Wednesday, April 21, 2010

the welcome home whirlwind

It's amazing how quickly things can change. One minute, you're on top of the world. The next, you feel like life is kicking you in the face. Repeatedly.

With that said, here's the basic timeline of my first 48 hours back in New York.

appx 3:45pm: Plane touches down at LaGuardia. I briefly consider kissing the tarmac, but remember that I'm back in the city, and decide to pass.

3:50pm: My bag is heavy. My bookbag broke last weekend, so I'm stuck carting around my computer and my other essentials in my gym bag, which was not built to carry heavy stuff. My shoulder hurts.

3:55pm: Luggage arrives.

4:00pm: Get into a cab to take me home. The cab driver is a cheery African who smokes a cigarette and blares loud reggae music. I am so excited to be home that I don't mind.

4:30pm: Home! I open the door to my apartment and am greeted by the sound of my smoke detector. This means I need to buy a battery. My apartment is very dusty, and my bathroom smells funny. I chalk this up to my month-long absence.

4:45pm: Talk to the Brooklyn Squirrel on the phone in front of a drug store. It is a perfect day. There are beautiful people everywhere. I am so happy to be back in my neighborhood.

5:00pm: Equipped with batteries (on sale!) and some frozen yogurt (also on sale!), I return home. I feel like I am floating. There is no tension in my body. I am only slightly anxious about running into my ex-girlfriend. I think to myself, Perhaps this represents a turning point in your life. Perhaps things are going to totally go your way over the next few weeks. Perhaps your life will transform for the better, right now!

In retrospect, I totally jinxed myself.

5:15pm: I investigate the smell in my bathroom. It smells faintly of vanilla. I notice that I have left my vanilla-scented candle jar unscented all month. Maybe the caged-up vanilla smell goes bad when it is trapped in a small space, I think. I open the lid to my toilet. I realize that the candle has nothing to do with the smell: sewage has backed up into my toilet. It is truly disgusting. It will not flush. The only description I will give you: a layer of mold is on the top.

5:20pm: I call the front desk. They tell me that no one is around to fix it, but they will submit a work order. I will have to use the public restrooms in the building. I decide to not worry about it, and turn on the TV to watch some playoff hoops as I dust.

5:22pm: The cable goes out.

5:45pm: After two phone calls to the cable company and several attempts to reboot, I am informed that there is a problem with my cable box, and that technicians will have to come out to fix things. "How is Thursday afternoon?" the cheery cable lady asks. I wish that I could punch her in the face.

6:00pm: I dust. I call my parents. They tell me that things will get better. We talk sports.

8:40pm: I arrive at The Hot Wing's house for dinner - she has agreed to cook for me. Her cat is happy to see me.

8:50pm: I play with the cat. I don't like cats, but I'm a nice guy. We play gentle, then a little rough, then gentle.

9:30pm: We eat. We catch up. The Hot Wing is awesome.

11:30pm: I go home to work on sides for my audition. I only found about it on Friday. I am worried that, even though it is only two pages, I am not prepared enough.

12:30am: I go downstairs to use the bathroom. I feel like an idiot. There is no soap in the bathroom. Or paper towels. I feel gross.

1:30am: Sleep. I am happy to be in my comfortable bed.

9:15am: Rise and shine. I notice that I have bug bites on my right hand and left arm.

11:00am: I arrive for my audition. I endured train trauma, but this is already a long post.

11:10am: I perform my audition. The response is enthusiastic. I am elated.

11:15am: I speak to my temp agent, who has a job for me on Tuesday. I am elated.

12:00pm: I hang out in my building's new workout facility, where my sister-in-law is showing people how to use the equipment. We catch up. My sister-in-law is awesome. I check in with the maintenance guys, and they tell me they will be by at four to fix the toilet.

2:30pm: I buy lunch and go grocery shopping. The bug bites still itch. I put anti-itch cream on them. I check around my bed for spiders and around my ceiling for mosquitoes. I find nothing.

