Believe In).

So label me a loner if you like, that's okey dokey with me.  And I bet if I started a group who believed in sleeping in on Sunday mornings, it would be bigger than Catholicism.  Who's with me??

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Have No Idea What to Call This One

This is probably not the most original observation I've ever made, but I am fascinated by the changes in one's psyche over time. I am using the word "psyche" here because I don't really think there's a word for what I'm talking about.  It's that Fascinating Thingy that makes you want to do certain things (not "that" certain thing--everyone wants to do "that"!), or like certain things or feel led in a certain direction at any given time.  I guess I could call it "Fascinating Thingy", but that sounds awfully undignified and we all know all dignified I am.  (HA!)

Anyroad, I am not talking about when you're young how you like to play with kids' toys and when you're older you prefer "that" kind of toys; nor am I talking about how when you have kids their likes become your likes, whether you like it or not.  That's called Parenting.  I am as Anti-Sports as you can get, but I spent a helluva lot of time yelling my lungs out at soccer/softball/baseball/rugby games when my kids were younger.  I only follow the Steelers today because my son's a rabid fan.  That's called love, which, coincidentally, is the Major Ingredient in Parenting.

No, I'm talking about. . . well, it's hard to describe, so I'll just give you an example.  For the first eight years I was divorced, I was a television addict.  I paid through the nose (ouch!) for expanded cable so I could watch everything I "needed" to see.  I curtailed 70% of any social outings in favor of watching "Monk" or "Eureka", etc., etc.  I became obsessed with certain shows and wouldn't answer the phone during them.  During the beginning of the new fall season I don't think I even bathed.  (And got even fewer invitations to socialize at that time, strangely enough.)   For a good portion of those eight years, I was dating Bad Steve, and watching TV was one of the only three activities we did together.  And we now how well that turned out.

When I moved to the apartment where I am now, I still watched a lot of TV at first, but then I noticed how incredibly awesome sunsets looked from my porch and how deliciously dramatic thunderstorms were from the same location.  Then I did back-to-back-to-back-to-back shows, and I barely looked at my apartment, let alone television.  Last year, after Angels in America Part Two closed, I had three months off for the first time in a year.  I tried watching TV again and it was like I had been sprayed with television repellent; let's call it Off, because that's what I did to the TV.  So I cut back on my cable channels, just getting the local stuff.   I wanted to keep those because I have watched the Today show in the morning every day of my 60 years and I don't think I could function if it weren't droning in the background.  At first I was worried that I would miss the endless array of crap on TV but I didn't.  I found myself hanging out with friends a lot more and they were way more entertaining than Tony Shaloub, although I am a big Tony Shaloub fan.  Ever see "Primary Colors"  He's great in that movie.  But I digress. . . .

You must realize that this TV addiction did not just start with my divorce.  I was raised by daytime television when I was a kid.  My mom spent 65% of her day on the phone and the rest (Please don't ask me to figure out the other percentage.  I was a Theatre Major.)  doing housework/cooking.  She'd come into the living room a couple times a day to give me food and change the channel.  But the whole idea of "spending time with your kid" never occurred to her.  I do not call that Parenting.  

That's why this turning away from the boob tube is such a big deal to me.  It's not  just switching from Miracle Whip to Hellman's, this is really Life Changing.  A Fascinating Thingy, if you will.  Or, even if you won't.  It's my Fascinating Thingy.  Go get your own.  You'll be glad you did.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Electrifying Personality

There is something about me that tends to kill appliances and electronic devices.  I have killed three computers in ten years.  Just after I killed my last computer (in March), my microwave died. I can't count the number of vacuum cleaners I've owned that expired on the second or third use.  And for the last two months, my phone has been acting wonky.  I am thinking of contracting myself out to the State Department for espionage work.  They could send me to the Middle East or Mordor or Republican Headquarters, wherever is our current greatest terrorist threat, and just have me live there for six months.  I could bring down a third-world power grid  in less time than it takes a Kardashian to get married and divorced.  You're welcome, America.

Along these lines, sort of, I discovered on Wednesday that my former employer (CPA Firm Which Must Not Be Named) has been paying me for the last month, maybe two, even though I don't work there anymore.  I admit, shamefully, that my first thought on seeing all this extra money in my checking account was, "Yippee!  Now I can buy a new computer, microwave and phone!" (I can live without a vacuum cleaner); but this was quickly followed by, "Yippee!  The FBI will come walk me out of my office in handcuffs for fraud!"  So I dutifully called my old HR rep and reported it.  She said she'll get back with me on how much the actual overpayment is and did I want them to debit the amount out of my account or did I want to write them a check?  I will write them a check, thank you; because, based on recent performance, I'm afraid they'd debit my entire checking account away, and steal my precious kittens, as well.   I am still waiting to hear back from her. 

