12 April 2007

Dang. It. Dang it!

It's raining today. I mean to say, it is RAINING toDAY. I woke at 7:00, struggling to avoid over-indulgence in my snooze alarm, struggling in fact to remind myself to start jogging again today, when I heard outside my window the pitter-patter of raindrops--the most coma-inducing sound ever. I don't know why the raindrops sounded so pittery and patteresque, though, because when I stepped out into it on my way to the day job, it was a steady downpour, with just enough wind to keep it in your eyes. And I lent my sublettor my umbrella, because she's a girl and will apparently melt if she gets wet. It's science. By the time I got to work, I wanted to kill everyone. Violently. With a broad-bladed bastard sword.

See (ye non-New-Yorkers, ye princes of providences), when the weather does something this disastrous during a commute time, there's an interesting phenomenon that occurs in The Frickin' Huge Golden Delicious. The first symptom is a mass decision--akin to Jungian archetype--by every New Yorker who drives or walks into work to forego that, fearing that the rain is a sign of God's vengeance, and take the train. Side effects of this perception include a voracious increase in aptitude for careless acts, such as forgetting to say "excuse me" when the situation invites, or intentionally shoving disabled octogenarians into the tracks because they might contribute to oxygen consumption in the train car. The second symptom of the phenomenon is that everyone's intelligence quotient drops by at least twenty points. At least. People in suits, people accustomed to making decisions dependent on long-term thinking and strategy, become multi-pronged ballistic missiles when they have to carry an umbrella (inevitably right at eye-level [I am not in the upper half of height quotient in this city] leading me to believe that if I ever have to compete in illegal bloodsport in Canada, I'm taking my umbrella) and giant men who work with their hands all day long act like debutantes when faced with a curbside puddle. "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

My bitterness may have preceded (hence colored) these gripes. I may have awoken in this frame, as last night's A Lie of the Mind wasn't quite up to snuff for me. (Terrible phrase: "Up to snuff." What does it refer to? Nasal inhalants? Illegal movies?) It was awkward being back in the penny loafers o' Frankie, and I had a strange time trying to balance a jittery nervousness and a rather tired energy level. The scene with Beth went fairly well, I thought. But I blew that damn final moment again.

That's not quite accurate. I didn't blow it. I managed to serve my function in it (whatever that may be), but the feeling behind it was not as intense as I would have liked, and as I had discovered last weekend. I'm not sure what went wrong there, being off my game in general, but I suspect it had something to do with nerves and forcing it. Have you ever tried not to think about something? I mean really tried? You tell yourself, "Don't think of an elephant," and for the rest of the day your thoughts are ambushed by elephants. This is what it is to try to avoid self-analysis on stage. The best tactic I've found is to focus on something immediate, and urgent. (Such as the action at hand.) But our body's defenses are strong, our minds labyrinthine and there's a minotaur named Disbelief that is hunting us at every moment.

"Was that over the top? I can never tell!" <-A hum-ding-er of a movie quote, if you ask me.


Well, the rain has stopped, and the world is a quiet, cool place. Once again I performed the show, and once again I experienced emotionus interruptus. It was baffling, just a frustrating shock to the system. I'm open as all hell! What's wrong with me now? I was contemplating it all the way to the subway, where I ran into fellow actor in the show, Todd d'Amour. He asked the obligatory "How was your show?" and I somehow managed to be both honest and brief (as the parentheticals may suggest, I have been having the greatest difficulty of late explaining myself in twenty-five words or less) and voiced my frustration with that last moment, actually referring to it as "my last moment." When I had said what I had to I could look in Todd's eyes again, and there I saw total recognition. Identification, even. He went on to say that he has struggled with that moment for himself, and felt, as I had, that he had broken through last weekend. Now it was gone again.

How much better that made me feel, and how much sense that makes. It's our moment, his, mine and Laura's, and we're each of us going to feel it in his or her own way if something's off. Now we just have to unite again, somehow, and lift each other up.

I wonder what the weather will bring tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Having not lived in The City, and only in The District, I have to tell you that rain here brings with it an entirely different set of circumstances. Metro never really made it like the Subway did, so people don't swarm to it, no, instead: Every time it rains, the populace leaves their houses at the same time they always do, and then gets angry that the rain is slowing down traffic. There are more swerving, honking, finger flipping drivers out there than normal. And yet, every time it rains, they don't learn, they always leave at the same time. Same with snow. People down here can not learn from the past. Of course a statement like that lends itself to a much longer comment, or a posting all its own. No time for that though... I was late today.

Patrick said...

Ah My Dear, I was planning on writing something much akin to this, at least the rain/train (Spain, plain, mainly) part, but find you have beaten me to it. I'm thinking there needs to be some sort of licensing procedure implemented for umbrella usage in the city, akin to a driving test. It would come with a height/age requirement, since in areas with lots of space, I'm sure little four year old Susie is just DARLING with her tiny little umbrella with the duckies on it, but on the train, or in Times Square, it's a hazard and must be banned. End of story. There would be a written portion to the test, and a RIGOROUS driving portion, focusing on when to open it (not on the subway stairs), how to keep it from blinding others, how to pass others on the street, and basically how to notice there are people behind and beside you.
Obviously you struck a nerve. And I haven't even addressed the acting stuff.

Nat said...

Man, I'm from the desert. You don't even wanna know what rain did to our psyche. More than one inch and there's panic in the streets.

Jeff Wills said...

I should write about the weather more often, it seems.

I love "The District." Somehow, I've never heard it before, but it totally works. So much cooler than "The Big Apple."

Patrick, let's buy scimitars and go harvesting bumpershoots when next it rains.

Nat...you freak. Do you ever miss the desert, I wonder? Like I miss forests?