Following

It had already been kind of a stressful night.

Not that it should have been. As my mother told me later, I was doing everything that I should be doing, in the sort of way that I myself make checklists for myself, take stock at myself, travel the way my internal compass points however inexplicable or wrong it may end up being.

I blame improv as the enabler: in improv, you make a big choice and then deal with the fallout later.

In life, the big choices are less easy to make and the fallout doesn’t go away when the teacher says “scene”.

Anyway, it shouldn’t have been stressful. It should have been fine.

I found myself on set on a PBS documentary set at the Waldorf, in a situation that itself could have been stressful, I guess.

There was the feeling of a return and the sense of duty or need to succeed that comes with that, the idea that I was returning to a day job in the film industry after my experience running from my last job that had tender-and-brutalized me before sending me into the scuzzy arms of an art-house movie theater, which now seemed mostly filled with coworkers who found me neither funny nor attractive.

There was the sense returning on to set, setting up C-stands awkwardly, curling them on the floor, that I was being watched with everything I was doing. That they would see my inability to wrestle with these steel objects and expel me to movie theater hell.

But none of this happened. Everyone was perfectly nice and supportive of me. The shoot went smoothly. They let me go home early and gave me a bag of cookies to take home, like I had gone to play at a friend’s house.

But it was also not permanent and the truth was, I was back to doing a double at the theater tomorrow.

Results: inconclusive.

But nice enough for now.

Still, even with my somewhat dreamy time on set, Firewire download-transfers speed up for no man and I was late to my improv practice group.

Along the way, all day, I had been getting text messages and emails from people in my practice group, jumping like from a boat, while  one, sadly deluded, member was sending me Facebook messages about the performances my group could be doing.

“We’ll see if any of them show up.” I told her.

Enough of them did, though the lamest excuse I got was an email from the person who was supposed to be running the group saying he “had to be at a concert”, a sentiment whose earnestness I questioned, given that he didn’t tell me he “had to be at a concert” after any of the last three emails I sent him.

Anyway, I yelled about that to my whole group, wasting more time and then again on the street and then again later when Matt Chao took me out to Hill Country Chicken to calm me down.

“11 minutes in!” I told him. “Who has to be at a concert anyway?”

“Who cares? Isn’t this more your improv group at this point? You’ve been going to more of them?” Matt said with his big Matt grin, staring stoop-down at the sidewalk. “Also, you have a job now. Isn’t that cool?”

Actually, Matt had set me up with the PBS job, a signal of how well he was doing after his two years of slave (intern) labor at PBS; he was now such a public-tv hottie, he could pawn off producers wanting him on his less-attractive friends.

“Maybe, but I’m not much one for the improv coup d’etat.” I replied, before we reached the chicken-bone door.

I had been struggling also at that point to deal with the tweets and the other things that were coming my way as the Bravo episode I wasn’t watching unfolded.

I had gotten into a fight already (and made up) over my mother’s anger at how I was portrayed on the clip from the episode that was online (she was angry B was “snarky” to me), but now I dealt with everything from people asking me for vegan recommendations to Facebook girls telling me “I’m your soulmate let’s meet up immediately” (“Who said that? Can we see this girl? Where does she live?” My quasi-returned quasi-roommate John Beamer asked.)

“I dunno.” I told Matt as I dipped my chicken tender in three different kinds of sauces (Honey Mustard, Hot Sauce, Ketchup) “I guess I appreciate it, but it’s not what I’m looking for.”

“Which is what?” Matt asked me in a dead-pan near un-interest as he picked the chicken out of his “Kickin’ Chicken Salad”.

“Fuck if I know. Someone who meets me to just like me for who I am. I don’t know what to do with virtual affirmations.”

“That’s cool.” Matt replied as I dipped another tender. When I turned around to toss out some empty containers, Matt grabbed my phone and started pining over his crush, looking at her on facebook.

“Stop that.”

“I’m just logging out!”

“Is she in a Super-Mario costume?”

“THOSE ARE MY PICTURES!”

I logged Matt out as we walked together toward the train, shuffle-stepping like at least, for whatever else, we still didn’t know what, really, to do.

***

And then for everything else, my ex-girlfriend came strolling into my subway car on the E train back from Grand Central.

And she said “Hi, Nick.”

“In all the subway cars, in all the world…” I thought, making poor-man’s Casablanca references of my life.

