Friday, May 27, 2011

The Life of the Party

The drive took 6 hours including a lunch stop, two pee breaks and one near-accident.  And by near I mean, the invisible car on my left almost hit us when I went to change lanes at 80 miles an hour.  Not good.  Grateful how that turned out.  The adrenaline brought me as close to Hershey squirts as I've been since I was 20 months.

But finally we did arrive and were greeted in the driveway by three guys on their way to the supermarket.  They helped us carry in our bags and one of them made a disparaging remark about me having brought my laptop.  Hello, read books?  Write?  Use a laptop for anything more than porn?

OK, that last one was a hypocritical remark.  Let's strike it from the record.

So we arrived and put our bags in our room and then joined the guys outside.  All six of them, three of whom had last names that ended in o - Roberto, Carlo and Dino.  Yes, Dino.  They wore gold Jesus pieces and their longboard bathing suits hung low enough on their asses to show who worked out and who rocked the muffin top.  [Editor's note: No one rocks a muffin top.  No one.]

The activity d'apres-midi was drinking.  Suddenly, flashbacks to college came flooding over me: drinking games around the table at 2 on a Saturday afternoon.  Drinking games at 2 on a Saturday night.  Drinking games when we were bored, excited, sad and happy.  They were shot-gunning beers.  I remembered the first time I shot-gunned a whole beer.  I was in high school.  These guys had been at it all day.  Sorry... I thought this weekend was a bunch of professional guys getting together on the lake for the long holiday weekend?  I mesh well with professional guys.  They're smart, ambitious and don't generally chant "Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!!!!" as commonly as a greeting.  This was a different breed of guy here at the lake house: The 30-Something Suspended Responsibility Guy.  This is a guy who gets a good job out of college and from 9-5 during the week gives off the appearance of a responsible, successful man.  On the weekend he reverts to the swill-chugging beer-ponging ways of his youth and he has no idea that this might be immature or a sign of delayed adolescence.  He hooks up with girls as much as he can and loses her number when she seems to like him too much. 

OK, again with the hypocritical remarks.  I may have hooked up with some of these guys once.  Or twice.  OK, maybe last week.  But not today, not tonight or this weekend.  I want more, remember?  I want it all, that's what I recall.  Not only that, but I've had more, so I know what it is that makes me happy and what I can have again:  Man.  Maturity.  Not so much on the alcohol.  Not really the life of the party.  Solid, caring and calm - that's the guy for me.  [Editor's note: January did not write "hot," but all she does during our daily pow wows is talk about hot guys.  He's hot, they're hot, look how hot that dude is.  Therefore, we respectfully amend January's list.]

You know you're full of shit when your editor calls you out on it publicly.  *sigh*

I'm sitting now on my bed.  "Eye of the Tiger" is pumping through the speakers in the house.  Apparently the 80's are an awesome decade if you were born in them.  I feel similarly about the 70's.  Bellbottoms rock!  Sitting by yourself in your bedroom during a party while the rest of the participants are hanging out on the back patio in their bathing suits, drinking, is a sure mark of anti-social behavior, but I don't care!  I stopped trying to be popular years ago and enjoy the peace of mind it brought me.  Living up to my own expectations feels great and also beats others' expectations.  I'm half tempted to just turn the light off and go to sleep...

However, Borat is here and damn it if I don't laugh when I just see him.  He and his cousin are guests this weekend.  I have no idea what his birth name is but he looks and sounds like Borat and he's even wearing the neon-green thong bathing suit that the guy wore in the film.  Plus they're Serbian so his accent is pretty spot on.  Anyway, if I miss a single pool trick this guy does in that neon-green bathing suit I will not forgive myself... Back to the party I go.  God I wish I still drank coffee.  With a bit more energy I might be the life of the party.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Young, Foolish and Willing

When I was young and foolish and living the life of an eternally hopeful yet poor actor in New York City, I did an independent film in which I played the best friend, the snarky bitch.  Go figure.  The experience was exciting and I enjoyed every moment of it the way you enjoy riding your bike before you learn how to drive.  That our crew consisted of three and a half people didn't faze me a bit.  The cinematographer was a recovering drunk who would never recover memories of the dozens of 'Dead shows he followed.  There was a PA I don't remember much about, save for his severe case of dandruff and habit of running outside at every chance to grab a smoke.   The half crew member was a makeup artist who appeared on set the first day, never to be seen again.  But the director/actor/writer/composer/producer was a fella who'd go on to bigger, better things after the film wrapped... me.

