The Antidote and The Ring
2020-10-22, 8:26 p.m.
Work was actually a good work day. I'm not fried and I actually pretty much ran out of stuff to do (for the time being). I wanted to go volunteer to help coworkers out, but they'd all left for the day so it was too late to ask.
The Powers That Be sent out more information on a possible Christmas curtailment. It was all good news as far as I am concerned: they would only make the highest paid folks go without pay and those of us in the lower ranks (I presume I count in this assessment) can use vacation time to still get paid. In that case, HUZZAH BRING IT ON PLEASE CLOSE FOR LATE DECEMBER HOLIDAYS. Seriously, I still find it horrifying that my office still has (usually a few) people working when most other similar giant orgs seem to shut down entirely. (New Girl's previous giant org had them all off for like 2-3 weeks.) Seriously, can't anyone take a break? Will people die if they can't ask a question on December 26? No. They will not.
In other good news for the giant org, we have very few coronavirus cases and no new ones for the last few weeks, which is miraculous given my industry. GOOD JOB, FOLKS!
In other good news in general, Kelly, Shanna and I were talking about doing another reading of "Tailwind" for a few friends/practice run in November, and then she suggested today doing a fuller evening of theater sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, either doing her plays or Shanna and/or I write stuff, we all write a play together, whichever. To which I was all OH HECK YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH and suggested possibly finishing my Jane Austen play idea and/or doing something with Tom Lehrer since he's gone public domain now. Shanna said she fell out of her chair with joy during a lecture reading this. Maybe do a family fighting play, maybe invite others to join in (I'm assuming we could hopefully get Robert?).
We had quite a lot of chatter about this, with great enthusiasm, and by the end of the day settled on a team/production company name of "Nerdy Unicorn Productions." I assume that's the name we've all settled on, anyway....????
I sent my Jane Austen notes and Kelly sent some of her other plays--another 10 minute one featuring a sports fan who got a parking ticket and is an amusing idiot, a play about going to an East Coast dispensary (I was not quite as into this, not that it's bad, I am just so not a pot person or shocked any more that anyone uses it since I live here among the potheads), and a touching one about most of a Christian-ish family about to be welcoming to someone's Middle Eastern boyfriend.
After work I watched "Can't Even: A Conversation with Anne Helen Petersen." talking with another Montana author, Chris LaTray. She wrote a book on burnout, so I'm interested. She described burnout as you've been running a long time, exhausted, and still have to scale the wall anyway. Life is a long list of to-dos. It took her a long time to articulate this, she felt very alone and thought it was a personal problem. She still deals with burnout all the time and writing a book does not necessarily cure it.
She quit her job at Buzzfeed, where they were having pay cuts and furloughs, to "write like a man" for three months uninterrupted. She said she has options others don't because she cultivated a following since 2008, purposefully. She was sick of being in precarious positions and now is in a position of relative stability.
"Every day I open the frigging COVID dashboard and stare at it."
Chris: we're just cobbling together our livings. He has so many friends who are trying to monetize every single tiny little thing to make a living as an artist.
Let's smash capitalism and do something different. Anne: people will come out with guns if you try to take away capitalism. Anne: choices were made to disassemble the safety net that the boomers had.
Chris says he works at a bookstore 3 days a week, which sounds pretty equivalent to freelancing for him.
Chris: "Do not be an asshole to people. you will encounter them if you stick with this."
Anne: "Writing is a catharsis. That's how I work through ideas." She figures it out while writing the newspaper.
After that I watched a Zoom storytelling show called "The Antidote" because I am on Rick and Laura Hall's mailing list and they said they were going to be on it. I actually really liked this show and its presenter, Deanna Moffitt, who said right away, "For those of you not on video, I totally get it." THANK YOU. She also encouraged the use of the chat box as a good place to snark to friends like you would at a movie. "The chat box is kind of your best friend in the show." She told a story about how she used to let herself get used in stock photos and videos and then not only did she not get any money from turning up in late night commercials, she got used in a Republican ad.
Silvana Clark and her husband house and dog sit around the world, which sounds awesome. She finds these listings on some website, and spontaneously booked a gig in Portugal, where the lady just immediately took them without vetting first. Is that a bad sign....well, yes, it turns out to be. The train drops them off in the middle of nowhere, the lady (Wendy) forgets to pick them up for an hour and then shows up with a full car of groceries... Oh yeah, and "the ocean and the beach, they are far, far away from here." She has a 12 foot naked red woman mannequin as her prized possession, the 18 gypsies (her words) "hate me," don't make them mad and don't call the cops, she has two horses that she thinks are donkeys and she keeps trying to feed them oranges that they don't seem to actually eat. The parrot hates everybody and in order to feed it twice a day, someone has to offer it a peanut while the other person runs for the life in and out of the cage. And as she drives away to sell Portuguese water dogs out of her trunk in England--seriously, this is how she made a living--she yells out that they need to get Randy walking again. Randy is the rooster and he does not respond to water therapy or the "Johnny jump-up for roosters" they create to "walk" him up and down the driveway. Later Wendy finds out he was paralyzed due to worms, so she eats him.
Silvana was also on Trading Spouses, where she went to a strict home where the husband yelled at lot, whereas "our family is pretty crazy." "I totally destroyed his life, I think. But I had a good time."
The next teller, Toni Judkins, waited on Whitey Ford in a restaurant, not knowing who he was, and her boss lost it once he found out.
As for Rick and Laura, they talked about how they met, adorably in tandem.
"Had we met together when we were young, we would have never gotten together." -Laura. He was a churchy farm boy who figured he'd marry same. Laura was Chicago burbs, no church, not a wedding person, was a hippie. She played piano in the Second City touring company, he auditioned there and got hired. ("I like that hippie piano player.") "We had a road romance," he said. "Those never work out," she said. One day he found a ruby gold ring in the gutter in his neighborhood and never found out who owned it, so he gave it to Laura. Not in a proposal kind of way, but a lot of people gave them crap about it/assumed they were engaged, so she put it away. They were together for seven years, some of it long distance when he moved to LA. One day in church he felt alone and wanted her to be with him, so he proposed with her ruby ring at New Year's. "That's the ring I always wanted," she said.
People asked to see the ring, but sadly it was stolen from her when she left it off to go swimming. "It went back into the universe," one person said, and Deanna said she hoped a broke guy got it to propose with.
I love that their story involves finding a ring, since I used to find those, back when I left the house.
I did actually text Scott tonight to ask if he finally got a fancy guitar--he did, a beautiful blue one that's very shiny. Like I would feel bad touching it and messing it up with my cluelessness, but it's so pretty. Apparently his best friend did some schmoozing to get him a deal on a very rare and fancy one. I asked if getting replacement cameras was next and he said he saved most of those but needs to replace gear. He said they had an hour of warning--wow, that's longer than I figured--but ran out of time for the guitars.