Tea and Sympathy

I live with two dudes.

My apartment isn’t big. It’s pretty small. One room and a bathroom, a shower, no bath. Some nice exposed brick, high-ish ceilings and one pretty nifty lofted sleeping-space.

I’ve got things I’m proud of. A PS3. A couch I found on the street that is semi-fold out. About a 5 year-old flatscreen TV and a 4-year old Mac Mini-TV set-up.

It’s pretty swell. But then there’s three of us.

It is my fault. I collect people.

As a history, I am an insecure and lonely person, still part of the swing from now 14 years ago of not speaking to people through middle and high school and the swing 6 years ago of realizing with those same tears I once reserved for isolation, that I had the option to not be so lonely.

In college, it was easy to find myself near people with classes and roommates, dorms and couches and chairs, parties and such. In the times after college and the let down from that, I moved in to the one-room with the nifty lofted bed and as my friends struggled to stay in New York City, I offered it up due to fear of falling from it and fear of facing myself in one room.

It was relatively easy to fit them into my life. I didn’t charge them rent, of course, my room was too small to really charge someone (or so I told myself). They were film-school friends: Andy Roehm, Brennan McVicar, John Beamer, probably others, so we shared an interest, we’d watch seasons of shows before bed on my TV and discuss, we’d see movies, we’d just converse, or I’d fade into video-game oblivion. When ladies faded into my life, it was easy and conscience-less to kick these roommates out of my place, since they weren’t being charged rent.

In another way, for an insecure person, someone adjusting 6 years to the idea of their own worth, it was a way to maintain status, to have someone who would be my friend, who owed me.

Because–and this is something I am only someone coming out of very recently in my life–for a very long time in my life, a part of me just knew that no one, given the choice, would want to spend time with me. I was second or third choice, low-status, a quirky fall-back plan, a trailer before the main attraction.

A lot of my overcompensation in life as well in performance comes from this, I think. Making films about myself in college, acting all full of bluster and confidence around teachers, nowadays, playing high-status characters in improv scenes. Creativity is our subconscious (or “shadow” or what have you) come to manifest and this kept working itself out in that.

In my romantic life (and this still is true), I could only thing of myself utilitarian-ly: what role am I playing in this person’s life, what could I help them to fix, what could I give them in return for loving me?

In my romantic life now, it’s the hardest thing for me to just say, as my friends often council: “Hey, would you like to go on a date with me?” not because I am afraid of rejection, though that is a part of it. It’s because then there is no other excuse, no other interest, nothing else I am offering.

And part of me just didn’t understand why that would be something that anyone would want.

This week, I got to hangout with some comedy heroes of mine, got cast in a sketch, a web series, a run of shows at a comedy theater and got an opportunity to work with some wonderful people I admire.

I did karaoke in front of my friends who’d never seen me perform and killed it (as readers of this blog might imagine). I was flirty and confident. I got drunk from my friend’s bottle of Snapple-tequila and somehow didn’t have to pee as much as I usually do.

It’s taken me 24 years to discover some measure, fragile or nascent, some level of self-confidence, self-esteem.

Of course, I still don’t know what’s going on in my life. I still fuck-up near constantly.

My job is in flux, I have no idea what this comedy stuff will find me at, I keep getting scared about my hair, I missed Yoga this morning trying to get my Apple headphones replaced (successfully) and I still have not one, but two guys (improvisers) living in my one-room apartment.

But letting go of expectations was probably the first step to being happier in my life and I still feel happy now.

One of those roommates helped me home when I was drunk, yelling stupidly at cabs. Another fixed my lights.

Also, life is more joyous with more people, especially once you get a grasp on some of your more egregious insecurities.

Nothing is forever and who knows what I’ll do, or what this stuff will bring me.

But also, who cares?

There’s enough money to live, a life full of laughter and friends, the freedom to do stupid things sometimes and the newly discovered ability to be ok with we’re you are and, for the love of god, have some sympathy for yourself.

So I’ll put up with Teddy’s goddam snoring.

Till I hit him with my yoga mat.

Right about,



I now know how my non-improv friends feel when I drag them out to goddam improv all the time.

Like I did when I went to see my friend and teacher Alex Marino go to do an open-mic poetry jam on Super Bowl Sunday at an Alphabet City non-coffee serving Tea Lounge.

The place was named FujoMukti and I have no idea what that means.

The crowd was particularly interesting because it was Super Bowl Sunday, so even though I know the Venn diagram between people who enjoy that and open-mic spoken-word poets must be small, you know that that weeded out probably the most normal ones.

The ones we were left with, enjoyable and otherwise, were a man sing-song rapping about the Periodic tables, a slam comparing the Burj Khalifa (of MI:GP fame) to a club sandwich and, most notably, a guy named “Orion 0.52369” who did a 5-minute poem exclusively/graphically about having sex with young boys, while standing about three-feet away from a 6-year old boy playing on his dad’s iPad who seemed relatively bored.

A couple thoughts on this time-out wise.

1. Dude was clearly insane, but had every right to do that. We all have freedom of speech, this is an open-mic poetry slam and really, what is HOWL but an ode to fucking young dudes (among other things)? He left immediately after reading his thing and obviously you shouldn’t if there’s a little kid standing there, but I’ve heard crazier.

2. Dad, don’t bring your 6 year-old kid to an open mic poetry thing, though I guess you have every right to. Who knows who will be there or what people will say? Poets tend not to be incredibly well-adjusted and while New York City is the lion’s den as such, you usually try to avoid people you know who might be actively unstable or are talking a lot about fucking, kids or otherwise. Still, I guess you can.

Alex was pretty good, straight-forward, interested and enjoying himself. His relationship with his cool-ass girlfriend (also a poet) had created a popular show at the Magnet called “Kiss, Punch, Poem” which blended both improv and poetry in ways that highlight the themes of both. Some of the poets at the mic had actually read there and I recognized their stuff.

I actually got a pot of chai (the Bollywood Favorite) that took about 20 minutes to come, but was otherwise excellent despite their lack of soy milk.

I drank it with regular milk and it was so vanilla-y and light that it required no sweetening, which I quite dug.

But the thing about poetry and tea lounges and all that shit, is that it’s a bunch of crazy weirdoes getting up and talking stuff that might not make sense or at least requires you to meet them half-way.

And after an hour-and-a-half of this, I remembered “Oh yeah, I don’t really like poetry that much. It doesn’t really vibe for me. I live in a pragmatic reality and enjoy weird bits and iPhones.”

And then I felt bad for the friends I had dragged to watch me do essentially the same thing to them, about improv.

Also, I was fighting a hangover from that karaoke party, which is never a good combination with poetry.

I congratulated Alex, you should all see “Kiss, Punch, Poem” and I’ll try to be less offended when you don’t come to my shows.




The Bollywood Favorite- $7.00 for a pot, milk, etc…

4th St bet. Aves A and B.

F to Lower East Side- 2nd Ave, JM to Delancey St.



One Response to Tea and Sympathy

  1. Matthew Chao says:

    Finally! He understands!

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