Thursday, October 29, 2015

"I'm Old"

Last night was my second class of a new term at Improv High. A very sweet and funny pixie sat next to me. I started asking her about Phoenix. I remembered she mentioned in our "getting to know you" circle that was her home base. I gathered from our discussion that she went to school out there for some time and then moved a bit and ended up in Chicago. I started finding common ground when suddenly she kind of got awkward and said, "Yeah, well I'm old. I'm pretty old. I'm, uh, 31 now." And she nodded sort of embarrassed. I nodded back without words. There were a lot of things I could say, but I was stalled out. Class began.

We improvised for three hours, and then everyone was kind of hanging around the bar. The pixie's husband was there, so I very weirdly asked to talk to her alone. I said, "So, you're not old." And she at first thought I was kind of pitying her and being like, "Awww, not THAT old! Buck up!" But then I was like, "Okay, I feel self-conscious about being old because so many people in this community are 22, and this community says that's the only age to be, and I feel like it is impossible to move any higher in this community past 29, so when someone says she is 31 and basically old and dead, that scares me. I don't want to think to myself I only have X many years left." I didn't know if she was agreeing with me or not or if I was making sense. My face was flushing but it was too late to turn back. "And guys don't apologize for being 30! They don't say they're old! They become cool veterans. So don't say you're old. Because I think it makes it worse. So don't do that." Now she was stalled. I hope I didn't attack her. I hope I empowered her. It's weird how those two things are so easy to mistake. She said, "Yeah, thanks," and smiled very awkwardly. I went to a show using my student ID and ran into Pinker, who was celebrating his birthday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Meat Causes Cancer, World Hates Vegetarians

The World Health Organization announced Monday that processed meat definitely causes cancer. It has been officially proven by the most credited health source out there. True, the amount which bacon contributes to cancer is less than smoking, but it still DOES. Do you want a little cancer? Heck, people banned red M&Ms because of Red40! It is amazing how people hold on to their meat. Virtually nothing else in the world could be announced it CAUSES CANCER, and people find a way to dismiss it. Quick google search of "meat cancer World Health Organization."

"If meat causes cancer, what can we eat?"
"Eating red and processed meat isn't going to increase your risk of cancer by that much."
"The WHO links processed meat to cancer and vegetarians get smug on Twitter"

What about the "Let's stop eating meat" headlines?! What about those?! Instead, somehow, a blatant fact against meat becomes yet another way to rip on vegetarians, who, to be clear, only do the ABSENCE of a thing. Even Stephen Colbert knocked the vegetarians this week. I am so disappointed. He said "smug vegetarians" is redundant. Come on, dude, you're supposed to be a bastion of wisdom and social change, and instead you're a kicking a group of people who are only trying to make the world a better place.


Friday, October 23, 2015


One thing I promise myself is to do my things. This seems simple--do the things I committed to do, I am supposed to do, I am paid to do. I do the things. Last winter I told myself yes, I hate the cold, but I will never not do my things. And I didn't. Even if I was sick or it was actually negative nine degrees and going to work meant a twenty minutes on a train platform, I did my things. I didn't miss a single day of class during The Program. I cancel social plans only in extremity.

Yesterday Bisque asked me if I was feeling better, and I said I was. Mainly because I did things. I had some meetings which require me to smile a LOT and be very optimistic. I planned a development chat for the sake of my comedy, and even though by 10 PM what I really wanted to do was sit in my underwear and maybe eat raw cake mix, I went for a run to perk up, pulled my hair up, and went out to learn about how I can be a better artist. I ran into some people I met last week and even stayed out to watch an show with them. I graded papers on the ride home and ate some candy corn in bed until I fell asleep.

In a way, I feel like a fraud. Like I pretended myself into being happier. The fake it 'til you make it. Bisque reminded me that the happy parts of myself are not a lie--they are true too--they were just covered up by some darker, bitter shades (also true) for a while. Again, I circle back to my favorite KVJ quote:

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Deprezzed Pep Talk Texts from Bisque

ME: I hate my life. I am sitting on the ground in Englewood.
BISQUE: Peak act of depression right there.
BISQUE: Sitting on the ground in Juarez might be worse.
BISQUE: If you keep thinking things are bad and won't work out, then by golly that's how things will be. But if you're grateful and positive and put love into the world, then that's what you're going to get back. So you can either sit on a disgusting sidewalk and or you can get your cute ass up and go get a donut.
BISQUE: Which sounds better?
BISQUE: The donut is always better.
ME: What donut are you talking about?
BISQUE: Any donut!
BISQUE: Donut is a metaphor for all donuts and being happy.
ME: There are no donuts in Englewood.
BISQUE: That's racist.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Waiting for News

Are there ways to never experience rejection again? I'm going down the check boxes and really wondering. Once you have a steady job forever and ever (tenure, that type of thing) I guess you probably won't be fired. And you certainly won't apply anymore.