Perhaps the Federal Government should hire CFWMNBN to do their books.  I'm betting they could get rid of that pesky deficit in a hurry.  And convince China that they owe us money. 

They say what comes around, goes around.  In my case, it just keeps going around and around and around and around. . . . .

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time to Remember

When I tell civilians that I am an actor, the first thing they invariably do (after looking at me like I have three heads), is say, "I don't know how you memorize all those lines."   (Conversely, when I tell civilians that I am an improvist, the first thing they invariably do {after looking at me like I don't have a head at all} is say, "I don't know how you make all that stuff up."  Go know.)

I don't actually know how I memorize all those lines, either.  I do it because I have to and a lot of it involves hopinglikehell that I remember what I'm supposed to say on stage when I'm supposed to say it.  I have learned that I have to say the lines out loud in order for it to stick in my addled brain.  And I have to go over the lines every day during the run of the show, even if we're dark that night.  And that's still no guarantee that I'll say the right things at the right time.

There were a couple of times during Hamlet that what came out of my mouth was not English, although it was during a time when I was supposed to talk.  So there's that.  And during last Saturday's Earnest performance, I started to say a line I had already said.  But, thanks to my improv ability, I made something up around the line that made quasi-sense.  I hope. 

When I was in high school, our school was chosen as one of two high schools in the country to do an evening performance at the National Thespian Society Conference.  (As oppossed to the National Lesbian Society Conference, where all attendees are expected to perform every evening.)  It was quite an honor.  The play we did was All My Sons, by Arthur Miller.  It's kind of like a practice Death of a Salesman.  I had a smaller role, Sue Bayliss, but I did have a scene where I had a juicy monologue.  When we were doing the show at the conference (in front of 3,000 people), I had just finished my monologue.  At this time, the screen door was supposed to fly open and the male lead was supposed to come out and interrupt me.  By the use of my double "suppposed to's", I guess you can figure out that it didn't happen.  I looked at my scene partner, who turned green, letting me know that she wasn't going to help me out of this; so I just launched into another monlogue, one that Mr. Miller never wrote.  It went on for what seemed like two hours, but finally the lead burst through the screen door, looking, I am glad to say, uber-flustered.  I said the exit line I was supposed to say two hours before and left the stage.  And tried to stop shaking.  The cool thing about this is that in the audience was the woman who had originally played Sue Bayliss on Broadway, and she told my director that she thought that unless you knew that role,  you would never know I was just making shit up on the fly.  That made me feel good.

Okay, that enthralling tale had more to do with not talking to people when you should be listening for your cue rather than memorization, but it does speak to . . . . well, it doesn't really speak to anything, I just happened to think about it.  Hey, I'm a stream-of-consciousness writer, get over it.

I tell myself that memorizing lines is actually good for me, in that it helps stave off the dreaded Alzheimer's.  I figure if I can memorize a 10-minute Polonius speech, I have a good chance of remembering my name and where I live.  (Providing, of course, I don't have too much Cast Party.)  

So, if you see a woman wandering the streets of Highland Park, muttering, "I have a daughter, have while she is mine, who, in obedience, hath given me this!  Gather and surmise!", just point me in the direction of 34th Street.  Merci. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Home "Sweet?" Home

In my fantasy world of Debland, filled with unicorns and rainbows and really good beer, every day I come home to a tidy apartment. 

In Realityville, however, I come home to Kitties, Miller High Life and a Federally Declared Disaster Area.  Granted, I wouldn't trade my Kitties for all the unicorns in Narnia, but I also suspect they are largely to blame for the FDDA.  I'll take full responsibility for the MHL. 

I realize I have had rehearsal for the last few weeks, as well as improv shows two weekends ago and I was out of town for Labor Day Weekend, all of which are high up on the list of Excellent Excuses for Not Cleaning House (Vol. 360); but still, it's always a little disheartening to have to wade through piles of clothes/junk mail/cat toys/????  to get to the sink, where you try to figure out which glass you can extricate from the pile of dirty dishes that will be least likely to give you botulism.  (And for any smartasses out there that will snarkly comment, "You could actually wash a glass.", please accept this bird.)

How awesome would it be to be greeted at the door by some hot, young-ish guy in a shirt, unbuttoned to *here* and wearing nothing else, who has the apartment sparkling, the Stella poured into a fancy glass, the sheets turned down and Bruce Springsteen singing softly how he's on fire. (Excerpt from: Fifty Shades of Deb or Debland After Dark). 

*I'll give you a moment to collect yourself*

Yeah, well, fuck that shit.  After leaving the house at 7:30 a.m. and getting home at 10:00 p.m., I'm lucky to make it up the 49 steps to my apartment, not step on a kitten or two and find my way to my bed, which is filled with cat toys, not boy toys. 

But it could be a lot worse.  At least I don't have to clean out a unicorn pan.