My love-life, rarely a topic of jubilance on my behalf, has been going not much better since I got dissed by two girls in a week and realized that I was the sort of guy my taken lady-friends wouldn’t set up someone they knew on a date with (I heard that’s how dating used to work).

But other than the ladies sending me amorous arrows from across the webs, I only had a couple girls say they might be up for meeting me and in all of the discussions the word “creepy” came up though, to be fair, I was the one who used it.

But then there was Eva sitting next to me, wearing lipstick and a dress, looking good.

“Hi Eva. You look good.” I told her. A test. What would she say?

“Thank you.” She replied. She didn’t tell me I looked good. Why did I need that from her, all of then now?

We talked for what could only have been a couple minutes as we sat on that E train, as we talked about stand-up comedians and I told her all the run-ins I’d had, since I last saw her.

It was my stop too soon, or just soon, I had barely looked at her. She had moved to touch me a couple times. There were the spaces where she would have touched me to congratulate me.

Hanging out with Andy Kindler. Having Colin Quinn recognize me on stage.

“Wow,” She exclaimed. “It sounds like your life is going great!.”

And she finally touched me, a punch to the shoulder.

“Yeah.” I replied. “Bye Eva.”

“Bye Nick.” I heard from behind me. But I didn’t turn around.

I exited the station.

Then went back downstairs as I heard the train leaving and took that picture.

Sometimes we want to capture a moment without risking ourselves.

Sometimes it’s just easier to take that picture when the doors closed.

And then the train was just, gone.

***

Andrew Parrish is a douchebag.

I should just say that up-front.

Now, I have a long standing, really meaning-less beef with the guy, stemming back from a time we both starred in an experimental film made by Ro-bearded Malone (his future roommate), called Our Friend Baldwin where I played Baldwin, a romantic novelist who is writing a pice of historical fiction set between the two Kennedy assassinations and he plays my hot friend who fucks a lot, sometimes while wearing a Richard Nixon mask.

The beef is this: We were both on set, we were sitting in a hallway-staircase and in a burst of spontaneous confession, I told him that I had been crushing on a girl from my playwriting class and asked his advice on how to woo her, which he gave willingly, never revealing that the lady in question and him were hooking up and soon dating.

Flash-forward, the girl’s gone, he apologized profusely and admitted his mistake, I forgave him and was the bigger man.

But now here he is still with a six-pack and a hot-ass haute-theater girlfriend and here I am. writing tweets from my work-place about the cost of water-bottles.

Dick move, amirite?

Anyway, Andrew is still endless sorry for it, or at least he likes hanging out with me, so while usual suspects Rob and Chadd Harbold (who drunkenly/loudly confessed his love for me and my potential as “the next that tour guy whose name sound like Skeet Ulrich, except it isn’t”) were out of town living it up at SXSW, Andrew came out and supported me at my improv show, saw a movie with me on a Sunday morning no one was awake for and even met me at Faicco’s to get some food before the flick.

It was the first time I’d been back there in a while and the first time EVER I’d noticed a “Daily Specials” notice listed on their board.

Faicco’s, for those of you who don’t know, is a wonderful Italian specialties store, like the kind that runs around Bensonhurst and is all but extinct in Little Italy. It is one of a few relics on Bleecker St (Ottomanelli’s Rocco’s) of the old West Village, an Italian WWII-era nabe. As such, it’s real/authentic down to the early close Sunday for mass.

“Chicken Parm!” I exclaimed to Andrew and the bilboard and the sandwich man under the board. “Impossible! You guys don’t have a toaster here! I’ve been told!”

“Actually, we do have a small convection oven.” Sandwich Man said in a wise-guy-movie accent.

“Nuh-uh! I would always ask you guys if you could reheat the Chicken Parms from the display case.”

“Yeah, we don’t do that.” He replied cryptically. And somehow that was the final statement on that.

“I’ll have the other special.” Andrew said, looking up at the board, at an offer of a 9-buck Chicken Cutlet, Pesto and Fresh Mozz Hero.

“Me too! Can we get it toasted?” I asked, eager.

The sandwich man nodded.

“You want a meltdown?” He asked Andrew.

“Uh–” Andrew replied.

“Yes!” I interceded. “His answer is yes.”

The Sandwich Man nodded sagely and in minutes our sandwiches were handed to us warm, foil-wrapped.

“Where do we go to eat these?” Andrew asked as we strolled down Bleecker, sandwich-bound.

