I woke up covered-in-sweat, fully-clothed, on my bed, on top of the covers at 6 am this morning.
As my mind rebooted after the nights events, recollection came slowly, but in a shock.
How had I gotten into this misbegotten state?
I checked off the possibilities.
It was my commencement yesterday.
But I hadn’t been blackout drunk–no whiskey, no beer, no lascivious women with whom to drink.
I hadn’t done any sort of hallucinogen (or mind-altering-substance), something crazy perhaps to commemorate my graduation from an arts university by “expanding my mind” some other way, running naked down 6th Ave in the crack of dawn or singing concertos on the E (train).
As I zipped through these ideas, checking them out, like a waft, like a drift of wind, it came back to me:
On this last night, my last night of graduation, I could remember nothing–
Because I had done nothing.
I had passed out in my bed at 8:30pm watching House.
On perhaps the partying-est night of my lifetime (bachelor parties notwithstanding–prospects don’t look good on a tome where you talk extensively about not-dating), I had managed to sleep through–
All of it.
Madison Square Garden. Yankee Stadium.
Two places that I actually didn’t graduate at.
The Garden was the site of the “Tisch Salute” saluting all of us nascent artists, while reminding us of our vast inability to get jobs or sustain ourselves in the real world. The head of the acting program’s call for actors “to be artists, not realtors” was met by the advice of our honored guest speaker, Whoopi Goldberg, to have a “contigency plan” when your dreams take “longer than expected”.
That type of thing was kind of arts-event-y. Long-winded speeches and inarticulation. A bunch of people holding banners. Some white people doing African dance to try to promote the pitiful idea that Tisch has some sort of diversity, when it’s really, for the most part, the people of whatever color can pay for it, which happen (gee-whiz) to be mostly white.
To be honest, I’m a little hazy on the events of that day–I was playing Tetris on my iPhone.
I was a little hesitant to do this until I looked over at the person next to me only to realize that he was playing BrickBreaker 3D (which looked a lot cooler than the program that came with my old BlackBerry). Eventually, my instincts ran from chiding him, to apathy, to seeing if I could get my phone quiet enough to play “Dance Dance Revolution: Shake!” on my phone without disturbing anyone else (but while still being able to hear the song).
I couldn’t and stuck to Tetris.
As for Yankee Stadium?
Better by my estimation.
The one thing I heard amongst chocolate-coated predictions of apocalypse by all the speakers (Our student speaker’s theme: The world sucks, ergo, what a great time to graduate!), was actually from Hilary Rodham Clinton, whom I voted for once-upon-a-time, who at least said those magic words that every college students wants to hear:
Yes, suddenly, upon Secretary Clinton’s speech (pff, bet she loves it when people call her, after that campaign, a secretary), I considered throwing my film-school education out the window, because her offer of being a “young diplomat” sounded pretty exciting and hell, I’d heard good things about those federal jobs.
But that dreamed passed as I remembered my interviews scheduling for the glamorous high-work, no-pay jobs I was considering–
“Internships.” A family friend told me, upon askance for college advice. “Whoever thought of that is fucking brilliant. Work every day doing shit and we’ll give you… nothing. But hey, it’s good experience for what the rest of your life will look like.”
–I settled back down to my thoughts of after graduation and the world around me. I reflected on film school a bit and my time there, good enough to remember, but not good enough to wag around the giant-inflatable Tisch-branded donkey-dicks they gave us. I reflected on my friendships and the people who might be leaving. I thought back to my neglected blog, how apathetic I had been, mired in the sort of depressive qualities I’d been expressing here–
“I felt a lot better this weekend about life.” I told my therapist. “I read that article in the Times Magazine about that woman that has Depression. I realized, when she said, ‘I talked about death like other people talk about their wish to have a lover’ that perhaps being down about my love-life, eh, not so bad.”
End Aside 2.
–and I realized that none of it was worth my time. Life is coming my way, stupid stuff will always be present but even if I was too thick-headed to get it, it’s like my teacher Sharon Badal used to tell me: “The only one who can defeat you is yourself.”
“Working in this industry is like riding the Cyclone at Coney Island.” She said, herself a consumate New Yorker. “It’s rickety, crappy and outdated, but fun. There’s lots of ups-and-downs and it’s scary as shit.”
“But the thing about the Cyclone is this–when you get done with it, it’s half-price to ride it again. So do it. Ride it again. They’ll be ups and downs and sometimes you’ll feel like the whole thing’s going to collapse. But ride it again and enjoy it.”
Taking this words to heart, words I’d known (but it’s easy to reject positivism even cloaked in Coney-Island-analogies), I bucked up. I couldn’t get down on myself, now, couldn’t retreat:
There was so much to complain about.
I was too hot with the sun on my legs in Yankee Stadium, I wasn’t sitting anywhere near most of my friends, the water fountains didn’t work and half the people around me asked me if I had made that terrible-fucking-video that played about “My En-Why-You”.
I was trying to get someone to pay me to get them coffee, while the guy in front of me had founded his own company with 6 employees at the age of 21.
Finally, we were in Yankee Stadium and no matter how sucktacular the Yankees are right now (and they are sucktacular, indeed) some baggy people had the nuts to wear Red Sox apparel. First of all, guys, your mascot is a fucking red sock and no attempt at making that into some sort of hip “x-at-the-end” type thing will change that. But that’s not even a delineated aside. I decided to do something.
I went up to the concession stand and waited in line. I got me some delicious Carvel swirl ice-cream (everything always tastes better at Yankee Stadium) and ate it from a commemorative Yankees mini-hat. Then, having finished my ice-cream, I lovingly took it like baby Moses down to the water faucet and cleaned and dried it thoroughly.
I walked back and waited for my chance. I saw it. Bryan Gaynor had taken off his Red Sox hat, possibly for the national anthem or possibly because he just wanted some air, but I stealthily snuck up behind him and gave him some more appropriate attire.
“Here,” I said, adjusting the mini-Yankees-cap on his head.
“My gift to you.”
And suddenly then, even though I was being assured I was graduating in a time of “global crisis”, even though I’d already certainly been making mistakes that would affect my hiring path and my future, even though the Red Sox had just swept the Yankees, utterly devastating them–
Even though all of this, for a moment there, all was right with the world.
So I missed the greatest partying night of perhaps my lifetime.
I regret now, looking back from around 9am this morning.
But as I look back on the structures of my life I leave behind, college and such, I do get somewhat of a thrill of excitement. Because now as I’ve inhabited these halls of institutions, venerable or otherwise, I get to build my own halls, my own life, make my own structures and determine my destiny.
It could be kind of exciting.
All this talk of “crisis” makes me think of video games.
And I used to be good at “Time Crisis”.
So maybe, I’ll be good at this one.