4:00pm: Maintenance doesn't show up.

6:00pm: I meet The Flying Squirrel for coffee. We catch up. The Flying Squirrel is awesome.

7:30pm: We eat dinner at a cool new restaurant. I keep scratching my hand. This bug bite is really bothering me.

9:30pm: Home. I resort to watching games on the internet. My bites are itching like crazy. The cream is not helping.

11:30pm: I try to get myself ready for bed, because I want to work out in the morning before my temp job. I set my alarm for six. I have to go downstairs to use the bathroom. There's still no soap or towels. Fortunately I have brought hand sanitizer. I feel slightly less gross. I search the bed and sheets again for bugs or spiders. I wonder if I was bit at my Heartland apartment.

1:15am: I finally get in bed. My hand and arm itch to the point of pain. I reset the alarm for six fifteen.

3:50am: I wake to my hand throbbing. I look at it and notice that it is swollen to a ridiculous state. I start to panic. I debate going to the hospital, but decide that I am being a wuss.

4:00am: I research spider bites online. I gross myself out.

4:30am: I remember that The Hot Wing's cat, while playing with me, nipped my hand. I wonder if that is the cause of the pain. I put ice on my hand and arm and that helps somewhat.

5:15am: I finally go back to sleep. I scrap my plan to work out at 6:15.

8:15am: Rise and shine. I am exhausted.

8:30am: My hand is so swollen that I cannot bend my wrist. Under my skin I see a red streak that extends from my wrist to my elbow. The lump on my left arm is now the size of a mini candy bar. This makes getting dressed in my fancy temp clothes difficult.

8:50am: I leave for my temp job. I decide to tell them upon arrival that I will have to go see my doctor. I call my mother, who confirms my decision.

9:30am: I arrive at my temp job. I am told to wait. I sit down on the couch.

9:35am: The other employee from my temp agency arrives. She has been informed that the job has been cancelled.

9:37am: I check my phone. There is a voice mail. It is from my temp agency, telling me to go home because the temp job has been cancelled.

9:45am: I call my doctor's office. They initially tell me that there's no way to see the doctor today, but after I explain my problem they tell me they will call back.

10:00am: I eat breakfast at McDonald's (I didn't want to go all the way home, ok?). I talk to The Hot Wing, who is on a break from jury duty. She is mortified and apologetic. I tell her that it is not her fault. Or her cat's.

10:10am: The phone rings again. It is the doctor's office. My doctor can see me at one.

11:00am: I arrive home. I change out of my fancy temp clothes into my regular Rover clothes. My toilet is still not fixed. I call the maintenance guys. They say they will come up.

11:30am: My temp agent calls to apologize. During her call, the maintenance guys arrive. The toilet is fixed. The maintenance guys are awesome.

12:50pm: I arrive at the doctor's office. My doctor sees me quickly.

1:00pm: I am examined on the table. The red streak now extends from my wrist almost to my armpit. The doctor excuses herself.

1:10pm: The doctor returns. You have an infection from the cat bite, she says. We're going to start you on antibiotics, and I'm going to give you a tetanus shot.

Great, I say. I can still work out while I'm taking this right?

My doctor gives me a withering look.

Um, NO, she says. You have a VERY bad infection. You need to rest for a few days before you start exerting yourself.

My doctor is awesome.

1:50pm: My prescription is filled. This is the fourth time I am on antibiotics in the past seven months. Ironically, I still have four pills left in my pack of probiotics, which, you know, you take after a course of antibiotics. I find this hilarious.