“Father Demo.” I replied. “Old as hell.”

I could say that the ‘wich wasn’t as good as my classic (Chic. Cutlet, Fresh Mozz, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Garlicky- Oil from SDT, Vinegar) but it was also damn good as Andrew and I both experienced sitting on that pigeon-nested bench in Father Demo.

The unseen toaster gave it a crunch and a new vitality that would have come too if we had arrived an hour earlier, when the cutlets were fresh-fried off.

“This is great.” Andrew commented.

“Fuck you, Andrew. Your girlfriend’s hot.” I replied food-in-mouth.

“You know, Nick, you’re right,” He replied in his “I’m the professor who fucks my students” kind of way. “That really has a lot to do with the situation at hand and what I said. Also, I don’t know, thanks?”

“No problem.” I replied, food-stil-in-mouth.

At least we got good seats for the movie.

***

FAICCO’S PORK STORE

Chicken Cutlet w/Homemade Pesto Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella on a Toasted Seeded Semolina Roll (that last part is important)- $9.00

Bleecker St bet. 6th and 7th Aves.

ACEBDFM to West 4th St. 1 to Christopher St.

 

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20 Responses to Following

  1. TLM says:

    Just a thought that popped into my head after my giant mug of coffee this morning. It was caffeinated and I added much more sugar than I should have, so if what follows seems grandiose, overly presumptuous, insulting or just insane, I apologize in advance.

    I was never trained as an actor, nor did I go to film school. So I confess I don’t know how these things work, or what goes on in the minds of actors. But I do know what it’s like to be hampered by one’s image or mannerisms. I just never had the benefit of training as an actor to change them. I guess what I keep thinking is, have you considered taking on the task of dating as another role to play? A role that would require you to act and/or look different? As an experiment, if nothing else. Maybe this could even be the subject of your next documentary project. I don’t know whether the prospect of taking on that task would be exciting, terrifying, exhausting, or a little of each to you. (It would be to me, but I’m not an actor.) I imagine at first it could feel inauthentic, but it definitely wouldn’t be boring, and I’m sure would give you additional experiences to blog about. Thoughts?

    Now I’m about to drink some water to dilute my sugar/caffeine high. Too intense.

    • feitelogram says:

      An interesting question and one suggested to me before, even in so much as just “dress up nice, play the game, etc…”. Here’s the thing- I want someone who accepts me for who I am. I want someone who wants me for that. There was a time when I felt that no one would want that. Now I know that’s not true. So it feels better just to be myself and put myself out there and see what happens, rather than act with someone and then have them be un-pleasantly surprised. At least, this is my philosophy.

      • TLM says:

        Well, it depends how you view it. It could just be an experiment (and cool film project, which would likely get attention since you’re already known). That would be more of an exaggerated acting thing. Or you could just view it as being the best version of yourself, and treat it as the longer-term proposition that that is.

        It doesn’t mean that your values or preferences, likes or dislikes have to change. It doesn’t mean you have to try to look like or dress like all-flash-‘n-cash Scott Disick (who, btw, I think is one of the phoniest people on the planet). I think it’s very hard for anyone to fundamentally change who they are, even when they might really want to. Although many people (especially on reality TV) claim they were edited to look a certain way, I do think the basic nature of a person, from their core, comes through no matter how they try to give a different impression.

        But what you can do is identify one or two things that are relatively small and superficial things, yet things that might keep people from getting to know the real you better. Like making more eye contact, or having a stronger handshake. Things like that. That isn’t going to change who you are, but it would make you more approachable and allow more people to get to know you.

        I’m fundamentally a loner. Bethenny has said she’s fundamentally a loner. I think few people find that easy to believe, either for her or myself. But she found a way to harness being outgoing when she needs to. She’s still the same person inside though, with the same preference to stay home and have quiet. We all work with what we have. I would hate to think there’s a great girl out there for you who passes you by because she doesn’t even know you’re interested in her.

        I would never tell you you shouldn’t be you. But all of us have things we can do better. I hope that makes sense.

    • Liz says:

      Dear Nick
      I’m a huge fan of yours!
      My husband and I are going on a food crawl in Ny for our
      10 yr anniversary. Can you suggest your top 5 lunch spots
      And top 5 dinner spots for us? Or is there a list on your blog
      I can look up?

