Some days I feel nostalgia for things I’ve never had. For example, a pen pal in second grade who keeps up the charade of old-school blind friendship for more than ONE flashcard-sized letter. This is coming from a girl who gets overly excited by getting an email from a real human because my ratio of those to casting notices and newsletters is super underwhelming.
Hence, I’ve been largely hanging out in the physical world with the notable exception of online poker because no one is perfect except for my dog, and even she poops on the side of the house sometimes because it brings her great joy.
Here is a short list of what I have been up to:
- Started to run a comedic variety show where I have made a lot of inspiring friends
- Gave up all variations of soda for 8-months, didn’t lose any weight
- Booked a national commercial and several pilots
- Rented a house in the city (with roommates) that bled my finances dry
- Got really into tap dancing
- Moved to my parent’s house
- Ran into Ricky Gervais on my way to a commercial audition, got really jazzed about it. Pulled a butt muscle during the audition, played it off real cool.
- Hollywood is glamorous, y’all
So now I am back in the valley, charming everyone with my valley accent, and working to get myself back on my $$ feet because I am not sure how possible it is to be in your 20s and not work in tech and have a savings account.
I always sit in Chuy’s section, granted he could spell it Chewy, but I’ve never asked. I ordered chili sides the first few times I went and got trapped in that being my usual order because there is something tangibly awkward when someone asks you “the usual?” and you say “no”
Then the bowling alley diner became the opposite of awkward and I would go at least once a week with a book or friend and drink way too much caffeine at 6pm because I was just out of college and invincible. I was also in a new neighborhood where I didn’t know many people and on my first bout with being relatively self-sufficient (i.e. poor). I could get a good cooked meal for $10 with tax and tip and sit next to a row of old men and a strange and talkative younger doctor at the counter, who were friendly faces and largely the same faces (night after night, not same faces as each other). Oh, also, and a lot of overweight friendly cops sitting with sides of ranch dressing.
I feel like this whole thing would be amiss without mentioning the one-armed long-haired chain-smoking league bowler I would pass on the way in.
As someone who largely prefers books to conversations with strangers, I kept to myself and my waiter friends and I loved it. Over time I got busier with comedy, hanging out with my cat and losing my college 20, so my visits had largely slowed down. Last week I drove by and there were 100 people protesting the eviction and as a Berkeley grad I was hoping for some important societal change. Turns out the local AMF is effectively evicting them at the end of the month and replacing it with a supper club that I hope no one in my neighborhood ever gives his or her patronage.
God showed me an acrobat who dreams of being a clown to remind me that I live in the most beautiful of poems.
There is one thing about comedy that makes my skin itch. Neutrality. Like khaki pants and dry turkey sandwiches, I just gotta ask why.
This could be my Berkeley brainwash, but I think the mass rewards of formula and structure lead to a lot of mass boring (i.e. almost every buddy cop comedy, except for the one with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah because what). I would say that all the people who have had the largest impact on me as a writer and performer are very unapologetic about the lens in which they view the world. I find that so refreshing, inspiring and captivating. Hubert Selby Jr., Lucille Ball, a scientologist wanting to give me a stress test. All fascinating. May we never settle!
Self-identity nouns should be given great weight. Like more weight than those things our grandparents used to keep papers from flying away on a desk of whichever mid-century school of design was their preference.
One of my generation’s most gratuitous self-identity nouns is “foodie.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the following Twitter bios:
Writer, Dog-Lover, Foodie
Packers Fan, Aspiring Cellist, Foodie
Stripper, Pop Star, Foodie
Died last Tuesday, Foodie
You know that really intense almost physical reaction you have to seeing a cute kitten or puppy? The opposite of that
I feel like one needs to reach a certain level of commitment and experience to something before using it as a self-identity word. I’m not saying you need to publish a best-selling novel or land an internship at an easy beach-read mag like The Economist, but if writing is what your soul breathes, you are a writer.
I read this article that introverts are more likely than extroverts to only identify as one thing. So this could be my personality dictating my opinion (OMG BRAIN, FREE WILL), but I think in order to be brilliant at anything you have to be pretty aggressive about it, leaving little time for being considerably above average at anything else. This means that maybe we can only truly have one self-identity noun that is skill-based at a time. That means that maybe we shouldn’t waste it on “foodie” unless your soul craves good food above all else.
As a side note, I appreciate good food. It’s just not my word.
Sometimes I might think in sevens. A top five list would be oppressive and a top 10 list would be phony. Today, I think in ones.