You can saddle up to a lover for all time and never hear "no" for the flick Saturday night. Make a gang of besties with standing dates who are so close to you even a "next time" is so painfully opaquely not a rejection. No new friends.

And mostly you are never a writer, and you are never a performer, and you never have a dream, and you never try to do anything ever again.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cheers 2 Joni 2nite

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty,
though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true.
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams, and plenty
before the last revolving year is through.

And the seasons they go round and round.
And the painted ponies go up and down.
We're captive on the carousel of time.
We can't return we can only look
behind from where we came 
and go round and round and round 
in the circle game.

Monday, October 12, 2015

What to Do

People say life is short, (Read: Take the wildest chances, go for it.) but maybe life is long. (Read: The chances come back.) Especially in goodbyes, he tells me. Goodbyes seem so hard. Goodbye forever, but when the next Hello blinks into life, and it's like no time has passed. Because life is long.

The older I get, the longer time feels, but the shorter each experience does. Like how driving to Grandma's house for Christmas was once an eternity requiring several books, a Discman, and maybe my eraser collection. And now, what do I do in an hour? Sometimes commute, sure, with nothing but ear buds.

I feel the "I'm not moving fast enough" slipping away, as it should. I'd like to replace it with, "Good for you. You moved."
Atlantic jumpin'. Summer 2015.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

They Could Be Calling Your Name

Two new girlies tried step class today. Step is a different language. The bass is bumpin (today was "Heaven is a Place on Earth!), the shorts are short, and the instructor doesn't have time to dilly dally. He calls the moves as we go, and we follow right behind. "Reverse ham hop! Sashay, over the bench, three knees, hop and box!" It makes no sense unless it makes sense.

So the girlies were floundering. I always want to go up to new people and say, "Really, don't be embarrassed. No one has a good first day." But I don't want to be condescending. Our instructor did such a great job with the ladies. He called the advanced moves while demo-ing the basic combos. Amazing, I think. It was incredible how much the class became about them. Really, all about them. Never-ending extra thumbs ups and encouragement. More reminders, tips, and advice. "I wish I had gotten so coddled my first day!" I thought indignantly. It was St. Patrick's Day, and I was failing hard. I sweat a lot, but I sweat twice as much that day from being a complete doof while old ladies bopped circles around me.

And then I remembered all the talking on the mic. The instructor was chatty, but I wasn't attune to the reverberations of a gym yet. I could barely hear him. I was so focused on my feet I could barely hear the music. In hindsight, I know I was just as cared for, encouraged, talked to on my first day, but I literally didn't hear it over my own concerns. This has some meaning.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekend, mid-twenties

First I grade papers at 5 AM. A dance work-out and racing out the door. New camel-colored coat. Square Potbelly sandwich and the creamiest Dunkin coffee. Class begins at 8 AM. Today's to-dos are grammar and style review on the second in-class essay followed by brainstorming and peer-editing on the persuasive issue assignment. The happy chef plans an essay about why churches need to pay taxes. Lots of teen programs for the South Side. Russian exchange student has decided to write a persuasive essay about why there should be a washer and dryer in her apartment.

AStanSr and I walk Maggie Daley Park. The bop around the city slopping through time. Eventually I must go home. I must write a letter of recommendation and recap with Bisque over crackers and cheese. I walk a mile and a half on Friday night holding a giant comforter and pillow because it is girl's night. TQ and I gossip dipping pretzels into frosting. Gala arrives, Puppy Chow. We put on glitter tattoos and watch Coyote Ugly from the hardwood floor. It is misogynistic. You can't fight the moonlight.

My alarm goes off at 6:30. I catch the bus home, run three miles at the gym (glitter tatt dissolves), and throw my junk together for a long day. Another Dunkin coffee praise allah and Lyfts. I rehearse four hours for the Halloween sketch show. I really like comedy. Korean lunch. I like how the hard eggs looks, chopped in two. I take an unfamiliar bus to David's Bridal. Hell is David's Bridal on a Saturday. Nothing is there, everyone is busy, no one is helpful, everyone is happy and spending disgusting amounts of money. This is not the point. I leave angry rushing to the downtown theatre. I show up late to the solo show with a new friend. A simple and wide-eyed friend. "I like you," I think, "but I also am not in this place right now." Bisque heard my bits over pizza. I did an open mic. So far, so good. It's late, and I feel it.

Running on the lake. Raspberry scones from a terrible waitress. I feel frustrated. The city rage is strong. In improv class I play a woman so in love with life she ventriloquists a dead body at a wake. I buy ear warmers. I meet Kam at my favorite woody bar. The posse, we are called, byt someone I admire. Kam and Nep and me, all watching subpar improve from the back row. Back to Kam's apartment to pump Nep up. She has to quit her job, we all have to feel confident about ourselves. Yes, I have lots to do, but I'm done done, honey bun.