2:15pm: I eat lunch with my brother and his drummer. We make fun of various and sundry things, including: the drummer, for her slow lunch order; the burger joint's soundtrack; internet videos and websites; the sheer size of my antibiotics. We take a picture to document the growth of my stunning man beard. It is a beautiful day. My hand and arm have stopped itching so much. I am drinking an Arnold Palmer. Things are better. My parents were right. They usually are.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


We had a brush-up rehearsal for our show tonight, which meant that we ran through the thing at about half the emotional intensity. I'm usually starving after work, and I don't have a bunch of stuff at the apartment, so after the run I went to IHOP. I kept thinking about eggs as I drove over, and I was determined to order something (a) healthy and (b) inexpensive.

So what did I order?

Chicken-friend steak with three eggs and three pancakes. And a carafe of coffee (decaf). Seventeen bucks with tip.

And...I feel like crap.

I always do this. I always try to eat with the idea of eating healthy foods that will fuel my body and keep me slim. My taste buds, however, somehow seem to circumvent the process and take control just as I'm ordering. That's why I've been on a fast-food jag the last week or so.

It's a constant battle. I love food. I love eating out, and I love cooking, and I love watching cooking shows, and I love reading restaurant reviews...I just think all of it is great. I wish I could just eat what I want all of the time.

Then, I snap back to reality.

First of all, I'm single. I think that my chances of finding an attractive mate rise as my stomach flattens. So there's that. There's also a history of high blood pressure in my family. Most importantly, right now, is that men in my family, when they reach their early-to-mid-thirties, tend to put on weight. And I can't play the kinds of roles that I'm playing now if I'm carrying around thirty extra pounds.

So I try to watch what I eat.

And I try to go to the gym.

And I beat myself up when I fail at those two tasks.

This week? I've been to the gym once (yesterday) and I've had fast food multiple times. You can guess how my psyche feels.

Time to drink water and cleanse myself...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

life in the heartland

I've been trying to get this post up for the better part of a week, but free time has been in short supply. I'm playing a pretty big role in the show I'm doing here, so I have to kind of line up my day to make sure that I get enough rest, food, sneak a workout in, etc. This leaves precious little blogging time. But here I am, staying up late for you, dear reader. See? I care about this blog!


I'm currently working at a small Midwestern college, located in an even smaller town in the middle of nowhere. Until my parents came last week, I thought that this town didn't even have chain restaurants. Fortunately, they were staying at the other end of town, where all of the "stuff" is located. So my experience has improved in the last week quite a bit - I'm ashamed to say this, but it's amazing what Starbucks can do for one's psyche.

It's been really lonely here, as I alluded to in the post below. And the work, at times, has been frustrating. Two of the students that I rely the most on in the show have been disasters. One can't learn his lines to save his life; the other has a very laissez-faire attitude. As we've moved closer to opening, they've been better - if you consider "paraphrasing whole swaths of text" and "missing an entrance during dress rehearsal "better. They're very nice, though, so it's really hard to kill them for anything. I keep reminding myself that this is supposed to be a learning experience. To be fair, most of the students have really good work ethics, and the young woman who plays my love interest has been a delight. That helps immensely.

Another strange phenomenon here is the publicity for the show. Basically the top half of the posters they've designed is a big color photo of my now-bearded face, staring intently into the viewer's soul. (Which is kind of hilarious, because when they took the picture I was looking directly into the sun, and my thoughts alternated between, "Can I shut my eyes now?" and "I wonder how much damage this is doing to my retinas?") These posters are EVERYWHERE on campus - the cafeteria, glaring at me as I eat; the gym, watching me on the elliptical; and standing guard at seemingly every building entrance on campus. It's really really freaky. It becomes hilarious when I walk past the poster when someone is nearby - invariably they'll glance back and forth between the photo and me. I really wish I could record people's reactions - they're that entertaining.

Anyway, these posters have kind of made me infamous on campus; everyone seems to know me. Now, very rarely is anyone actually talking to me, but more often than not I'm getting that flicker of recognition when I walk past someone. I guess I know what it's like to be famous. I don't like it.

I know that there have been several inquiries (or assumptions) concerning my current status with the ladies. I'll save that one for the next post...coming this weekend...