Sunday, February 28, 2016

Alice in Shipland: One Week Down

Some things that have happened so far:

-In the middle of the week the producer took the cast out to a fancy French Bistro on board with SC footing the bill. I ordered four desserts.
-We have to wear Britney mics for our shows.
-I made friends with a guy from Albania during lifeboat drill.
-I accidentally fell asleep in a deck chair for twenty minutes on the first day at sea, and my right leg only got sunburned.
-In Mexico my roommate and I went to Cozumel Kmart for “essentials.” I bought a Hello Kitty pillow for my bed.
-I sleep on the top bunk, which is like a soft coffin. The ceiling is right in my face, but the room is pitch black at night, and the boat rocks me to sleep. Pictures of my friends surround me. And now I cuddle Hello Kitty’s fat face.
-The social dynamic within the cast is so specific to this experience. I don’t know some basic facts about most of my crew, but if something personal sprouts in the conversation everyone pretty much goes there because, well, we’re going to be together on this floating rock, so there’s no use hiding.
-Anxieties I haven’t felt since high school have reared their heads. I worry no one likes me.  Or I like everyone too much. In the wide world, none of that matters, but in ship world where there are SIX OF US, it can be scary. I have more empathy for people from small towns and the emotional turmoil that must entail.
-Crew bar is very cheap and very friendly. Everyone goes and hangs out there late into the night. One night the bar was moved from under the ship to above the pool deck. The wind was whipping so hard my hair grew a dreadlock, but I was outside in February, in shorts, laughing with new people, zooming over the ocean at 1 AM. Not too bad.
-Things felt a little weird until our first show. I don’t do well sitting in situations where my purpose has not been revealed yet. The sketch show—while a typical canon of safe and family friendly jokey joke scenes—felt huge. Hundreds of people were hooting at us. Surreal.
-I am nobody until show night, and then I am a mini-celebrity. Especially if a couple or more of us are walking through the pool deck, passengers smile and wave.
-In real life I listen to Spotify for all my music needs, which means I’m usually pumping whatever tunes have recently caught my ear. Now I am alone with my iPod that hasn’t been updated since college. I run the track above the food court and remember all of the albums that meant so much to me at a very different time.
-I love my roommate MB. I missed female sounding boards when I left Arizona, and I feel like the world plopped this queer tiny room with two people situation into my lap as a response. We slap on pjs and girl talk into the dark tiled void.
-I like the rest of the cast too--including the producer and director who were on board for the first week. Some highlights include doing magic tricks and playing late night celebrity in a conference room, sitting in the swanky Star Bar after our first show, rehearsing a murder mystery in a restaurant alcove.
-Once a week I visit port in New Orleans, which is where I write this now. I have felt fidgety a few times, maybe fussy, but back on land perspective flows easily, and I am so looking forward to the rest of this adventure.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Happy Is What Happens

Yesterday I sat in the big fancy conference room with my coffee mug filled with the last of my Starbucks birthday card Macchiato and signed my name to contracts to literally work my dream job. And then, we rehearsed. Dreams come true are curious creatures. Is this the dream? The closer it gets in the first place, the less glowing it seems until for lunch you are eating a cold piece of avocado toast and highlighting haphazardly.

But I DO still feel full of something--zip or zest--that tightens around me. This was day two of rehearsal. I woke up early to run lines on the gym elliptical. I ate a spinach bowl. I answer emails furiously on the train. I laugh a lot. I think a lot. I try a lot. I wonder a lot. Everything you get you once wanted very much, and that is strange.

There's a kind of a sort of cost--
There's a couple of things get lost.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday at the End of Days

I take off for a big adventure in two short weeks. There is so much to do before then and now. I see the endless appointments and dinner dates roll on for miles of my paper planner. I have a real makeshift artist schedule these days. It's not my favorite way to live, but it beats a lot of ways to live.

Typical Thursday began yesterday with a 7 AM alarm. I rowed, ran, and stretched at the gym and hustled back home to shower in under one song. I sprinted to the bus. The driver couldn't help but stop in the middle of the street for me. I was flailing. I read the news on the short train ride north to meet a fellow teaching artist. We drove to a high school at the edge of the city. We couldn't find the main entrance and snuck in a side. It was a passing period. We were half an hour early. We wanted around getting backpack checked looking for the library.

We discussed local theatre politics and ate from the tubs of tiny Trader Joe's cookies I brought for the meeting. The two drama teachers arrived. We discussed the residency about to take place and felt a shallow kinship of People Who Care About Teenagers Learning Monologues. We took a tour of the auditorium (with a balcony!). This is the school the play Grease was based on. We were spit out into the winter sun and rambled home.

On the couch I answered work emails and ate a spinach bowl. Bisque edited spreadsheets and Portlandia played. Later SNL. I felt restless and walked to the library where for no reason my late fine from the book about tennis I kept a week too long was waved. I sat on the second floor in a study carrel and felt very much like it was my first year of grad school again. I updated files and wrote documents for my soon to be non-job. I took twenty minutes to brainstorm a new sketch idea I had. A woman barked fifteen minutes until close, and I scampered home in the dark.

My mom called me from her train. We discussed the weekend. I combed my hair. Bisque and I walked around the corner to the vegan place we've never tried. It was small and smokey, but played Bright Eyes over a loud speaker. My aunt and uncle met us, and we ordered too much delicious cheese-less pizza. I took home a big cardboard box.

KK invited me and Nep to her studio in Old Town for face masks and gossip. I took a six dollar Lyft and we squealed and gabbed in the kitchen. My mom texted she was on a bus headed back to my place, so Nep and I split a cab back north. I jumped out at the bus stop at midnight and waited for a lady who I knew would be carrying too many bags to emerge from transit. We chatted and tottered down Belmont. Made it up the three flights. I put on gym shorts. I cozied into bed. I checked Instagram. I fell asleep.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Beat So Wild

There are so many wonderful fantastic things. There are all the adult things--the networking emails, when you can expense cookies for a meeting, getting your ears cleaned at the minute clinic. There are the potential things. What if this opportunity opens and blossoms right before my eyes? What if I was meant for something I have yet to realize? And what if we met? Control. I seem to have no control over so many of the wonderful things because they are all a puff of dust away from not even existing as things at all. But there are the also the simple things. My favorite college album, blankets, walking Clark street, pink neon signs. These things can not be taken away. The risks seem smaller, the jumps mere steps, remembering that.

Me dying. Sketch show last October.
Am I just confused
Or did our hearts that beat so wild and free
Forget who they beat for?