It started so sweetly... doesn't everything, when you're young and foolish and enjoying the intoxication of summer?  We'd meet in Central Park and sit watching the eclectic mix go by.  We talked about everything those days.  Will was a staunch conservative in the soul of an artist.  I was smart, Will was brilliant.  I was creative, Will was a creative genius.  I wore red thong panties - Will was both repulsed and drawn in by that.  I think my liberal, creative sloppiness came so easily to me that Will was in awe of it.  He came from a wealthy, conservative family holding more shares of the New York Stock Exchange than I had socks in my drawer.  (And trust me, I never did laundry back then.  An abundance of undergarments was compulsory.)

One night a couple of months into our friendship we were hanging out at his apartment late, laying on opposite ends of the couch while Will did the one thing more certain to cause me to drop my pants than a four-course meal at a five-star restaurant: he rubbed my feet within an inch of reason.  Thoroughly relaxed and not wanting to tangle with the MTA at that hour of the night for my trek home, I happily accepted his offer to crash at his place.

The freedoms of singlehood.  Ahh...

So to bed we went, chatting and laughing and laughing some more.  At this point the scene took on a cinematic quality:

Scene: Interior, bedroom.  Man and woman lay together in bed, lit only by street light creeping in through the shudders.  Woman rolls her head back in laughter.  Man strokes her cheek gently, and unexpectedly leans in and...

...and he kissed me.  I couldn't have been more surprised if Hillary Rodham Clinton had jumped out of the closet at that moment and told us she was going to run for president.  I was so surprised; I had become such good friends with him that I didn't stop and think about being more.  And then it happened.

The rest of that evening is a blur, though I remember Will taking great pleasure over the years in reminding me that my talents as a flautist that night [Editor's note: January was not playing the flute] caused him to cry out for Jesus, something that hadn't happened before or since.  What followed that night were several weeks of dating and deep feelings on my end... and then he left.  Will had been planning all along to move out of New York, and as the summer rolled to an end, so did our affair.  A promised visit planned for a few months later disappeared and in time it was clear Will had moved on, both literally and figuratively.

The years that followed held several Will reunions, usually when he was back in the city tending to business; the once creative dreamer had now grown into the man destined to chair the board at his father's company.  Gone were the stories we'd share about hockey and jazz and theater and Ireland.  Now when he visited I noticed an uneasiness about him, a forced seriousness.  His business suits expressed it best: they were ill fitting, hanging too long at the wrists and loose at the waist.  For all the money he had, you'd think he'd have found a good tailor.  And his kisses, something I once adored and melted into, had become sterile and boring.  He was no longer the cheeky free spirit I had brought to the Lord that night those years before and our relationship began a descent that hit bottom almost five years ago.  Newly transplanted in Los Angeles, I was making a trip back to NYC and we planned to rendezvous in the city for a few days.  He bailed out on me at the last minute, offering no apology or explanation.  I never saw him again.  I did hear from him for several more years...  He liked to keep me abreast of his successes from afar.  I got an invitation to an event (3,000 miles away) at which he was being honored.  Then one day a package arrived, inside which I found an autographed copy of the book he'd just published.  "To January, with whom I had the deepest religious experience of my life.  Forever yours, Will."

Forever mine?  Really, Will?  When were you ever mine?  Oh please, William, get on with it.  Must you really keep bringing up that night?  For the record, I distinctly remember you sounding like the little boy soloist in Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu.  Every time you bring up the specifics you minimize what the experience was for me: magical.  I fell into you hard, deep and fast.  You may have been not have been but I, I was willing.

So it's been years since I've been in touch with Will.  I moved from the address he used to have.  I haven't heard from him... but still, I think of him from time to time.  And I might admit to the occasional cyber-stalk.  Just a little.  I mean, he's easy to find.  He's now a regular on political talk shows and also writes a viewpoint column for a major newspaper.  He still looks like he's wearing his father's suit.  But today I had the grand idea to search on Twitter, and lo and behold - there he was.  He has both a regular account and a fictionalized one for the book he wrote those years ago.  And in the latter I found... my Will.  He posts pictures of himself with his dogs... in his home... smiling, relaxed, in his bathrobe for God's sake.  It's almost enough to make me want to reach out to him.

