I wrote the title of this before I wrote, well, what I’m about to write.
So I don’t know if what I’m going through qualifies as a pre-movie-meltdown or just, well, pre-movie life.
Or a pre-movie “life-down” for that matter.
That sounds cooler, anyway.
Again, I find myself having spent the last three days drinking. Not always so crazily, but drinking nonetheless.
Every night there’s a reason, but then again there always is.
Friday, it was Langston’s birthday party. Langston is a good guy, easy-going and I was happy to come out there, even though he was going to a vegetarian restaurant (Quantum Leap) which, stangely since I’m an almost-vegetarian, I tend to deplore. But the nachos, which in terrible-manners-manner I snarfed as soon as I found them on the table with little competition, were pretty yummy, soy-whatever or not and pretty soon my aversion to vegetarian food was alleviated by the news that I could get Garlicky French Fries with my burrito.
“Fries with my burrito?” I asked the waitress, teary-eyed.
I felt like standing up, gently stroking the back of her neck, then maybe making out with her for a few minutes.
But I was content with eating my burrito when it came.
That night was a chain of parties where I went from Langston’s dig at Quantum Leap (2-for-1 Miller High Life: the champagne of beers) to International Bar (4-dollar whiskey-shot and a Schaffer’s) to some place I don’t even remember where someone bought me a drink and I drank it (so drink for free, I guess). The usual dramatics were involved, girls, disappointment and romantic mistakery, but someone had given me a unopened bottle of 3-Buck-Chuck Chardonnay that I’d stuffed in my jacket pocket as I walked down the street and besides I got home early.
Saturday was another night of parties touring around with some buddies between a party with some blog-backlash and Rubulad, the party which I revere. That night I found myself playing my first games of flip-cup (yet another piece of evidence that I’m a case of arrested development) and drinking from a 24-oz Coors while someone extolled the virtues of Dan Clifton to me as “the only person who will be successful from our year”. Thanks.
Rubulad proved decent, but after more romantic mis-haps (non-haps) and a reminder of the previous night’s drunkeness, I told my friends I was going and the threat of being abandoned in the black hole of Brooklyn proved compelling enough for them to follow.
Finally, I went out to my “job-party”, the swankster after-party for New Directors/New Films where the most common question, “Do you have a film in the festival?”, caused me to fail like a failure when I had to smile and say no as the term “blogger” would cause them to move on to whoever else they could find. Langston again did me a solid coming with me and unexpectedly, Jeremiah Newton from my school who I plugged for earlier, helped me out greatly in trying to find people. Plus the food was free and good and so were the drinks (less good, but free).
But again I woke up with the taste of alcohol in my mouth and disappointment waiting for me. I had missed a friend’s film at the festival, which she called me on rightly.
Which made me think about the cascading things in my life. It was one of those moments–suddenly it all hits you.
I’m the sort of person who goes to do the right thing politically at a film but short-shrifts a friend.
I’m the sort of person who people think of as a film, space, writer and not a film-writer.
I’m the sort of person who has more romantic disentanglements than entanglements in the first place.
I’m the sort of person who has gotten drunk the past three nights when I vowed I wouldn’t drink at night if I was hungover in the morning.
Who was I and who was I becoming?
Also, I had been playing a lot of Pokemon.
(Again, arrested development.)
What can I say? The Platinum edition came out.
Better than Gold AND Silver.
I should know.
My dad was a metals trader. He used to bring me back small pieces of metal from trading conventions which I would then suck on my mouth because they tasted interesting (I didn’t swallow them, no).
I guess that explains a lot.
But playing Pokemon, like playing all video games for me, is a way to turn off your brain, to not think about things, to put the motion of your mind in idle without killing it. A wave of utter distraction. Yet I find, even as I’m playing, whiling away on my cool-Black Nintendo Double-Screen, all of the associations I’ve had with playing Pokemon in the past. I feel like I’m in high school, middle school. I remember my old GameBoy, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance.
These are not happy memories.
And when I wake up in the morning, for the moment I can remember past dreaming into wakefulness, I’m playing video games in my dreams, not living them mind you, like exploring the world, but I dream like I’m still sitting, playing the game, like WoW players must feel going on sleep-walking raids.
And all this with my movie in two weeks and the anxieties there.
On Saturday I met with the actress playing Leslie, Donnie’s mother, the mother of my loser-protagonist of my loser-script. We went out to Daisy May’s BBQ, a place I selected since she said she lived in Hell’s Kitchen and that was the only decent place I’d known to eat there. I had been agonizing too on how I’d talk to her, along with getting over my hangover for that morning. I remembered my conversation with Sarah-Doe, talking about actors and working with them and wanting to not to offend them and trust them and mold them and my head just flooded and felt shut.
When I went to talk to her, to eat lunch, I drank a Diet Coke and felt better. I talked with her, my Leslie and she told me of playing for Edward Albee, a hero of mine and auditioning for him and what that fun was, along with the joys and perils of a public pre-kindergarden education. When I tried to explain to her, to not explain to her, to tread lightly but to get my point across, I fumbled as we went from lunch to walking down Hell’s Kitchen-11th Avenue with it’s Car Washes and Chryslers Big-big-buildings.
When we got past her house and walked back towards it, I just asked her:
“Well, how do you think this’ll work?”
She smiled, un-nervous.
“Well,” She told me. “I suppose, we’ll do the scene. And then do it again a different way. And maybe even one more time if you like. And you can give a note or something and… tell me what you want.”
And I blinked. I’m an idiot. Well, b’duh.
“Oh.” I said. “Yeah. That could work. Yeah, that sounds good.”
And we shook hands and I left.
Maybe I’m making too much of all this, too much of Pokemon, parties, boozing and broads.
Some days I feel like my life’s a mumblecore movie, which when I described what that’s like to Dan Pleck, he commented: “Who the fuck would ever want to watch that?”
But some days I just feel wound-up all-tight-tight-tight and if I just let it go, then maybe the tension from my neck will release and I can have– well, I can have a day.
Those days, I write.