Thursday, June 22, 2017

Solstice 2017

When I was seventeen the director of the summer camp I grew up at led us on a summer solstice night hike. It was a campy (literally) rite of passage full of life advice, but several of these little lessons have stayed relevant to me over the years. My favorite takeaway was the idea of living "solstice days.' The concept is on the longest day of the year we should wake-up bright and early, full of excitement and stay vibrant with the sun, squeezing every drop of joy from the day. And, you know, if you want to live a full life, repeat x 365. On any given day when I am ear to pillow I know my day has been incredible. Even when I am depressed or anxious, on paper I have lived a remarkable 18 hours.

When I was down last week Pearl told me to remember probably less than 500 people in the world have somehow made improv & teaching their employment, and we are two of them. Those numbers could easily be skewed depending on how you define "improv" "teaching" and "employment," but whatever. I know I do this exercise all the time--listing what my day entailed--but it's always a rainbow from my 10th grade journal. 6 out of 7 of my days are so classified as solstice, that that one needed break usually makes me feel sluggish or guilty. I live in June 21st.

On this year's solstice morning I woke up at 4 AM. I couldn't sleep, so I worked on my book for about an hour and did some lesson planning. I did a circuit at my gorgeous athletic club and took the early train north to teach musical theatre to 5th graders. They learned a kickline to "Singin' in the Rain." Puhg and I watched the finale of Better Call Saul, I scrapbooked in the living room with the windows open. I answered adult bill mail. At 8 I led an improv rehearsal for an indie team. I laughed, we got critical, we goofed to the Red Line. Pearl texted me a photo of Burger King's Lucky Charms shake. I said, "We should go now," because I was already out. I was surprised to hear she was down. She and Flip had just left the Cubs game.

I pushed through the hoards in Wrigleyville and we walked to the BK. It was locked. Google had said 24-hours, but that was the drive-thru and we were on foot. But we rallied. We were already there. Maybe we would ask a passing car to get us the ice cream. I committed and called a Lyft. We waited for it to come and saw a familiar body shape on the sidewalk. It was Dal! We called out and he walked over. What are the odds! He was hungry too.  Suddenly the night was magic and we were all going to get crowns. My Lyft driver cancelled. He said my request was "unacceptable.' Was it? I didn't think so. Flip hailed a cab. No dice, but the next cab said yes! We all squeezed in cheerily, we ordered novelty treats and Cheeto sticks! We waited at the window.

We waited a long time. Our driver revealed he had to go to the bathroom very badly and started knocking on the window. The women working would not let him in (understandably). It was funny and then he was in a lot of anxious pain. He pointed at the dash and said, "There's my license. Good luck." And then he ran across two lanes of traffic to a gas station. He came back jumping, he wasn't allowed to use the restroom. We were stuck. We offered to leave, a line of cars sat behind us. After 25-minutes the food came. We grabbed it and jumped out. The driver behind us revved like he would smash us. He screamed at Dal. Dal engaged. Pearl said, "Walk away." I was got very tiny inside my head wishing, "Oh god let there not be a fight in this Burger King parking lot." We walked away, feeling the steam of tense encounters. The milkshakes were actually really good.

I asked a cop to take our picture, and Dal gave her a Cheeto stick. Eventually we all parted ways. I walked the last half mile alone up Halsted.

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