My improv show went pretty well, considering this is what I ate before it.
I blame Riese Restaurants or Penn Station, or my personal guilt/predilection of attempted remedies for the stomach pangs that proceeded my improv performance.
Isn’t it the same principle of white noise, covering up one sound with another, one pang, too?
The show went pretty well though and with minimal farting (which yes, is uncomfortable in improv scenes as elsewhere).
This meant something to me because, like I said, I felt pretty bad about how it was going to go, given that I considered an improv class a success if I had one funny moment in a 3-hour class and that there were many classes in which I was not successful.
But even given my pessimism, it went well. I felt funny. I was gifted with good things to do in my scenes, like reconnecting for Thanksgiving as a Disney-adapted blue bear from the jungle book with my adopted son Mogli, or playing an anthropomorphic fox who steals housing materials and tells people to “go to heck”.
It was good I felt funny, because I had a mission for that time: I would get a young lady’s number from my class at the inevitable drunken after-party of the class show.
And funniness empowers me, gives me confidence in those situations. Since, at least if I’m funny, I’m selling myself on something right?
I’d go in to the party and get her number and ask her if I could hook her up with some free movie tickets or karaoke, anything that was better than just saying “me”.
I had confidence, I had reason to hope. I went in there and I tried.
I thank Rob for staying with me that night, for a while and Jonny-Jon-Jon, who’s reappeared now in my life somewhat, for not only seeing the show and complimenting me on my performance, but not making fun of me on my taste for the girl I was going after, a problem once upon a time.
“What’s he doing now?” Chadd asked me as we walked dejected from a half-assed sold-out attempt to see Tron.
“I donno.” I replied. “Something Jonny-Jon-Jon-ish, like something about Mexico and making animated .gif files of Saved By The Bell characters.”
“Sounds about right.” Chadd replied.
What happened after the show was just that I got really drunk and had to bring my own beers to an apartment which was beerless, to get the party started.
I felt something wrong from right after we got out of the show and even though I had a nice time and garnered a couple more compliments, the line I got was something about “busy for six months” and a comment from Rob that I sounded “beegy, toward the end”.
When I tried to explain this to Chadd, the night after I gave him the explanation I gave everyone: “I’m not upset she wasn’t in to me, I’m upset that I couldn’t tell, that I’m crazy, that I’m creepy and creepier and just can’t even see that they don’t like me.”
To answer this, Chadd actually gave me a really heart-warming story (“Why do you always depict me as such a misogynist?” Chadd asked before stopping to add: “Wait a sec. Never mind. It’s probably good if girls think that.”) about being misunderstood and trying for love, but I won’t repeat it here, since it ain’t my story to tell.
Suffice it to say, he convinced me it’s hard on all guys to tell how a lady’s feeling and not to try to beat yourself up too much.
Back on the night of the improv though, that’s what I did mostly. For the rest of that evening, Rob adopted me, taking me around to pizza places and bodegas in preparations for a party that feel through, but which served me up my first ever whole Four Loko (lemonade flavor), a drink now banned partially by the FDA for its narcotic effects.
And to think, I felt cool drinking Sparks back in the day, which Jonny-Jon-Jon would refer to affectionately as “Spraking”.
Still, it made me drunk and euphoric until it didn’t, as did the shot I got at Ashna Ali’s discovered workplace, LP and Harmony, over in hipster East Williamsburg, where she bought me a shot and held on to my hat after I left it at the bar (thanks Ashna). Jonny-Jon-Jon even showed up, possibly out of some sort of spirit of free drinks and possibly out of some sort of friendship impulse.
I left him my second Four Loko anyway, undrunk, so whatever it was he wanted, I bet he got it.
The rest of the night after Rob left to meet a lady to see Showgirls, I spent crying on the L train, over-and-over and down Grand St, asking myself why Eva wouldn’t love me when I loved her with everything I had and why she lied to me when she said that other girls could love me, that someone could see me like she once did too.
Not proud moments, but just like if they happened that night, then they were coming, it feels better to confess them now and distance myself from them, at least the best I can.
Rob had a let-down moment, after the improv party too, where a girl from my class stroked his beard affectionately, before telling him she had a boyfriend.
“The good strokers always do.” Rob commented wistfully, while we ate pizza.
The next night with Chadd, he got me nice and drunk and buzzed over at his apartment watching Videodrome for my first time and his seventh and he even explained it to me after and was nice enough to not make fun of me for the couple times I fell asleep.
The movie was awesome and, like Rob, I appreciated him hanging out with me for a while, listening to my bitching and offering me some hospitality.
I thought about the same questions going home that night too. But I didn’t cry, or at least didn’t remember doing so.
I started playing a new video game instead.
The night I hung out with Chadd, I had several dinners, a result of a few incomplete ones and a double-botched order at a Mexican restaurant.
This was probably my 3rd or 4th, but easily the best.
I went in to the restaurant, lured by the promise of a 5 dollar Falafel, French-Fry and Soda combo but stayed for the heavenly, broth-y scent I found within.
What I ended up ordering were Chicken Brochettes over couscous, which itself came with mixed vegetables, cooked in some spice, with salad on the side.
The salad was garliky with tiny, pickled olives popping flavorly next to some fresh-cut red onion. The “brochettes” were tender and juicy without too much spice, most of which was derived from the delicious vinegary hot sauce and tahina which was provided on the side and poured on in full. As for the cous-cous, there’s nothing much to say. Wonderful.
Rice? Who the fuck cares about rice anyway?
Cous-cous, all the way.
My only regret was eating it all in front of Brennan McVicar and his lovely girlfriend Vanessa (as well as Dan Berk and Chadd) and offering none of it to any of them, which made me feel really bad after Vanessa gave me mini-Santa gingerbread cookies her mom had made and invited me to loot her stash of Ghiradelli chocolates.
What can I say? It was that sort of night.
Tonight, I spent, after running around, trying to learn how to thread films, with my favorite playwright of the current generation, Annie Baker, who through improbable chance, had ended up at my movie theater, doing research for a play about people who work in a movie theater.
A mutual friend had delivered her to me, thinking I was the right sort of guy to talk about that stuff.
My bosses were real nice, letting her walk around and ask questions, though I felt like I’d get shit for it later.
As I told her about the theater, I told her the story of my life, from high school onwards, which she seemed somewhat interested in and I hated myself for, the narcissist in me who needs everyone to know who he is at all times.
But she was rapt and listened happily and redirected the conversation when she needed to do, for me to show her how to sweep a theater, mop a bathroom, or handle a mean customer.
She told me if I needed anything to email her and told me I should keep making films.
That the people who she knew successful at my age were mostly burn-outs, that it’s when you feel crappiest about your art that it’s possible to break through.
It was inspiring stuff.
I felt like I was pitching a role in her next project.
But as I walked away and back to my house, I just kept thinking about how my relationship had sat on top of my own discontent about my life.
And how in some way, crying about it, was a way to not cry about other things too.
When I got home, I sent her my movie and got ready to go out there, for another night, again.
Chicken Brochette Platter w/Mixed Vegetable Couscous and House Salad- $8.00
10th Avenue bet. 47th and 48th St.
CE to 50th St. NR to 49th St