I’m sitting in a theater on 42nd for the first time since 2000. The last time I was here I saw Loser. And what an apt memory. I feel like a bit of a loser. I just had my first improv class. And I feel dirty.
To be fair, I didn’t sleep at all last night. Maybe 15 minutes. I just kept waking up all night long. I have this weird thing where I just absorb bad feelings of others. And I still haven’t learned how to put up boundaries to keep people from spilling over into me until I’m drowning and resentful.
I blew up a bit, but it was well-deserved. I tried to help a friend over an extended period of time but she was sabotaging herself. And as midnight loomed on a deadline a year in coming, she arranged chairs on the deck instead of addressing the reality of the situation. Literally, she was designing furniture for a fire escape of an apartment she’d yet to secure while not having packed a single one of her possessions. Not even finding the first box.
So when she started disassembling a fake leather and particle board couch at 6 pm on the day she had to move out, I peaced out. I didn’t want the couch. I didn’t get a say in whether it was going to my apartment, to be swapped for another couch that I never wanted. But suddenly it was my job to be grateful. And my job to help out. And my job to share in the misery. Only I didn’t move to Brooklyn to accept someone else’s misery as my own.
But her breakdown on the staircase was a bit much. She was pissed. She was acting like I was to blame. And she decided to block me from going out because she couldn’t figure her shit out. I waited 15 minutes upstairs while she was supposed to bring the last of several pieces up. And then I finally asked her when she was going to be done. And I’m honestly not sorry. At some point I have to stop allowing myself to be walked all over. When you’re the child of abuse, you defer. You cajole. You show your underbelly and submit. And I am so very done with being a child of abuse.
What I didn’t do was say what I meant: I’m in a lot of pain (really, really terrible pain I don’t talk about because to name the thing would mean to acknowledge its existence and I’m not ready for that), I’m premenstrual as hell, and I really, really, really need to get laid proper. And if I spend one more minute in her apartment with the terrible vibes and the weird smells I was going to go postal.
That should have been enough. But I don’t know how to say no and I end up swallowing enough sorrow until I vomit rancor.
So I didn’t sleep. And the sex was lousy. Second time sex, man. It’s always the big reveal.
So with no sleep in me today, I made my way into the city to Upright Citizen’s Brigade to take my first improv class. It’s on 36th and 8th. I got there early, as I am wont to do, and I tried to feel the place out. Off the bat I felt out of place. I could hear clapping and woooing and cheering. It felt so inauthentic.
Class was…I don’t know…what’s between pre-traumatic and post-traumatic? Well that. The first exercise was learning names. The second was making eye contact. I tried to be a trooper but I felt so uncomfortable. Not like I was scared to do it, but like that uncomfortable feeling when you go spend the night at a friend’s house and her dad is creepy and her mom gives you carob snacks and raisins after dinner. That kind of uncomfortable.
It’s not my humor. I need to learn it though, or at least observe other people doing it. I could dip out on the $400. That wouldn’t bother me because honestly it feels so very phoney and pastiche. But quitting is not an option if only because I made a commitment and I really should be committed. To a funny farm.
So here I am, back at the theater and watching Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Do you want to know how it ends? The first two hours barely feel Tarantinoesque at all, with the exception of his dirty feet fetish. Leo’s getting nominated for this one. Maybe Robert Richardson for cinematography and the costume and makeup crews. The last portion of the film makes you say, “Oh yeah, there’s Quentin,” in a decidedly queasy way.