Almost.  Really, really I don't want to hear about Jesus anymore.  I'm no longer willing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Roaring 30's

This past weekend was meant to be one in which I caught up on a lot of things that need catching. It seems like I never have time for this owing to the volume of activity with which I've filled my life. I suppose I'm grateful to have this be an option... I could be attending Little League games or shuttling someone around from class to class instead of reclining in a warm, salty tub, Malbec in hand, John Mayer piping over the Bose. [Editor's note: January has never taken a bath while sipping good Argentinian wine. She has however showered while Mr. Mayer crooned about her Wonderland.]

The other night I was getting ready to go to a party, John Mayer on the stereo, and was heartily complimenting myself on how good I looked when I stopped mid-swoon and gasped: there was a gray hair, a damn gray hair, wiry and poking its ugly head out from under its beautiful brunette neighbors.  Not the first such occurrence, I reluctantly admit, but it's crushing every time.  Suddenly I went from hot mama ready for action to cute mom ready for bed - and I don't have kids!  I've never been so easily handed a loss by such a tiny, earth-toned color.  Even beige could have kicked my ass after finding that hair.

There was a time in my 20's when I'd get ready to go out at night with hyper anticipation.  Well, the cups of coffee I would down while I was drying my hair probably had something to do with the hyper.  I don't even drink coffee anymore.  I gave up caffeine.  God, when did I turn into my parents?  Anyway, I laid down on my bed for a short while and assessed the situation.  I wasn't tired, just defeated.  Other than that awful hair, I looked pretty good.  And with my eyes closed I barely noticed any lines around them.  I got up, finished my makeup and headed out in my flapper dress to the party, a roaring 20's costume fete.  I may not be young anymore but who says I need to whimper?  I'm all about my roaring 30's.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quietly Desperate

Trying to get out a blog post when you don't know what you're going to write is like birthing a baby at 36 weeks: you can do it, and it may turn out absolutely fine, but boy is it something you'd rather not do.  You wish you could leave it in there another couple weeks to fatten up.

My life right now feels like I'm 36 weeks preggers (but I don't anticipate delivering early).  I've got something growing, something wonderful cooking in the oven but I can't see what it looks like; I only feel it moving around, stirring things up inside me.  That and it gives me gas.  I am generally very aware of these kind of changes arriving in my life.  I'm attuned to the need for a new direction and so far I've done very well when following it.  Moving to Los Angeles, that was something I felt coming for years.  (Yeah, can you imagine being pregnant for years?  Not comfortable.)  The change in course made itself felt inside me for a long time before I Janned-up and acted on it.  Until I did, I lead what Thoreau called a life of quiet desperation.  To live unfulfilled, stuck in a moment in time and unable or unwilling to grow beyond it is not the way life is intended to be.  It's uncomfortable, constricting and depressing.  I wanted to live here for years but sat in the fear of what such a huge change represented.  I sat in New York miserable with my life.  When a direction inside you makes itself known and you ignore it you become spiritually out of alignment.  The best chiropractic adjustment, received automatically when you act upon the inner-knowledge, allows everything in your life to flow.  The life energy inside once again pulses and pours through the dry river beds of creativity within.  You allow life to happen once again.

I've been at my "day job" darn near about 36 weeks.  I put that in quotes because that is what it was suppose to be - a temporary, flexible opportunity that would allow me the convenience I needed to nurture my real career in performing.  36 weeks later I am still there, darn near comfortable in my desperation simply because it's familiar and convenient.  But my life energy is at a trickle!  I miss feeling its cool, rapid flow coursing through me.

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." - Henry David Thoreau 

I must sing my song now, loud and joyfully.  I must allow my life-energy to again course furiously through my being!  I welcome this baby to come, whatever it is.  Perhaps it needs a few more weeks to fatten up, and I'll allow it that.  But I'm going to focus all my energy on birthing it.  I have a feeling it's beautiful.