September Surrender: Day 27
What I’m Letting Go: Screening the Screen
I can’t understand a dang ol’ thing these days. I don’t even know what the news is today. There’re far too many things to follow, with things of no substance hitting the top of the feed. I took a nap on the couch today for the first time in days, and I may have slept too long. I’m trying to catch up on all the news before the second GOP debate tonight, which I plan on watching with some smokey help, so I need to get all my things done before then. I look around my home and it’s a straight up disaster area of boxes, clothes, shoes, crap from the closet with no place inside anymore. But I can worry about all that later. I’ve got a newsfeed to focus on.
Except there is no news. It’s just fluff. Senators refusing to resign despite being found with gold bars stuffed in pockets. Taylor Swift and a football player I didn’t know existed until five days ago are dating and the New York Post “needs” to figure out their couple name. There are WAGs (wives and girlfriends) of famous golfers I’ve never heard of showing their cleavage off on Instagram. Microcelebrities on Twitter making niche content that I simply cannot grasp at first glance. People deciding to loot while pretending it’s a good thing. I don’t get it. And it’s time I stop trying to get it.
I realize I’m not going to be able to see all the news that’s fit to print in just one day. It’s impossible to know about everything and more importantly, it’s impossible to care about all these things. One simply cannot. I know what I put the focus on, and I have to try and stop figuring out the reasoning behind what everyone else is watching. I’ll never figure it out, and if I keep trying, I’ll only drive myself nuts. And a crazy lady needs less time away from the limelight, not more time in it.
What I’ve Discovered: A Literal Broadway Baby
I was on Broadway when I was six-years-old. I know I’ve told the internet about it before, but I’m surprised I never mentioned it here. My mom took me and a few other family members to a play called “Fool Moon.” It was a pantomime comedy featuring two male performers, all narrated by string band The Red Clay Ramblers. I can’t remember what it was about, but it had one-of-a-kind slapstick comedy that I remember absolutely loving. And this is where I made my Broadway debut.
Before the show, a stagehand approached me sitting in my seat. She asked me how old I was and I told her, then asked if I’d like to join the actors on stage in the second act. I looked to my mom who was beside herself, and said sure I’d do it. The stagehand said she’d pick me up after intermission and take me backstage. The couple sitting in front of us turned around and said, “You’re going to be a star!” That scared the hell out of me. I turned to my mom and said, “I’m not doing this.” She wasn’t disappointed, she just said that when the stagehand came back, we’d tell her I changed my mind. Then the lights dimmed, and the two funny boys came out, both masters of physical comedy and mime. I was blown away. I tugged on my mom’s shirt and said, “Mommy, I’m doing this,” and was well on my way to temporary stardom.
At intermission, the woman came back like she said she would and took me backstage. I sat there with another little boy named Bryan and we chit-chatted for a little bit, wondering what to expect when suddenly Bill Irwin came in from behind a curtain. I remember being so afraid of him initially because he was the star, and just who was I? Irwin explained we’d be part of the upcoming segment, where I’d be paired with him, and Bryan would be paired with David Shiner. He said there’d be stagehands behind the curtains and to listen to all their direction, but most of all, just have fun when we got out there. I can’t exactly remember the segment, but I know Bill Irwin was dressed as a harlequin clown. At one point, I was handed a big foam mallet and bonked him on the head with it, him ‘collapsing’ on top of me as I laughed. I then listened to a stagehand who ushered me behind a curtain and put me in a harlequin costume of my own. There was a box, the same box in the clip below, with no back to it. I got practically shoved into it and told the top was going to open, and as soon as it did, pop up. I remember feeling scared to do it, even though I had just killed it on stage moments ago. I kept telling the woman “I can’t!” She said “Yes you can!” And as soon as that box opened up, sure enough, I popped out, extending my arms as wide as I could with the biggest smile ever plastered across my face. I swear I could see my aunt in the audience, head thrown back in laugher, as was the rest of the crowd. It felt great. They got me out of the box and the scene ended with a bow so big, my hair forcibly flipped down, the lights cutting out moments later.
That was it. My debut. I’ve now peaked in popularity. I may never see a moment like that again. It was a one-in-a-million shot, and it’s okay to find that out. I saw the play again the next year, and the kid who had my role did not do it with the flourish I did. I also somehow got to go backstage and take a picture with Bill Irwin. He remembered me. Guess not everyone was as big as star as me.
What I Hope to Find: Sorry About the Homestead
In junior and senior year of college, I lived off-campus with some girls from the fencing team. We had a house on Simpson Street with a green door. We had a stoned landlord who hooked us up with an illegal cable box. He told us he’d knock off $100 from the rent if we went two weeks before turning the heat on. Parking was only on one side of the street, and it was a one-way street. The novelty of this home far outweighed all the oddities that came along with it.
I lived on the first floor junior year, then moved up to the second floor senior year. It was essentially a duplex, but we took over the first floor decor. We had a framed Snakes on a Plane movie poster as the living room center piece, and a Playstation 2 where we’d play Guitar Hero every night. I didn’t do too much cooking but always kept a relatively tidy kitchen. No scrubbing necessarily for me, but I was very keen on keeping it clean. When I moved upstairs in senior year, I had very little recourse to go downstairs. I didn’t even use the kitchen upstairs, as it was too small. If I was downstairs, I’d only be in the living room or playing Guitar Hero. Everything else I once occupied became a mystery to me.
Toward the end of my time there, a friend from high school wanted to tour the Northwestern campus, so she and her mom came over to my house one day. I showed them around but didn’t look at everything before giving them a tour. In the downstairs kitchen, there were mounds of dirty dishes left strewn in the sink and on the counter. What hit me most was the smell. I couldn’t stand it and was so embarrassed to show it off as a brag for how good we have it here. I apologized and said this isn’t my floor, but I felt the damage was already done. I wanted people to see how I live, but accidentally showcased how much I don’t care about keeping it clean.
Again, that wasn’t my kitchen anymore, but it shouldn’t matter. I still paid rent there, I had an obligation to show it in the best light. And now, all I want is for a witness to see how I live these days. I know I said my apartment is messy right now, but it will be spotless by the time I head to the airport. Right now, I’ve got no one to show this off to, all that I’ve built here, all that I’ve tried so hard to maintain. Perhaps the more I keep focusing on what’s within, the more someone might one day want to come and see just how much I can shine. Here’s hoping.