  2. @tweatcyn says:

    Fatal Nick, I agree with you 100%. Just be you. Nothing to be ashamed of or despair about there. I’m too old for you and live in California so don’t take this a flirtation. However, your appearances on Bethenny have been completely charming and there IS the right girl out there for you. You’re cool, smart, funny and nice.
    Cyn

  3. Suzili says:

    Nick, I agree with your philosophy. A relationship must be based on what is real so continue to put yourself out there. You will find someone. As Cyn said above you do come across as sweet, funny, and nice so you may get more attention than you want. Beware of groupies!

    As I said in my other post, I really enjoy your blog. I live in a small town in southern Illinois so this is a way for me to experience some of New York. Thank you.

    Suzi

    • feitelogram says:

      Thank you, Suzi. That’s very nice of you to say. Good to hear that my New York misadventures can do that.

  4. Angel says:

    Everybody stop trying to “find someone”. Embrace being alone, you may not have it long in life. When it happens it happens, just socialize and enjoy life. Society is so co-dependent. 20 millions addicts. So, be strong, be happy and don’t worry about sh*t, and especially what people think!

  5. Hey Nick.. stumbled across your blog and have seen you on Bethenny.. and have to say.. I am pleasantly surprised at your writing skills as well as your new ambitions at acting.

    Staying true to yourself if thats what you want to do will work for type casted roles and it does pretty well for Philip Seymour Hoffman. You kind of remind me of him and he is not doing too shabby!

    Clearly you are an intellect who I think will do well in any thing you do. You remind me as the kind of person who notices the intracacies of a large rock and not at all bothered by the blunt object thats blocking your path. But on the other hand, you remind me of a guy who doesn’t bother to change a lightbulb in the kitchen and will use the refridgerator light instead. I am goind some where with this 😉

    You sort of remind of my Mr Man. He can see things that average people over look but he had learned a lesson in not changing the light bulb as inconsequential as it is. So what, its just a bright illumination and maybe be sure just eat during the day.. unless you come home late starving and the quickest thing you can make yourself is peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches. He made 2 sandwhich and quickly gobbled them down. Hours later, he became very ill and soon hospitalized. He came back the next day against doctors orders to get his college text books to study for upcoming exams and realized the bread was completely moldy which confirmed the food poisening.

    Sometimes the aestetic area’s in our life are just as important as feeling comfortable.

    There has to be a balance to feeling comfortable and others feeling comfortable with you.

    Doors are not going to open if you don’t look like you care enough or atleast confident enough with who you are.

    Your young and its all a process and I can only imagine you are smart enough to find your way.

    You do have something special.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  6. I forgot to add one more thing..

    NYC is a small world and for everyone who lives/works or plays there.

    I was managing a project and one of my staff members left in the middle to go back to India to see a “sick” father.

    I went into the city to see a play and the port authority was closed for some reason and now found myself having to find parking and am not used to driving around the city and got stuck at a street making a right and low and behold, walking right infront of me was the guy who was supposed to be in India. I quickly guessed he got a sweet contract and used vaca time at work to take advantage of it.. BUSTED!!!

  7. TLM says:

    So Nick – most of your food finds are on the street, or in restaurants. Do you shop at the market or do cooking at home? What kind of things do you buy?

  8. goosey says:

    What a great post, I loved it! BTW, I totally don’t think that you were portrayed very badly on that episode of B at all. Cuz my sister & I both immediately wanted to find your blog, find you, find what u had to say. U obviously come from a very good family and you were raised very well, u were taught manners, and u’re smart! Tell that to ur mom! I went to B’s website to try to find ur blog and then I searched on twitter. Saw that a lot of other ppl were trying to find your “Nick’s Creepy/Culinary Crawl” blog as well! Please post more city food finds for us, you’re like this bible that no one knew about til now :-))

  9. TLM says:

    It looks like B will be posting your stuff soon… she made mention of it on Twitter, and about how well you have been received by her audience. Woo-hoo!

  10. TLM says:

    Hey Nick — check out Chowhound’s new “Handmade” Chow Tour with video. http://www.chow.com/food-news/76368/chow-tour-portland-land-of-the-food-cart/

  11. Linda says:

    Nick,
    I am loving this blog. I am a homesick New Yorker and you are bringing me a little bit of home each time…excellent. I like your perspective and knowing where to chow down next time I come home is a bonus. Thanks for taking the time to write this I really look forward to it!!

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